Love Field: Busy, Busier, or Busiest? — 1960s

by Paula Bosse

love-field_tinkle_1960sLove Field, 1960s

by Paula Bosse

This photo of Love Field airport appeared in Lon Tinkle’s book for young readers, The Key To Dallas, published in 1965. In it, he wrote the following:

“The rise of commercial aviation found Dallas leaders […] determined to add this new adjunct to the city’s transport facilities. Dallas’ Love Field was started as a military flying field in the first World War and is now one of the nation’s finest as well as busiest airports. It remains the symbol of the partnership forged between Dallas interests and the airlines with their fleets of incredibly fast, far-ranging aircraft.”

The actual caption of the photo:

“Dallas’ emphasis on excellent transportation facilities is reflected in Love Field, one of the nation’s five busiest airports.”

…Which was sort of true, but sort of not. It’s the kind of factoid a civic booster will crow about but which should really be accompanied by a great big asterisk.

Tinkle was probably referring to the FAA’s annual statistical report for 1963, published in April, 1964.

love-field_rankings_dmn_041164Dallas Morning News, Apr. 11, 1964

Four days later this appeared (click for larger image):

love-field_rankings_dmn_041564DMN, Apr. 15, 1964

And the following day, this appeared on the editorial page of The Dallas Morning News — probably to both clarify the seemingly conflicting information presented in its own pages as well as to put a boosterific spin on the confusing numbers (imagine this as the information that would be following that asterisk which should have appeared after Mr. Tinkle’s statement):

love-field_rankings_dmn_041664DMN, Apr. 16, 1964

Love Field was certainly a busy and successful airport, but Mr. Tinkle’s “one of the five busiest airports” is a little misleading.


Photo and quotes from The Key to Dallas by Lon Tinkle (Philadelphia and New York: J. B. Lippincott Co., 1965); p. 72.

An FAA glossary defines “itinerant operations” as “operations performed by an aircraft […] that lands at an airport, arriving from outside the airport area, or departs an airport and leaves the airport area.” The Resource Guide to Airport Performance Indicators defines them as “arrivals or departures other than local operations that generally originate OR terminate at another airport.” That’s what Love Field ranked #5 in. If I understand this correctly, that would include the arrivals and departures of small commercial or private planes that aren’t permanently based at the airport as well as passenger airliners which land mid-route to refuel (or whatever) and then take off again to continue on to their scheduled destinations.

Click photo for larger image.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.