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Why American is building a 600-room hotel on its Fort Worth campus

The average person won't be able to book a night's stay at the new American Airlines Group Inc. campus hotel.
Credit: Jake Dean, Dallas Business Journal
The carrier is nearly done moving 12,000 employees to the new campus, as 10,500 currently work on site.

Just beyond the American Airlines Training and Conference Center at its Fort Worth headquarters lays a pile of rubble.

That's where an old 300-room lodging facility for training employees once stood and where a 600-room hotel will take its place in the next couple of years.

The average person won't be able to book a night's stay at the new American Airlines Group Inc. campus hotel. The facility, scheduled to be delivered by the end of 2021, will be used for future employees undergoing training to become pilots, flight attendants, gate agents and other types of American employees.

Part of the reason why American is investing so much money in its new campus is to break down the barriers between management and other employees. American hopes the new campus will facilitate a culture change, said Kirk Hotelling, managing director of Corporate Real Estate.

"It was really important for us to build a hotel on our campus so that we at least have 600 people a night that have that opportunity to walk into a lunch spot, or go for a beer after work, and happen to sit down next to someone in management and facilitate those interactions and conversations and break down the barriers," he said.

American is still deciding who will run the hotel, and Hotelling said that decision is still about a year out. The concept of a hotel or lodging directly on campus is not unheard of in the aviation industry. Delta Air Lines has on-campus dorms in Atlanta for new employees undergoing training, a spokesperson said.

Future Southwest Airlines employees are trained at corporate headquarters in Dallas, and the airline has partnerships with different hotels across the area, said Elizabeth Bryant, vice president of Southwest Airlines University. A United Airlines spokesperson said the airline doesn't have hotels or lodging on company ground for employees training in places like Houston and Denver.

American's old lodging facility was built in the 1950s and was outdated for today's needs. That's, in part, because American keeps expanding its employee base. The airline gets about 80,000 visitors a year in Fort Worth, including trainees and interviewees, the company said.

"It's like a small city," said Jonathan Pierce, director of Campus Culture & Change.

Also as part of the Hospitality Center, called Skyview 6, American is building a fitness center, medical clinic and dining hall. The space will have a conference area with room to flex up to a

1,200-person capacity, Pierce said. Skyview 6 will connect to the Training and Conference Center, called Skyview 5.

When the Hospitality Center comes online in two years, it will be one of the last pieces for American's new Fort Worth campus. The airline spent the summer transitioning a chunk of employees from the company's old headquarters on Amon Carter Boulevard to the new Robert L. Crandall campus, which sits just a few miles south of Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.

To see photos of the new American Airlines campus headquarters from a recent tour, click here.

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