In the late 1980s, he had a concept for an industrial airport on a large portion of land he owned north of Fort Worth, Texas. He found an enthusiastic partner in Bob Bolen, then mayor of Fort Worth, who sought to create jobs that would replace those the city had lost in the economic downtown of the mid-1980s. Fort Worth Alliance Airport opened on December 14, 1989.
The Alliance name was chosen to reflect the partnership between the city of Fort Worth, the FAA, and Hillwood—a real estate investment and development company led by Perot. “This airport is a great example of a public/private partnership,” said Christopher Ash, senior vice president of aviation business development. “Ross was the driving force for the airport.”
Today Alliance is undergoing a “growth spurt,” says Ash, ironically spurred by the shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As Alliance is an industrial airport, its tenants such as FedEx, Amazon Prime, and others saw cargo deliveries surge. Alliance recently opened its second 11,000-foot-long runway.
Ash describes the Fort Worth area as “aviation rich.” It’s where B–24s were manufactured during World War II, where the F–16 and now F–35 are built. It’s the home of American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Bell helicopters. The airport is known for its iconic tower, which looks remarkably like a suspended ice cream cone (just without the ice cream). The iconic B-29 Fifi is hangared nearby in the Vintage Flying Museum.
But that’s not all Fort Worth has to offer. Since its slogan is “Where the West begins,” prepare for a cowboy experience: Twice each day Longhorn cattle stroll through the streets of downtown from the historic stockyards, home of the oldest continuously running livestock show and rodeo in the country; Fort Worth’s largest and oldest honky-tonk bar is Billy Bob’s Texas on Rodeo Plaza and Mule Alley; and the most famous Texas barbecue is served at Riscky’s.
AOPA will host its 2022 Aviator Showcase at Alliance Airport November 17 and 18. The host FBO is Alliance Aviation Services.