The Past and Present
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) is ranked 21st for passengers in the United States. FLL served 29.2 million passengers in 2016. It averages 640 daily flights to the US, Europe, Canada, Caribbean, and Latin America.
FLL was originally established as the Merle Fogg Field on May 1, 1929.
The airport was named for a World War I aviator who moved to Fort Lauderdale in the 1920s to begin his own flying service. The airfield became Fort Lauderdale Naval Air Station (NAS) in 1942. The U.S. Navy constructed three main runways and built a control tower as a training facility during World War II.
Fort Lauderdale Daily News December 1945
TBN Avengers circa 1945
In 1943, Ensign George H. W. Bush, arrived at NAS Fort Lauderdale to train as a pilot. He would become the Navy’s youngest pilot and later the nation's 41st President.
In January of 1948, Broward County assumed control of the facility, and in 1953, the county formally took ownership. Three years later, Mackey Airlines would introduce FLL's first scheduled airline service.
Read more history.
FLL's Notable Figures
Timeline of Important FLL Events
- May 1, 1929 - Merle Fogg Airport dedicated.
- June 3, 1942 - U.S. Navy commences construction on Naval Air Station (NAS) Fort Lauderdale.
- October 7, 1942 - First Navy flight operations begin with the arrival of 17 TBN Avengers from Norfolk, VA.
- June 1943 - George H. W. Bush begins training at the air station.
- December 5, 1945 - Flight 19 disappears in the Atlantic Ocean - five aircraft and 14 crew members.
- June 1, 1946 - NAS Fort Lauderdale decommissioned.
- January 1948 - Broward County assumes control of the facility from U.S. Navy. View more important events in FLL's history.
75 years of bringing you closer to your world. Read an overview of important historical milestones (PDF) in the history of FLL.
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