http://www.nbc5i.com/travelgetaways/2897589/detail.html American To Boost Daily Departures At DFW Within 3 Years POSTED: 1:38 pm CST March 4, 2004 UPDATED: 1:43 pm CST March 4, 2004 GRAPEVINE, Texas -- A tentative agreement between Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and American Airlines Inc. was expected to significantly increase North Texas operations by 2007, with millions of dollars in incentives to guarantee the carrier's growth. The deal, announced Wednesday, calls for a 21 percent increase in the Fort Worth-based air carrier's daily DFW departures than in 2003 and sets the stage for a lease agreement between American and the airport over Terminal D, the $1.2 billion facility opening next year to house all the airport's international flights. Boards of the world's largest airline and DFW Airport must still finalize the deal, which could take several months. The planned expansion follows several years of cutbacks, including the period after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The deal calls for American to take over 19 of the 28 gates in Terminal D, which is scheduled to open in summer 2005, thus ensuring that the airport has a major tenant in the new facility planned long before 9-11 and the economic slowdown. "We think this shows American's commitment to growing its hub here," said Kevin Cox, the airport's chief operating officer and senior vice president. "We're very pleased." The new gate leases will be in addition to American's total of 67 gates in Terminals A, B and C. Cox said the airport would put up about $30 million to reduce the airline's costs in the first year alone if passenger predictions are met. Like other major carriers, American has been looking for ways to reduce those costs as it struggles to return to profitability. The airline lost $1.2 billion in 2003 and has lost $6.5 billion since 2000. "We think this is good for the airport, and it's good for us," said American spokesman Tim Wagner. "It's the result of a lot of long, hard work between both of us to find a way to make it work."