Category Archives: DFW Airport

Navy’s Blue Angels will fly over North Texas Wednesday in salute to COVID-19 responders

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A formation of jets from the Navy’s Blue Angels, left, and the Air Force’s Thunderbirds fly over Atlanta, to show support for medical workers fighting the coronavirus outbreak, Saturday, May 2, 2020. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

The U.S. military’s elite squadrons of trick flyers will buzz across North Texas skies Wednesday as part of a nationwide salute to doctors, nurses, first responders and other essential workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels will fly over the Dallas and Fort Worth areas Wednesday morning, according to the demonstration squadron’s Twitter channel. The demonstrations are part of the “America Strong” tour that flew over Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Atlanta on Saturday.

On Wednesday, the Blue Angels and the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds are set for demonstrations over Houston and New Orleans as well. There are plans to fly over other major cities in the U.S. in the coming weeks, but dates have not been announced.

Read more from The Dallas Morning News…

DFW International Airport surprisingly empty after COVID-19 developments

If you’ve been to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), you are probably used to long security lines and crowded terminals.

I visited terminals A and C, which are supposed to be the busiest during this time, mainly due to Spring Break. Imagine my surprise when barely a traveler was there to be seen.

I was able to speak to a few passengers, both coming home to DFW and those leaving to visit other cities. As you can imagine, these were the folks who dared to travel during this COVID-19 pandemic.

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Traveler Tony Manning, from Detroit, Michigan

Tony Manning, from Detroit, MI, said:

I own a public relations/marketing business for a legal consulting firm, so I am here to do some consulting for a couple of clients. I have not had any problems due to Coronavirus. I flew from Detroit on American, and the flight attendants were so awesome. They tried to go out of their way to make sure we were all comfortable. The planes were pretty empty. My flight from Detroit had maybe 20 people on board [a 737 jet]. I literally had the whole row to myself to stretch out. It was peaceful. It was quiet, and we got here safe. Everybody was wiping down the seats and stuff. No one was coughing. I had been worried about that, so I brought my mask, but I felt like this is probably the cleanest flight I’ve ever been on.

So, instead of hysteria and panic, it seems that people are just staying home, making air travel more pleasant for those that utilize it.

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Three travelers taking precautions on their flight home

Travelers stuck in long lines at DFW due to CDC questionnaire and enhanced screening, airport says

(Texas Tribune) – Hundreds of travelers returning from overseas Saturday are complaining about long lines and wait times at DFW Airport.

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Passengers coming from Europe wait in long lines at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. (WFAA-TV) (Texas Tribune)

Many are returning following the travel ban announced by President Donald Trump, in which there’s a 30-day suspension of travel between Europe and the United State in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I can see nothing but people for me, for as far as I can see,” said Longview resident Dorothy Lowe, who was returning Saturday from Mexico.

Lowe said she got off the plane at 4 p.m. and was still in line at customs waiting to leave the airport at 7 p.m.

Read more from Click2Houston…

Inaugural national conference emphasizes including faith in the workplace

By Stacey Doud and Father Greg McBrayer

The Busch School of Business at the Catholic University of America (CUA) and the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation (RFBF) hosted the inaugural national conference for faith-oriented Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) on February 13-14, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Faith@WorkThe historic event brought together Employee Resource Group (ERG) leaders from across corporate America to share their experiences, their outlook for the future and ideas for furthering the trend toward a wider acceptance of faith-based ERGs. This movement is going full speed at some of America’s largest and most familiar companies, including DFW’s own American Airlines (AA), which tied for number 5 with Facebook on the new Religious Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Index (REDI).

Father Greg McBrayer, who is a Chief Flight Dispatcher and Anglican Priest, serves as the Senior Christian Employee Business Resource Group (CEBRG) Diversity Advisory Council Representative at American Airlines.

“My role is to both oversee and plant new Christian Ministry Chapters within AA worldwide, which exist under the oversight of the Inclusion and Diversity Department,” McBrayer said.

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McBrayer being interviewed by Currents TV

At AA for over 40 years, McBrayer has been involved in the faith movement in the aviation industry for 20 years. He also oversees the Board of Directors at DFW Airport Interfaith Chaplaincy, which has 15 volunteer chaplains from all three major faith groups [Christian, Jewish and Muslim] that provide the ministry of presence and chapel services at DFW Airport daily.

