There are numerous construction upgrades being performed by multiple contractors at Dallas-Fort-Worth International Airport as part of an investment to improve the
second busiest airport by passenger traffic. Here, a total of 220,000 tons of asphalt was used to repave and replace a concrete runway. Full coverage on page 10.
(Dallas Fort-Worth International Airport photo)
The Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), which will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Jan. 13, 2024, continues to grow and expand as it enters its "golden year" in 2024.
The airport has approved investments — upwards of $10 billion — for current, ongoing construction projects, ones in the planning stages or ones that were completed most recently over the last calendar year.
Archer Western, along with joint venture partners H.J. Russell and Phillips/May Corporation, are tasked with completing portions of the ongoing project.
"DFW will enter its golden year in 2024 as the second-busiest airport in the world, built on a half-century legacy of growth, innovation and unparalleled support from the community and business partners we serve, along with our owner cities of Dallas and Fort Worth," said DFW Chief Executive Officer Sean Donohue.
Although there have been projects to upgrade the airport since 1974, they have been initiated on an individual basis. The ongoing work is part of a full-scale plan to upgrade the airport's facilities and improve services — creating a better customer experience and to meet the needs of the growing Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area.The work is upgrading terminals, airfields and other key infrastructure, as well as services and amenities within the airport.
Zachary Greiner, a DFW communications manager, explained why the airport is expanding.
The High C Gates, Gates C35-C39, at the south end of Terminal C, "were built utilizing the latest innovation in modular construction and engineering," according to Greiner.
The gates were constructed offsite, then transported overnight into place to allow for the inside finishes to begin. Modular construction reduced the time needed to build the gates, reducing the impact on customers.
"Due to the collaborative approach with DFW, constructing the shell and core of the terminal and American Airlines constructing the finishes of the interior, the High C gates were completed under budget and four months ahead of schedule," the project website stated. "Gate C33 will be renovated as part of this project and will open as C35, once renovations are complete this summer."
Khaled Naja, DFW's executive vice president of infrastructure and development, was pleased.
"The innovative solutions used to bring the High C Gates online ahead of schedule reflect the dedication and commitment of DFW Airport and American Airlines to provide an elevated customer experience while minimizing impacts, and being good stewards of this regional asset," he said. "This approach allowed us to fundamentally reimagine the way we design and build airport terminals and we aim to use this modular construction method in future projects."
The new gates mark the start of renovations to Terminal C as the airport prepares to construct nine new gates as part of the Terminal C Pier project.
"The High C gates enhance the customer experience with innovative technology such as dynamic glass windows and smart restrooms," stated the press release. "The new gates also feature unique artwork throughout providing a relaxing atmosphere to help customers de-stress while in the gate waiting area. The gate lounges feature large digital information screens that feature flight information for that gate. There is also space for additional food/beverage and retail options in Terminal C."
The Northeast End-Around Taxiway, completed just a handful of months ago, makes DFW the only airport in the United States with an end-around taxiway at both ends of a runway. It was a "key part of DFW's overall 10-year infrastructure capital plan, which includes enhancing or rebuilding runways, roadways, bridges and other major infrastructure needs. End-around taxiways enhance safety by allowing arriving aircraft to taxi around DFW's active runways rather than wait to cross them and eliminating runway crossings.
"The taxiways also increase operational efficiency, generate aircraft operating cost savings and save on passenger travel time," the press release added. "End-around taxiways create efficiencies by avoiding aircraft stoppages and help decrease the taxi times by an average of four minutes for customers as their aircraft moves from the gate to the runway or runway to the gate."
Naja stressed the importance of this upgrade, which was funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
"We have invested not just in our infrastructure, but in our future, ensuring you have the best experience on your journey through DFW Airport," he said.
Construction of a new $234 million electric Central Utility Plant (eCUP), a facility that is part of DFW's commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2030, also is part of the overall construction upgrade.
"The facility will provide sustainably powered heating and cooling capacity to support the growth of the airport," said Greiner. "It will be primarily fueled by electricity purchased by the airport that comes from 100 percent renewable sources. Once complete, eCUP will provide additional capacity for future airport growth, substantially decrease greenhouse gas emissions, improve local air quality by reducing ozone precursor emissions, and lower the plant's water usage by 29 percent, compared with today's systems."
Sean Donohue, DFW's CEO, is pleased that construction has progressed well.
"The addition of a fully electric utility plant is a major component of achieving net-zero carbon emissions from airport operations by 2030," he said. "As we prepare to build new gates and other critical infrastructure, we also will ensure that our growth is environmentally responsible and resilient. The eCUP will help us meet these goals and further our commitment to sustainability and innovation, while creating more than 1,400 jobs."
Federal funding sources account for more than $116 million for the project, including more than $107 million by the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which supports infrastructure improvement projects throughout the country.
Ground broke on March 30 last year for the $180 million End Around Taxiway (EAT) program
"What really distinguishes DFW is the size and the growth happening at the same time," said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. "Sometimes you have fast-growing markets, sometimes you have large ones, but this is one that is both. And I appreciate the way DFW is looking to the future."
