DFW Airport Is Reopening a Remote Parking Lot and It’s a Sign Air Travel Will Be Busy This Summer

March 1, 2022

DFW International Airport is reopening one of its economy parking lots to customers two years after it closed because of the sudden drop in traffic from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2,154-spot economy rate lot on the airport’s south side is scheduled to reopen May 1, just as the airport anticipates a huge spike in demand for the upcoming summer travel season.

“We are trying to give customers what they are asking for,” said the airport’s vice president of parking Dean Ahmad. “Through social media, through phone calls and emails, customers are asking for the remote lots to reopen because they want economy rates back.”

DFW Airport closed the two remote parking lots on its north and south sides in April 2020 to save money on buses and staffing the 18-acre surface lot. That’s when airport passenger traffic dropped by 94% with the onset of COVID-19 restrictions. Parking lots were so underutilized that the airport encouraged employees to park in the garage lots near the terminals, at least until there was a temporary parking crunch last summer and workers were pushed back to designated lots.

Now the airport is ready to reopen that remote south lot, the cheapest option at $10 a day for passengers compared to the $27 a day rate to park in the terminals.

“We’ve been allowing them to park in the garages for close to the same rate as the remote lots would be,” Ahmad said.

DFW has been charging as little as $10 a day for the express lots closer to the terminal and the same for customers using its app and prepaying for spots in the terminal garages. Those rates will continue for the time being until the airport feels more demand on its parking lots, Ahmad said.

Parking is a big deal for DFW Airport, bringing in $179 million during the 2019 fiscal year. Parking revenue was 40% lower for the recent fiscal year that ended in September, a $70 million reduction in revenue.

Demand for parking has been steadily climbing since last summer, Ahmad said, and the airport actually saw the number of vehicles in its lots surpass pre-pandemic levels during the recently completed holiday season.

Some of that may be because fewer airline passengers are using taxis and Uber services, possibly because of a shortage of drivers and partially because of socially distancing reasons, Ahmad said.

It will be a while before the airport is ready to bring back its larger remote lot on the north side of the airport, Ahmad said. Plans call for that parking lot to reopen sometime in 2023, although plans could accelerate if there is a sudden demand from customers, he said. That would open up another 2,600 spots, although that lot is usually less popular than the one on the south side, airport figures show.

But even with the remote lot reopening, Ahmad said there is plenty of space available in the airport’s 24,000-spot garages next to the terminals.

The remote lots will be coming back with some changes, though. No longer will there be an attendant at the toll booth collecting cash from customers. All payments for the lot will have to be made through the airport’s app, by credit card or with toll transponders. Cash isn’t an option anymore, which only about 2% of customers used anyway. The airport has also had the lot repaved.

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