The phrase most emphasized at the conference was, “I want to bring my whole, true self to work.” And faith is a large part of many workers’ personal identities. But if their workplaces don’t support this part of who they are, the results can be as severe as failure to perform job duties, excessive absences, resignation/termination and at the far end of the spectrum, lawsuits.

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Father McBrayer listens to a presentation, along with other faith leaders from American Airlines

“We find our faith at the foundation of who we are. So, to bring that into the workplace, where we deal with the anxieties and stresses of our jobs and professions, is absolutely needed,” McBrayer said.

An objective measure of corporate diversity for faith was created by the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation. It is called the corporate Religious Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Index, or the REDI, Index. The other nine corporations (excluding AA) recognized at this first-time event were: Alphabet/Google, Tyson Foods, Intel, Target, Facebook, Apple, Dell, Goldman Sachs and American Express.

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The REDI Index is the first benchmark for the objective assessment of the state of America’s Corporate inclusion of religion as part of its diversity, equity and inclusion programs and initiatives. It uses practices to make sure the Index comes out objectively, including double-blind coding [counting and categorization] of the main diversity landing pages of Fortune 100 companies and other data. From this information, the REDI Index is constructed.

The latest findings are disappointing. Many corporations still overlook religious inclusion, while paying attention to other diversity classifications, such as race/ethnicity, women/gender, sexual orientation, veterans/military, disability, age, and family, by a factor of 34-to-1. Several corporations have already been through expensive lawsuits.

Hilton paid $21 million in 2019 to a dishwasher because Hilton did not reasonably accommodate his religious needs. Abercrombie & Fitch was taken to the Supreme Court in 2015, in which the plaintiff accused the corporation of putting their “looks policy” above religious freedom and indiscrimination. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff, who just wanted to wear a hijab to work.

The analysis done by the RFBF determines that only 43 of the Fortune 100 companies in the U.S. even mention religion on their company diversity sections of their corporate websites.

Only about half of the 43 companies that do mention religion only bring it up once, as a part of a boilerplate nondiscrimination statement.

Brian Grim, PhD, president of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, which was created in 2014, had some hopeful news.

“Our research, however, also indicates that corporate America is at a tipping point toward giving religion similar attention to that given the other major diversity categories, especially as our nation is becoming more religiously diverse with no one religious denomination holding a majority. Indeed, including religion is a litmus test for whether a company fully embraces diversity, equity and inclusion. This conference has shown the world that faith is welcome inside of corporate America,” Grim said.

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McBrayer (L) accepts a plaque on behalf of American Airlines from Brian Grim

American Airlines is evidence of employee identity inclusion. The new religious-freedom rankings come after years of the corporation’s strong support of other CRG groups. “This is a very exciting season for our faith based EBRG’s and I am very proud of what I see occurring within American Airlines,” said Father McBrayer. 

“The perception out there is that religion is a dangerous topic, but some companies have found the opposite – that it reinforces the other things they care about,” Grim said.

“Companies considering faith-based initiatives should strive to ensure they are inclusive,” said Nick Fish, president of American Atheists, “Creating a work environment that is exclusionary of non-religious staff or members of religious minorities is a recipe for disaster.”

This historic Religious Freedom and Business Foundation gathering at CUA has already set the 2021 date to convene again next year, which clearly indicates the growth of this movement in corporate America to provide opportunities for employees to bring their whole selves to the work, including their faith.

The people behind the curtain: How American Airlines keeps you safe

By Stacey Doud

If you’re like me when you have to travel by air, you get on a plane, try to chill out, read a book, have a drink and just trust that you will land safely. But there is so much more involved behind the scenes that you will never see…until now.

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 Rev. McBrayer

While I was covering a recent story, I was fortunate enough to meet Reverend Greg McBrayer, who is a Chief Flight Dispatcher with American Airlines (AA), a Chaplain and the Director of Dallas/Fort Worth Airport’s (DFW) Interfaith Chaplaincy.

Rev. McBrayer was kind enough to offer me a tour of American Airlines’ Flight Control, which is housed in the Robert W. Baker Integrated Operations Center (IOC) on the AA Headquarters Campus in Dallas.

McBrayer has worked at AA for 40 years (35 years as a Flight Controller) and is very familiar with the ins and outs of making air travel as safe as possible for passengers, as well as working for over 20 years as one of the spiritual lighthouses for passengers and crew.