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is providing $28.8 million toward construction of the newest EAT on the airport's southwest side, which will be the third of its kind at DFW.
The FAA has committed to providing a total of $180 million for DFW's EAT program. The FAA provided DFW with $115 million to construct the northeast EAT. DFW's first EAT on the southeast side, which was completed in 2008.
"Safety is the No. 1 priority across the aviation industry and here at DFW and we greatly appreciate the federal support in continuing to invest in our infrastructure and modernization of the airfield," said Donohue.
EATs permit arriving aircraft to taxi around DFW's active runways rather than wait to cross them. They also improve operational efficiency, generate aircraft operating cost savings and reduce passenger travel times.
"EATs also avoid aircraft stoppages, leading to a decrease in taxi times by an average of four minutes per flight for passengers as their plane travels between the runway and the gate areas," said Greiner.
The southwest EAT project should be completed in 2025.
"This initiative is a crucial part of DFW's 10-year Capital Infrastructure Plan, aimed at enhancing runways, roadways and bridges," said Greiner. "They are one of several investments DFW is making to reshape how the airport operates well into the future."
As part of its ongoing airfield capital improvement program, DFW closed one of its east airfield runways to complete routine rehabilitation work that will replace aging infrastructure and create a more efficient operation. Runway 17R/35L closed last summer on Aug. 15 and is scheduled to reopen in phases starting next summer.
"This is DFW's third runway in the past four years to undergo complete rehabilitation, which is a typical part of a runway's lifecycle," Greiner. "The closure is not expected to impact DFW's overall flight operations, as aircraft traffic will be shifted to the DFW's six other runways on the east and west airfields. The east airfield has four runways, and with 17R/35L closed, DFW will balance traffic using the remaining three runways while shifting a minimal amount of traffic to the west runways."
The work includes extending the structural life of the runway, enhancing current and future performance and reducing operational impacts and maintenance costs. The runway also will feature a pavement reconstruction with an asphalt overlay, drainage improvements and new electrical infrastructure, new lighting, improved signs and updates to its deicing infrastructure.
Planning is ongoing for three projects: expansion of the central terminal area (Terminal A & C), 19th Street cargo facility and the construction of Terminal F & reimaging of Terminal C.
Last spring, DFW and American Airlines signed a new 10-year Use and Lease Agreement, which includes $4.8 billion in pre-approved capital investments — including the construction of Terminal F, the renovation of Terminal C and other significant modernization projects.
"We are very proud that Fort Worth-based American Airlines has signed this important agreement to cement DFW's status as American's main hub and help us continue to meet the incredible demand we are experiencing in North Texas," said Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker said. "Our region will become the nation's third-largest metro region within the next 10 years, and it's no surprise that we have the second-busiest airport in the world. Today's agreement ensures DFW Airport is ready for the future and to continue serving as Fort Worth's gateway to the world."
"The Use and Lease Agreement not only creates a predictable and equitable business model for DFW Airport, but it also underscores the commitment of the airport and our airline partners to provide passengers with the best possible travel experience," said Donohue.
"Our partnership with American Airlines, our largest airline, is stronger than ever. With the support of Robert Isom and the American team, we are making investments that set the stage for the airport of the future —one that prioritizes innovation, customer experience and sustainability."
The Use and Lease Agreement is the main governing document between the airlines and the airport and establishes the airport's business model. The DFW's major capital projects include: an estimated $2.72 billion for the expansion of the Central Terminal Area, including a major reimagining of Terminal C, "pier" expansions off Terminal A and Terminal C, and significant upgrades to roadways and terminal access; and an estimated $1.63 billion for the construction of a new Terminal F, featuring a 15-gate concourse. Terminal F will provide modern facilities and amenities, including new baggage handling, expanded concessions and additional passenger gates to accommodate the growing demand for air travel.
"The terminal expansions will deliver 24 additional gates to prepare American and other airlines for long-term growth at DFW," said Greiner. "At the completion of construction, American will add new gates that are constructed in the Terminal A and Terminal C piers projects to its operating portfolio. The projects will also allow American to expand operations in existing terminals to maximize its operational capability and enhance the experience for connecting customers. The new agreement provides American and DFW the opportunity to work together on additional capital projects throughout the term of the lease."
The new Use and Lease Agreement replaces the 2010 agreement — which expired in 2020 and was extended during the pandemic — and maintains many of the same business arrangements as the prior version, which will provide certainty and cost predictability to support the continued growth of the airlines and DFW.
The 19th Street Cargo facility will enhance DFW's ability to process international e-commerce and increase overall cargo capacity and continue its growth in cargo operations.
"The project is slated for completion in late 2024 and will add approximately 350,000 square feet of new warehouse space and seven ADG VI [large cargo aircraft] parking positions. DFW will take an end-to-end leadership role throughout the life of the project, enabling the airport to curate tenants that align with its long-term strategy and vision" CEG
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