Jessica Tyler, Vice President, Strategy and Development
American Airlines Cargo has two thumbs up and American Airlines
Cargo Control Center folks agree inside the dazzling new Penthouse
Cargo HQ at Robert Crandall Campus in Fort Worth, where 90 cargo
IT modules moved to 10 as part of the exciting new AA Cargo
IT system. Word up is, switch over on October 1 was a breeze.
Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas
sit at the south end of The Great Plains, a part of the United States
that stretches the length of the country up into Canada.
The corridor north is wind friendly,
even blustery—an ideal environment for huge, three-bladed,
Today Texas leads the United States
in wind energy, with more than 13,000 wind turbines.
The land surrounding Dallas-Ft. Worth
is mostly flat, coated in muted, sandy clay and composed of heavy
backland soils that farmers call “hardscrabble.”
It’s a semi-arid portion of
mother earth, mostly barren save for the dazzlingly beautiful succulent
During the last century, American
Airlines founder CR Smith purchased vast tracts of the land to set
up a home base. Today, the world’s biggest airline has leased
additional real estate and just completed a soft opening of the
first phase of its new world headquarters, named “The Robert
L. Crandall Campus.”
Robert Crandall served as the carrier’s
iconic leader. He led the company into the modern era, serving from
1985 until 1998, a time when American Airlines stepped up in its
inexorable climb to the top of the world’s airline business.
The first impression of Skyview 8,
the new headquarters for American Airlines, is that it is big.
Clean clusters of steel and glass
enhance the expansive feeling. The space feels more than ample for
the more than 5,600 people who report daily to work.
The sleek front entrance of Skyview
8 conjures the aerodynamics of aviation, which must have been at
the forefront of the building’s creators.
This is no ordinary office building.
It is a step into inner space that
is joyful, uplifting, and truly like moving within a living sculpture.
Once inside, geometric themes reminiscent
of flight meet the eyes wherever they land.
A cove with the sculpture of a tail
and empennage of an AA aircraft offers a moment of respite and an
excellent photo op. Everywhere else the space flows with fluid angles.
In stairways, around corners, and in the execution of railings and
furniture there is the angular suggestion of understated motion.
But the best feature of this truly
remarkable place might be the one experience everyone gets to visit
at least a couple times day.
The new American Airlines Headquarters
is a classic grand American building in the tradition of the U.S.
Capitol Building in Washington, DC, and our great transportation
structures such as The Marine Air Terminal at LaGuardia Airport
or Grand Central Station in New York City.
All of these places include a confluent
space positioned in the center of all the action, where everyone
briefly coalesces on their various journeys—in or out of various
chambers of government, or to catch a flight or a train, or here
in Texas in this beautiful place, on the way to work.
In the case of the new AA headquarters,
the business of the airline is conducted in open spaces on various
levels past standing sculptures that include, among other things,
AA aircraft flight safety cards executed in metal.
The expansive welcoming area inside
RLC includes a vaulted ceiling evocative of a giant engine. A skylight
beams brightly in its center.
The action buzzes inside Skyview 8’s
welcoming lobby. Meeting rooms encircle the space, rising above
the ground like cabins in the sky.
Every bit of the inside offers immediate
views of the outside.
The lobby invites gatherings for a
variety of events. Employees at AA’s Tulsa Maintenance Base
crafted an interpretive metal sculpture from Boeing 787 Dreamliner
composite material. It twists and turns overhead, recalling contrails
in the sky.
I kept imagining the contrails sculpture
as a giant corkscrew just waiting to pop open a giant bottle of
champagne and get the party going below!
Skyview 8 is part of a $350-million
expansion of the American Airlines campus in Fort Worth that was originally
built in the 1950s.
When the expansion is complete, the
sprawling campus will have eight main sections that house about 12,000
of American's 108,000 employees.
To build the new headquarters facility,
American extended its campus on DFW International Airport property
to 300 acres.
American has a 99-year ground lease
on the land, and it received approximately $21.25 million in tax incentives
from the city of Fort Worth for the expansion, including the IT center.
American Airlines corporate campus employees
will continue to see some work for the next few years. The former
flight attendant dormitory is being torn down and replaced with the
hotel, where employees will stay while they are trained.
There are also plans for a swimming
pool, fitness facility, and conference center.
Last but for all of us in air cargo
certainly not the least is the fact that air cargo has been given
place of pride with offices located on the 7th floor Penthouse.
American Airlines Cargo celebrates 75
years since its humble beginnings aboard a DC3 freighter from LaGuardia
in 1944. In 2019 it’s on top of the world, its offices rising
above it all with unparalleled views of the happenings below.
It’s a great position to think
In the open bull-pen office format,
clusters of people and leadership easily interact with each other
in a relaxed business atmosphere.
There is certainly more to share, but
the impression from our exclusive visit is that air cargo has come
a long way. Like closely watched planes, it shall continue to emerge
with new destinations and objectives on the menu (AA Cargo Pres. Rick
Elieson’s story appears here October 30), as the century moves
Wait ’til you see this place.
You won’t believe your eyes.
lobby and contrails sculpture photo credit: email@example.com