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The IOC on the AA Campus (Photo: Greg McBrayer)

To get some “layman’s” understanding, watch the last episode of season two of the AMC TV show, Breaking Bad, or the movie, Flight, starring Denzel Washington. These offerings give a “movie magic” glimpse into how airplanes are advised to increase or decrease altitude and airspeed, etc. to avoid bad weather, other planes and more. The situations in these fictional presentations are as rare as when Captains Chelsey Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles landed an Airbus A320 in the Hudson River in 2009: It could happen, but rarely does because of the folks working behind the scenes.

McBrayer led us into a large room with many workstations. It reminded me of the trading floor on Wall Street, but without the frantic activity.

“The building is divided into two levels. This bottom floor is mainly admin stuff that are support roles for all of the different departments that make this airline work,” McBrayer said. “This is where the ‘nine to five’ work goes on. These hundreds of folks support the hundreds of people that work upstairs where the Flight Control level is.”

Several glass offices lined the room, one of which is the Prayer Room.

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Prayer Room

“This is an extremely high stress job that we’re in, so we need a quiet place we can go. This room becomes that sanctuary,” said McBrayer. “People have to surrender when they come to work, and [humans] are not good at doing that. It’s out of your hands,” McBrayer said. He intercedes in that perceived loss of control and brings peaceful words to his co-workers when he can.

McBrayer offers ministry in a larger conference room every Monday. If an employee can’t make it to the service, he or she can dial a dedicated phone number to listen in to hear the message.

The other rooms are used primarily for training and classes, including the training that Flight Controllers, including McBrayer, have to take part in every month to keep their certificates active and valid with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

“We have a whole class of guys going through training right now. We have the largest class I’ve ever seen in my 40-year tenure,” McBrayer explained. “This is an extremely long process and it takes about a year. They’re hired and are in here [training rooms] for several months, and then they train with an experienced flight controller until they’re ‘checked out.’”

In his four decades of service, McBrayer has seen a few changes.

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Workstation (Photo: Greg McBrayer)

“Probably the biggest change during my tenure here has been the advancement in technology. This a very, very technical job here, and it always has been, but it’s at a whole different level now. It [technology] changes weekly. It can be difficult to keep up with,” McBrayer explained. “It’s guided by a lot of things that we have no control over, like fuel prices and world events.”

Rev. McBrayer then led us upstairs to the Flight Control Room, which is really the heart of the IOC.

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Photo courtesy of Greg McBrayer

This huge area also looked like something from Wall Street, with the same endless workstations, two or three large screen computer monitors in each station that displayed all of the AA planes in the air at that moment. Some of the employees were in charge of keeping track of the weather, so their screens were full of different types of weather maps. Others were monitoring national and international air traffic.

Should a crisis break out, whether due to weather, terrorism or any other situation that risks the safety of AA passengers, there is a “Command Center,” housed in the IOC. This is similar to the “Situation Room” at the White House. The required staff convene in this room when something like 9/11 happens to formulate a plan of action to address the safety of passengers and ground control staff. The room contains maps of the world and has several clocks displaying the time across international time zones. Each workstation has a phone and a computer, so that all participants can stay current on the progress of each issue, whether it be foreign or domestic.

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Command Center

Next time you are on a flight, remember all the good people behind the scenes that help get you to your destination safely!

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DFW Airport Chaplaincy recognizes major supporters with Ministry of Presence awards

By Stacey Doud

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Congresswoman Kay Granger and Rev. Greg McBrayer

The DFW Interfaith Chaplains held their annual Ministry of Presence Awards in the Hyatt Regency DFW Airport on December 13. These awards recognize the men and women who have gone above and beyond to keep the Chaplaincy open and available to DFW Airport travelers who may need spiritual comfort.

“We wanted to recognize those who have blessed us and continue to bless others,” said Father Greg McBrayer, who serves as a senior chaplain and is a 40-year employee of American Airlines, as well as the Host for the event.

“The mission of the DFW Airport Interfaith Chaplaincy is to provide the ministry of presence, spiritual counseling and personal support to the DFW Airport community at large by providing places of worship and reflection for people of all faiths and religious traditions,” McBrayer said.

The Chaplaincy is in its 42nd year and is currently made up of 19 volunteer chaplains representing different religions, as well as two intern chaplains. These clergy members keep this service open 24 hours a day and seven days a week in chapels in all of the DFW terminals.

“Every year, we gather to give thanks and to reflect and to recognize, some special individuals who have contributed in making our Chaplaincy the beacon of light, which it has become at DFW International Airport,” McBrayer explained.

