Fort Lauderdale Florida Airport: Your gateway into South Florida

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) is a primary air facility serving Fort Lauderdale, the second principal city in Miami metropolitan system. Lying 3 miles southwest of downtown Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, FLL airport is a doorway to South Florida. The airport has historically been a magnet for domestic budget carriers like JetBlue, Southwest, and Spirit, responsible for bringing low fares to the city.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida Airport is a well-situated alternative to the state’s busiest Miami International Airport, located 30 miles away. With significant year-to-year increases in passenger traffic, the FLL Airport has been steadily climbing. It is one of the fastest-growing US hubs, with annual passenger traffic exceeding 30 million in the last few years (excluding 2020 and 2021). The airport attributes this rapid growth to low-fare services offered by budget carriers.

Facts about Fort Lauderdale, Florida Airport

  • At the heart of Gold Coast, Florida, FLL is the second-busiest airport in Miami Metropolitan Area, behind Miami Airport.
  • The genesis of FLL traces its roots to May 1, 1929, when it formally opened as Merie Fogg Field (named after WWI aviator Merie Fogg).
  • Fort Lauderdale Hollywood Airport is an intercontinental gateway to the Caribbean and Latin American regions. The large Hispanic population in South Florida allows airlines to expand their footprint in those regions.
  • FLL Airport has a presence of around 27 passenger airlines, and its extensive route network covers 135 domestic and international destinations.
  • Fort Lauderdale Airport is an economic engine for Broward County, supporting job creation, trade, and tourist inflow.
  • Five discount carriers, namely Allegiant Air, Southwest Airlines, JetBlue, Norse Atlantic, and Spirit Airlines, have established a focus city at this airport. The facility mainly lures low-cost competitors, triggering fare reduction and growth in the area.

Facilities at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport

Fort Lauderdale Florida Airport is a major public airport on 1,380 acres at 65 ft above sea level. It has four terminals to circulate incoming and outgoing passengers and two runways to accommodate wide-body and narrowbody jets.

  • Terminals

FLL Airport has four passenger terminals with 66 boarding gates across seven concourses (A-G). Each terminal is color-coded (named after a color) to harmonize with directional signage to enhance passengers’ ability to navigate a complex airport environment. The modernization project of these terminals spells a big passenger-facing upgrade for nearly a century-old airport.

Terminal 1, aka Yellow Terminal, houses 23 gates across concourses A, B, and C at the east end of FLL Airport. Concourse A, hosting gates A1-A7, mainly caters to foreign passengers. Concourse B encompasses B1-B9 gates which operate largely for Southwest Airlines. The Dallas-based low-cost giant uses gates 1-5 of Concourse A and 2, 4-9 of Concourse B for its FLL operations.

Some must-try restaurants at FLL Airport include Auntie Anne, BurgerFi, Off-The-Frill, Red Stripe Bar, Rocco’s Tacos, Tequila Bar Fort, etc.

Eligible United Airlines customers can relax and unwind in United Club, situated in Concourse C near gate C1. Open between 5 am and 8:30 pm every day, the lounge offers high-speed Wi-Fi, a full-service bar, and light snacks.

Terminal 2, represented by the color Red, lies at the northwest end of FLL. It contains Concourse D with nine gates (numbered D1-D9) shared between Delta Air Lines and Air Canada. Delta customers can enhance their travel by relaxing at the new Delta Sky Club, near the gate information area, Mezzanine Level, T2. The Club’s soaring floor-to-ceiling windows offer excellent views of arriving and departing jets on the runway. The regional artwork, thoughtful interior touches, and signature hot food offerings will elevate the customer experience at the Delta Sky Club.

Terminal 3, the Purple Terminal, is home to JetBlue’s Fort Lauderdale operations. This facility, situated far west of the airport, hosts Concourses E and F with 20 gates. Long Islands City-headquartered JetBlue Airways use the Purple Terminal for its base operations at FLL. Passengers can move between Terminal 3 and Terminal 4 via a newly built walkway without re-clearing security (except for international arrivals).

Terminal 4, aka the Green Terminal, hosts operations of FLL’s dominant carrier, Spirit Airlines. There’s only one concourse (G) with 14 boarding gates and a good range of shops and restaurants.

