Air Transport World

DFW 2010: world's busiest? (Dallas-Fort Worth Airport in the year 2010; includes a related article on the Alliance Center)

To keep up with growth that is expected to see it supplant Chicago O'Hare as the world's busiest airport by 1995 and to produce a doubling of passengers to 104 million by 2010, Dallas/Ft. Worth International has launched a $3.5 billion expansion, despite legal roadblocks thrown up by surrounding communities that both benefit and suffer from its presence.

The most startling facet of the DFW 2010 development plan adopted by the airport's governing board last year is the proposed dismantling of all but one of the semicircular terminals that have been its symbol since 1974, when it became the last major new airport to open in the U.S. Replacing them will be huge landside structures at the terminal area's northeast and southwest corners, connected by underground people movers to linear airside concourses. The west concourse would stretch for 1.7 mi. and the east for 1 mi. Together, they will contain some 200 gates, with aircraft parking and 2-way taxiing on both sides of each.

The plan also calls for two new air-carrier runways for a total of eight, and two additional ATC towers that are under construction to become operational in 1994. When all are in place, DFW will become the first airport in the world with three control towers and the capability for quadruple simultaneous IFR approaches. In effect, it will operate as three separate airports, with the central tower and inboard runways handling traffic in off-peak hours.

The two new towers are elements of FAA's DFW Metroplex Air Traffic System Plan, which also encompasses relocation of the four "cornerpost" Vortacs that form the present Metroplex airspace boundaries and addition of two new "centerpost" Vortacs to double arrival routes to eight and increase departure routes from 10 to 16. Only four of the 13 semicircular terminals envisioned in the 1967 master plan for DFW's 18,247 acres were built; their "drive-to-the-gate" design was made obsolete when the percentage of connecting passengers jumped to two thirds from one third after deregulation and the advent of hubbing. Meanwhile, the 118 gates that airlines have squeezed into existing terminals are hard-pressed to handle the 50 million passengers now using DFW each year.

The DFW 2010 plan envisions that American Airlines, which moved its corporate headquarters to the airport in 1979 and is its biggest tenant--58. …

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