Northwest Airlines Continues Expansion at Its Detroit Hub

Tue May 10, 2005 - Midwest Edition

ROMULUS, MI (AP) Northwest Airlines Corp. expects to open the first gates of a new concourse at its Midfield Terminal by the end of the year.

The entire Concourse C should be complete by summer 2006, said Thomas Gunn, Northwest’s director of design and construction for the project.

Under the $190-million project, 16 gates will be added to the 25 gates at Concourse C, where Continental Express, Mesaba and Pinnacle offer short-hop propeller-jet flights. Nine gates designed to accommodate small passenger jets are being added to eight existing gates at Concourse B.

The luggage handling system will be expanded and the moving walkways extended at those concourses, which are linked to the main Concourse A terminal by a 900-ft. tunnel featuring synchronized lights and music. The project will give the Midfield Terminal a total of 122 gates.

Northwest has planned to rebuild Concourse C since opening it in 2002 for 34-seat propeller planes. But it delayed construction in 2003, when the war in Iraq and concerns about terrorism and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) caused uncertainty in the industry, airline spokesman Thomas Becher said.

Northwest resumed construction to make Concourse C feel more like Concourse A –– taller and wider, with more light –– because more passengers would be using it as the airline began using larger 44- and 50- seat planes at that concourse.

When construction is complete, Concourses B and C will span a half-mile, half the size of Concourse A. To pay off the bonds sold for the project, the Wayne County Airport Authority is using $4.50 fees charged to departing passengers.