New Terminal 5 at Fort Lauderdale Florida Airport

As a part of FLL Airport’s master plan, Broward County Aviation Department has pursued the airport expansion by adding new Terminal 5. The new passenger facility will cover 180,000-sq. Foot area at the airport’s east end. JetBlue Airways will oversee the construction of the $ 300 million T5 with the assistance of technology company Parsons. The multi-million new facility will feature five new gates with designated passenger hold rooms, ramp aircraft parking, and a multistory passenger bridge. The construction of the Terminal 5 supports passenger and service expansion at FLL.

Read More: From customers’ perspective: Why is Spirit Airlines so bad?

FLL’s new terminal 5 is targeted for completion by mid-2016.

  • Runway

Of the two runways at FLL, one (10L/28R direction) is asphalt-paved and measures 9000ft long. The next, i.e., 10R/28L runway, has a concrete surface and is slightly shorter at 8000ft length.

Airlines serving Fort Lauderdale Airport

FLL is home to Florida-based Spirit Airlines, which uses the airport as a low-cost international gateway to the Caribbean and Latin America. Besides, the long-time FLL airport tenants Southwest and JetBlue have also been providing global connectivity at a low cost for large South Florida populations.

If it’s not already enough, FLL is a focus city for Allegiant Air and Norse Atlantic Airways as well. Other low-cost operators offering wallet-friendly jaunts across the US or further afield include Frontier Airlines, Avelo Airlines, Flair Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, Swoop, etc.

 But don’t just let the large presence of low-cost carriers deceive you into believing there is less no. of legacy carriers. Although discount carriers account for the majority of traffic through FLL, several US-based and foreign legacy airlines maintain a foothold at the airport. Passengers willing to trade high ticket costs for convenience can opt booking flights with full-service carriers like American Airlines, Delta, United, Alaska, etc.

Notable foreign carriers serving FLL include Air Canada, Avianca, Azul Brazilian Airlines, Copa Airlines, WestJet, etc.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida Airport appeals to various travelers with a good balance of carrier selections.

Fort Lauderdalians searching for the cheapest flights to Latin America can score affordable flights with Spirit, JetBlue, Southwest, etc. These leading three carriers have disrupted the Florida market at the lower end and offer great deals on travel for passengers.

  • Operations of Spirit Airlines at Fort Lauderdale, Florida Airport

With nearly 30.7% of the passenger market share, Spirit Airlines is the dominant carrier at FLL. In 2021, the Florida-based LCC shuttled more than 7 million passengers through Fort Lauderdale, the most of any carrier.

Spirit’s Fort Lauderdale portfolio covers 30 regular US destinations and 22 international cities. Its overseas flights serve cities of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Salvador.

On top of running a large operating base at FLL, Spirit also offers flights from Miami International Airport. Many speculated that launching services from Miami- the airport practically in FLL’s backyard would make a suicidal move and cannibalize Fort Lauderdale traffic. But from Spirit Airlines’ point of view, both Fort Lauderdale and Miami are distinct markets presenting unique benefits for the airline and passengers. As Florida’s hometown airline, Spirit wants to build its brand in South Florida by stretching its wings in FLL, Miami, and West Palm Beach.

  • Southwest Airlines at Fort Lauderdale, Florida Airport

For years, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines concentrated its South Florida operations at Fort Lauderdale, Florida Airport. Although it has added Miami and Palm Beach to its route map, it still considers FLL a primary airport. Southwest Airlines is the third-largest passenger carrier at FLL, and its route network covers around 30 regular destinations. In addition to oodles of connections from/to cities of the mainland US, the carrier also operates internationally to:

  • Cancun, Punta Cana, San Juan, Montego Bay, and Havana
  • The rapid expansion of JetBlue at FLL

JetBlue is betting on Fort Lauderdale with plans to offer 250 daily flights by 2027. It is acquiring Spirit Airlines as per the $3.8 billion merger agreement announced in July 2022. Both JetBlue and Spirit are long-standing FLL leaders, and the merger approval will help them unlock new routes from Fort Lauderdale.

JetBlue is hopeful that the merger with Spirit will pave a path for adding Europe flights to its FLL route map. If the merger is approved, the New York-based carrier will provide services to 30 markets, which isn’t currently flown by either carrier from FLL.

At present, JetBlue operates regular international flights from FLL to Bogota, Cancun, Havana, Guayaquil, Montego Bay, Lima, Port-au-Prince, Punta Cana, San Jose de Costa Rica, and Santo Domingo. Similarly, its seasonal international offerings from FLL include Aguadilla and Aruba.

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