To meet the needs of people of all different religions, the Chaplaincy offers sacred scriptures, such as the Bible and the Torah, as well as holding services for Catholic, Protestant and Islamic guests. The chaplains provide counsel, prayer and support, from consoling family members of fallen soldiers to performing weddings free of charge.

“This year, our Board of Directors added corporate sponsors and three new board members. We made additional improvements to our web site, and we added three new Chaplains. We also reinstated our Associate Chaplain internship program,” McBrayer said.

“This year’s, annual Spring Fling Golf Outing and RISE UP Prayer Breakfast were both very well attended again and fostered new partnerships in the airport area, enabling us to widen our footprint in the community.

“This year was also a very active year for our Chaplains, as we participated at more than 100 Fallen Soldier Angel Flights and ramp-side services of our own AA Employees transitioning home to their final resting places.  

 “We had more than 7,000 DFW employees and travelers attended our regular and special services, chapel masses and interfaith services. 

“This year, our chaplains logged more than 4,000 hours, connecting with more than 19,000 airport employees, travelers, Department of Public Safety (DPS) and military personnel. Of those, more than 4,000 were personally counseled. Our Chaplains also provided the ministry presence at numerous DFW Airport, DPS, American Airlines and other airport Community events.

“We also, provided continuing education training for our Chaplains and remain actively involved with DFW Airport and American Airlines at all Emergency Response Drills.

 “The highlight of this year, however, was the ribbon cutting and consecration of the new Terminal D – Meadows Chapel, located near gate 40, which is much larger and far more accommodating for all our all of worshipers. We are one of the few US Airports with Ablution Stations for our Muslims,” McBrayer reported.

McBrayer presented DFW Airport CEO Sean Donohue, DFW Hub Operations Vice President Cedric Rockamore and Liz Wahlquist, who worked for Braniff for four years and continues to support the Chaplaincy, with Ministry of Presence awards. Kay Granger, who is a former mayor or Fort Worth and is now a Congresswoman, received an Honorary Lifetime Advisory Board Member position for her assistance in keeping the Chaplaincy Program alive via her position in government.

“We are recognizing our past, present and future,” McBrayer said. “We honored the past with recognizing Congresswoman Kay Granger, the present with Liz Wahlquist and Cedric Rockamore, and the future with Sean Donahue, who underwrote the spaces we needed at the airport. This allows us to serve many purposes, with one being ‘spiritual first responders,’” he added.

“The potential growth [for the airport] is enormous. DFW Airport strengthens and supports the area, and we try to support the supporters,” McBrayer added.

For more information, visit http://www.dfwairportchapel.org/.

DFW Airport, American Airlines Announce Plans for Sixth Terminal at DFW Airport

Screen Shot 2019-05-20 at 7.01.16 PMDallas-Fort Worth International Airport and American Airlines revealed plans Monday to develop a sixth terminal at the airport, Terminal F.

Initial plans call for DFW Airport, which is jointly co-owned by the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, to invest up to $3.5 billion in terminal improvements, including the construction of Terminal F and enhancements to Terminal C.

“We get more complaints about C than anything, so this is a real win for the traveling public, to renovate C and have a beautiful new terminal, too,” said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price.

Read more from NBCDFW…

Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport receives recognition for service and excellence

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planeTrade publication Air Transport World named Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport the 2019 Airport of the Year for its customer service experience, leadership in sustainability, efficiency and collaborative efforts with other agencies, according to a Thursday news release.

The recognition is the result of DFW Airport staff’s commitment to service, airport CEO Sean Donohue said in the news release.

“DFW is experiencing the fastest growth in more than a decade, and we see it as an opportunity to welcome the world to the Dallas Fort Worth region and advance the innovation and collaboration that deliver for our customers and make our communities stronger,” he said in a statement.

Read more from Community Impact…

Fire Training This Week

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October Research Live Fires – The FTRC will be participating in a large-scale research project over a two-week period in October outside normal training activities which may entail prolonged times of smoke being generated at the training center. You may see prolonged periods of smoke generation or larger than normal smoke columns. This is all part of the extensive research project. Exact live fire dates and times will be posted as the project becomes more defined,

*Training occurs nearly every day at our Fire Training Research Facility. Smoke activity will be visible near the southwest end of the Airport. We will continue to update this page with the most accurate scheduled dates. Please note changes can occur at any time and research activity may also extend past the scheduled times.

Fire Training at DFW This Week

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Exercises at the DFW Fire Training Research Center are taking place throughout this week. You may see smoke during training hours.

For more information: https://www.dfwairport.com/firetrainingschedule/