DFW eyes growth plans after American Airlines’ successful ‘DFW 900’

Sep 22, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

As goes American Airlines, so goes Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

When the hometown carrier added more than 100 flights in a growth push dubbed “DFW 900” in May, Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) saw monthly passenger traffic jump 10% year-over-year in June, airport data shows. Double-digit passenger growth is almost unheard of at a mature airport like DFW.

“It went better than we expected, both from an operational and economic perspective,” said John Ackerman, executive vice-president of global strategy and development at DFW, at the World Routes conference in Adelaide, Australia, on Sunday.

American added the new flights after renovating the 15-gate Terminal E satellite at the airport. Those gates, which opened in May, allowed it to add the more than 100 at already teeming DFW.

Year-to-date through July, passenger numbers on American at DFW were up 10.1% year-over-year to 36.9 million, airport data shows. Overall passengers at the airport were up 8.4% to 43.3 million.

The new flights did not come without challenges for both American and the airport. Adding gates in Terminal E meant American would operate from all five of DFW’s terminals, each of which operates like “its own city,” said Ackerman. He explained that every terminal is separate from the others in terms of infrastructure; for example, the luggage systems are not connected, requiring bags to be transferred between terminals on a luggage cart.

In addition, the airport now operates with nearly every gate occupied during peak hours, he said. This limits DFW’s ability to offer space to new carriers at desirable times.

DFW is working on those space constraints. In May, the airport and American announced a deal to build ‘Terminal F’ with 24 gates on unused space in the southwest corner of the terminal complex. The first phase is due to open by 2025.

This image shows where a planned 'Terminal F' would go at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. (Photo: Courtesy of DFW Airport)
The location of planned ‘Terminal F’ at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. (Photo: Courtesy of DFW Airport)

Related: A New Terminal Is Coming to American Airlines’ Biggest Hub

Design work is underway on the new facility that may or may not follow the airport’s signature semi-circular terminal layout, said Ackerman. One option under consideration is building just a satellite concourse connected inside security by DFW’s existing Skylink. A satellite design would mean passengers would check in and collect bags in one of the airport’s existing terminals, likely adjacent terminals D or E and take the train to F.

Building just a concourse would cost less than a full-service terminal, and could mean lower operating costs for American, Ackerman said. However, the airport must also take into account local travelers’ partiality for the convenience of the current layout that minimizes the distance from curbside to gate.

“We’re debating are we going to keep our model, or are we going to change,” said Ackerman.

Featured image by Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
0% on purchases for 12 months
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.