Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport

The airport, located just about 3 miles south of downtown Fort Lauderdale and about 20 miles or so north of Miami, is considered to be one of the busiest international airports in the United States (ranked 21st in 2013) at a major international how of business shipping.

Responsible for moving more than 23 million passengers each and every year (and that's just domestic travelers), it continues to enjoy a tremendous amount of business as the major hub for Silver Airways, Spirits Airways, and a "favorite city" of JetBlue and Southwest.

Recently undergoing major renovations to expand their international business, it's expected to be a major focus airport for the recently changed relationship with Cuba, thanks in large part to its rather southern location in the United States.

Though flights have yet to leave FT Lauderdale FL airport for Cuba, the policy is still quite know, and it's expected to make up a considerable amount of the international business moving through this airport in the years to come.

A bit of history in regards to the Fort Lauderdale Airport

Though it's almost impossible to imagine now, airport initially started off as a tiny little golf course (a nine hole golf course, at that) in 1929. At the end of World War I, the United States had just begun to experiment with militarized aircraft, and looking for a proper southern base to establish a training facility, they decided to commandeer what was then known as the Merle Fogg base golf course and transform it into the Merle Fogg Airfield.

It continued to be used as a training facility by the United States Army Air Corps all the way through World War II, but at the conclusion of that major conflict, it was converted into a United States Navy military base and renamed Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale.

Primarily being used as a service field responsible for transforming civil air flight equipment into militarized pieces of equipment that could be shipped to Europe and North Africa rather quickly to be placed immediately into action as necessary, it played a large role in the aftermath of World War II and the ability for the United States to quickly field a major air presence in Europe just as the Cold War begin to kick off.

Around 1946 though, the Navy really tried to consolidate all of their airfields and realized that the converted golf course in what would become the FT Lauderdale FL airport just really wasn't viable for their long-term goals.

Transferring ownership of the airfield over to Broward County, in 1946 (October 1946) it officially earned its civilian designation at the Broward County International Airport.

In the early years (between 1946 and 1953) it was one of the smallest international airports in the United States, but after 1953 and around 1959 it really started to create a lot of business in the Fort Lauderdale region.

A major terminal was constructed in the middle of 1959, a new air traffic control tower was erected later on that year, and it was now known as the FT Lauderdale airport - the moniker that it has carried till today.

Still not exactly a tremendously busy airport (1966, they only really handled about 48 to 50 air flights every single day, a number that would more than triple in 1972), it focused on eastern coast corridor traffic - flights from Florida up to New York, Boston, Washington DC, Baltimore, etc. - rather than a more "western expansion" like so many other new airports were focusing on at the time.

This too would shift and change in the 1970s right up until the 1980s, where they really began to focus on travel to airports like LAX and other major international airports on the West Coast, and when they really started to focus on international travel as well.

In 1990, they started to partner up closely with Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and JetBlue Airlines, creating tightknit relationships with each and every one of those companies that continue even today. Spirit Airlines has designated the FT Lauderdale airport as one of their "home bases", and Southwest and JetBlue have made it one of their "focus" cities.

The Fort Lauderdale Airport in modern times

As mentioned above, the airport has undergone a significant amount of changes ever since it was first established, some of them occurring rather recently.

In 2005 (which happened to be easily one of the worst hurricane seasons in the United States history), both Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Wilma were responsible for millions and millions of dollars in damage, closing down the airport for more than five days.

Construction crews worked double overtime after the storm to build, repair, and replace new structures and older components of the airport to bring them up to better than brand-new condition, and several editions have been added to the airport in just the last four or five years.

Today, the FT Lauderdale airport is one of the busiest in the world (cracking the top 50 of all airports worldwide), and is always looking for new ways to help improve their service for domestic and international passengers.

Covering an area of just about 1400 acres (with two major runways and a third currently under construction), it continues to expand as demand increases, though they have somehow found a way to partner up with a number of airlines to keep fares rather low.

Also making a number of appearances in a lot of famous Hollywood movies (including the Revenge of the Nerds sequel), the publicity has been fantastic for raising the profile of this airport.

It also happens to service a number of private aircraft, offering a considerable amount of storage and maintenance hangers on the airfield to these individuals to store and maintain their aircraft. This has helped them to also establish community air license programs to get more people into aviation, and it has created a very aviation focused community culture that has been embraced by Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding area.