Thursday, August 24, 2017
How DFW Airport transformed its 43-year-old Terminal E into a passenger-friendly space
By Conor Shine
The Dallas (TX) Morning News
After six years and more than 1.6 million hours of labor, renovations are finally complete on one of DFW International Airport’s oldest terminals.
Airport officials unveiled the completed Terminal E on Wednesday, showing off an open and light-filled space that has been totally updated from the elevated ceilings down to the terrazzo floors.
It brings to an end six years of carefully coordinated construction that renovated gates a few at a time, all while airlines continued operating flights.
“Our team has accomplished a truly remarkable makeover for Terminal E, transforming a 43-year-old terminal building into a welcoming space designed to serve 21st century air travelers,” said DFW Airport executive vice president Khaled Naja. “In total, 36 passengers gates in Terminal E were taken down to their concrete framework and rebuilt into the modern and efficient space that you see today.”
Travelers run by Duncan Donuts in the newly remolded Terminal E at DFW International Airport. The terminal became the second one completed in DFW's $2.7 billion Terminal Renewal and Improvement Program.
The 36-gate Terminal E was one of the original buildings when DFW Airport opened in 1974. Today, it is home to nine carriers, including American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Delta, Spirit and Frontier.
A total of 1.2 million square feet of terminal space was renovated, about half in public areas. The first thing passengers are likely to notice is the roomier parking garage, where 1,900 new spaces have been added along with a parking guidance system that shows drivers where there are open spots.
From there, it’s on to the new ticketing areas and the expanded security checkpoints, which have been reoriented to open up more space for passenger lines and to accommodate scanners that weren’t considered in the 1970s design.
The terminal has 16 new retail stores and 21 concession offerings, including a Sonny Bryan’s BBQ and Tim Love’s Love Shack, along with airport staples like Auntie Anne’s and Chick-fil-A.
Gate seating areas have also been updated with plenty of power outlets and free wireless internet throughout the building.
Naja said travelers should find the new terminal easier to navigate with improved signage and better designs to guide passenger flow.
“All of this has been completed with one goal in mind — improving the customer experience,” he said.
Behind the scenes, a new automated baggage handling system was installed, along with updates to major systems including electrical, plumbing and fire protection.
The renovations came as part of a $2.7 billion terminal renewal and improvement program that has also funded improvements at Terminal A, which were completed earlier this year, and at Terminal B, where work is expected to wrap up within six months.
The $2.7 billion price tag also includes the cost of renovating Terminal C, but the airport hasn’t started work on that building. Airport officials are currently discussing future development with airlines, including a possible new terminal, but no details or timelines have been revealed.
With terminal renovations winding down for now, Naja said airport officials are turning their attention to runways and taxiways that also haven’t seen a major overhaul in decades, a project that is likely to cost billions of dollars.