The Dallas/Fort Worth Airport elected Dallas attorney Sam Coats as its new chairman of the board on Thursday.
Coats, who has served on the board since 2012, replaces Fort Worth hospital executive Lillie Biggins whose two-year term ended this month. Biggins will continue as a representative on the board.
“This is the best unpaid job I’ve ever had,” Coats said as he took over the chairman position. Coats was the president of Muse Air before it was acquired by Southwest Airlines in 1985 and also held various management positions at Continental Airlines, Southwest and Braniff Airways.
The board also approved a ten-year $35 million sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola. With the new contract, the airport will switch from Pepsi to Coke products in March. As part of the contract, Coke will build amenity/entertainment zones in the terminals that could include lounges or play areas for kids.
Separately, airport executive vice president John Ackerman said the airport served 5.2 million passengers in December, up 0.1 percent from December 2014. American Airlines’ passenger figures were up 0.6 percent while international passengers were up 2.6 percent.
Ackerman added that the Asia/Pacific region is now the second largest market served by DFW, surpassing Latin and South America. He told the board the growth in Asia/Pacific in 2015 was due to American’s addition of service to Beijing and Japan Airlines’ new Tokyo flights.