The second-largest airport in South Florida
. Originally a base for the United States Navy
during World War II
, FLL is now shaping up as a major competitor for its big brother to the south, Miami International Airport
. Broward County
is pouring more than $1 billion into the airport for an anticipated traffic jump over the next ten years, from 11 million passengers a year now to 25 million passengers a year.
There are a number of reasons for Fort Lauderdale's rapid growth. For one, it is directly adjacent to Port Everglades, a major terminal for cruise ships. For another, many low-cost carriers like jetBlue, Southwest Airlines, and Spirit Airlines are flying into Fort Lauderdale to avoid excessive landing fees at Miami. For another, Broward County is growing just as fast as Miami-Dade County, and its new arrivals are, in general, far more affluent than Miami's, demanding more and better access to travel. Many are rich Northerners just waiting to throw money at Spirit and jetBlue for flights to New York and Long Island.
The largest operations at FLL are those of Delta Airlines and Continental Airlines. It is almost always rumored that one or the other is going to open a hub in Fort Lauderdale, but so far none of these rumors have been substantiated. Southwest Airlines also has a large presence at Fort Lauderdale, flying mostly intrastate routes to Jacksonville, Orlando, and Tampa.
While expansion continues, access to the airport is loopy at best: the onramps from U.S. 1 are easy to overshoot. The airport has a bus connection to the Tri-Rail for onward travel to Outer Havana and West Palm, which is generally most useful if you don't want to park your car at the airport (parking at Tri-Rail stations is free).