Terminal D at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport features 25 works of art, including Louise by Linda and Ed Blackburn. The stone art piece is in the departure-level concourse of the new terminal, which is set to open in July.
Members of the international media gather in the southeast ticket hall of Terminal D at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport on Saturday.
The friendly female voice, kind of a soft boom, fills the still-vacant gate areas of Terminal D: "Welcome to Dallas-Fort Worth ..."
A system in the building senses the quiet -- there are no passengers yet -- and adjusts the voice to a lower decibel level. On July 6, when the first international flights push off at Terminal D, the building will adjust the voice to just above the ambient noise. On July 9, when American Airlines starts operations here, the terminal should be bustling and the voice will be louder still.
About 30 members of the international media -- from 13 different countries, mostly representing travel trades -- walk through the ticket hall, immigration area, the north concession village. Saturday's visit is their first glimpse inside Terminal D.
It's still two months from opening day.
All but one of the concessions spaces is expected to be leased by late May, says John White, D/FW's vice president of procurement. But there is much to be done. Many spaces are blank walls and empty electrical outlets.
"We'll make it," concessionaire Gilbert Aranza says in a reassuring tone.
A European journalist asks an airport worker why, in a country where so many people speak Spanish, there are only English-language signs. The airport worker points to the universal symbols on the signs.
"Everybody understands that," the worker says.
On the sign, a figure of a man, an officer of some kind, is holding what looks like a large, three-pointed leaf.
At 2.1 million square feet, the sheer space inspires awe.
Yes, an Airbus A-380 could land here.
Yes, the immigration hall has dozens of lanes.
Yes, there's a Grand Hyatt hotel in the works.
And the longest, fastest airport train in the world.
And giant, saillike canopies between the terminal and the parking garage.
And a collection of Texas-size, Texas-themed works of art.
"It's an attractive space that should make life easier for British travelers," London-based free-lance writer Richard Gilbert says.
The international reporters sit for a barbecue lunch in one of the future stations for the new airport train. (Yes, that's cuatro leches cake from La Duni for dessert. Yes, they'll be one of the concessionaires when Terminal D opens.)
International travel is the best hope for D/FW's future growth, airport officials say. It is an often-repeated theme. Gerard Arpey, chairman and chief executive of AMR Corp. -- parent of American and American Eagle -- says he would like to see a D/FW-China passenger connection some day.
This new terminal will be a fitting place for the international traveler to come and to feel welcome in the United States.
No sputtering-green-hued-government-light-stodgy ambience here. The lights are soft. The wooden panels on the ceiling point toward the gates. The friendly, female voice fills the gate areas with a kind of soft boom.
IN THE KNOW
The terminal opens with international flights July 6. American Airlines begins operations July 9. It took 12,500 tons of steel and 920,000 tons of concrete to construct -- enough concrete for a sidewalk going from D/FW to beyond Montreal.
Customer amenities include:
- 99 ticketing positions
- 23 to 29 gates, depending on the size of aircraft handled
- Two 40,000-square-foot concessions villages
- Two children's play areas
- 58 concession spaces
- 25 works of art
- Three security checkpoints with a total of 14 passenger lanes
- A three-level road system for service, arrival and departure
- An 8,100-space garage