DFW Airport is Expanding

Yesterday, American Airlines and DFW Airport announced the signing of a new, ten year Use and Lease agreement, which lays the groundwork for the expansion of American’s largest hub. Many major improvements are included as part of this agreement including a renovation of Terminal C, the addition of more gates to Terminals A and C, and the construction of the long anticipated Terminal F. All of this is included in the $4.8 billion worth of pre-approved capital expenditures.

The project is split into two major parts. $2.72 billion is estimated for the remodel of Terminal C and the gate expansions for both Terminal A and C, where the bulk of American’s mainline domestic operation is housed. $1.63 billion is estimated to construct the new Terminal F

Remodel and Gate Expansion

Though it isn’t the most exciting part of this project, the Terminal C remodel is the one that is the most overdue. The terminal hasn’t seen much in the way of improvements in the last 50 years though the “temporary” part of the Terminal was finally upgraded last year. If this is the experience that is coming to the rest of Terminal C, it’ll be a big win for travelers.

Also in the announcement was something I found to be relatively unexpected. Additional finger piers, similar to what currently exists in Terminal B, but for larger planes, will be added to both Terminal A and C. These piers are expected to add 24 new gates to the airport to allow American and DFW to prepare for more long term growth. The renderings look pretty neat but it will definitely be a departure from the semicircle terminals that the airport is known for.

DFW Airport Terminal C Proposed Expansion

Construction of Terminal F

In what shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, as part of the new agreement, construction of Terminal F has been approved. However, I was surprised by the rendering that was released for a couple of reasons.

First of all, the new terminal is expected to be a linear, 15 gate concourse and aircraft will be able to park on both sides of the terminal. Because of this, there is no way to build a walkway connecting the new, low D gates to the terminal which will make Terminal F the second terminal at DFW that can only be reached post-security by using the Skylink train (The other being Terminal E).

DFW Airport Terminal F Rendering

The most shocking part of the entire announcement isn’t what is being added, it is what was left out. If you look closely at the rendering for Terminal F you’ll notice that there is no landside access, something which DFW has had at all of their terminals since its inception. Instead, there is just a station and a walkway connecting the Skylink train to the terminal. Presumably, with Terminal D being the closest terminal that has landside access, arriving and departing passengers would need to use it for check-in and baggage claim. This could significantly add to the time from curb to gate, and vice versa. I’m also interested to see if there will be some sort of bus operation as there will be no way to access Terminal F should the Skylink break down, which does happen from time to time.


As a former Dallas resident and someone who still frequently flies in and out of DFW I’m happy to see the expansion, though I’m left scratching my head at the plans for Terminal F. In all likelihood the budget wasn’t available to connect Terminal F landside and, at over $100 million per gate, it still won’t be cheap. Hopefully the picture becomes more clear as the project gets underway and closer to completion.

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