DFW Airport with Texas graphic

Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport is poised for major expansion in the coming years after the airport’s board approved a nearly $140 million expansion plan on August 5, 2021.

The plans specifically include a contract with the Holder, Carcon, and Source joint venture based in Addison, Texas, which comes to a provisional total of $139,725,000. According to the board resolution, the contract is intended to last 1,640 days. 

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The construction project will consist of nine new gates in the airport’s A and C terminals — five in Terminal A and four in Terminal C — and will also provide renovation on Terminal C, which hasn’t seen refurbishment since the 1970s.

The expansions will include work on security checkpoints and baggage claim areas, as well as providing an overhaul to Terminal C’s aesthetic. The renovation and addition of new piers in the terminals are expected to be ready for use by the end of 2026.

American Airlines, which will benefit most significantly from the new expansions, made its support of the project clear in a release at the time of the contract’s announcement. Airport officials noted that the expansion was designed with American in mind, and eventually, the airline will be paying the rent to fund the terminals’ new gates.

“American has worked closely with Dallas Fort Worth International Airport on plans for upcoming construction projects at Terminals A and C,” said American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller about the board’s decision. “This additional gate space will allow American to continue its same level of flying with minimal construction disruptions in the coming years, and it will enable us to grow at DFW over time.”

Previously, the airport had planned a new 24-gate Terminal F, which was intended to be the expansion that would significantly benefit American — but was postponed indefinitely by the COVID-19 pandemic. If work does eventually occur, the plans could add as many as 25 new gates to the airport.

“The Terminal C renovation project is separate from Terminal F,” clarified Dallas-Fort Worth International spokesman Bill Begley. “We still expect, depending on the pace of global aviation recovery, to proceed with Terminal F in the future.”

Though the pandemic had previously significantly disrupted some work on airports around the country — with planned expansions and new development held back by funding losses and supply shortages — these disruptions heavily impacted new plans rather than existing projects. Now, many previously planned (but not yet started) infrastructure projects are now being resumed as air travel has increased in 2021.

In fact, the pandemic has actually boosted certain sectors of airport construction when travel has waned. Delta Airlines accelerated terminal construction in Los Angeles, New York, and Salt Lake City, while Southwest Airlines opened a new concourse in Portland, Oregon in July 2020. 

Similar to these other projects, the major expansion plan is indicative of the significant work that Dallas-Fort Worth International is planning and has been trying to execute during the pandemic. A recent $160 million project added four gates to the airport’s terminal D and focused not only on expansion but also on the addition of significant new technology — like windows covered with “smart glass” which doubles as screens for flight information. 

Similar plans have been accelerated at other major airports in the country, as both existing projects and new plans have the opportunity to be put into motion.

An August 3, 2021, press release from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey had reached an agreement with private consortium JFK Millennium Partners on the construction of a new terminal at New York City’s JFK International Airport — a 1.2 million-square-foot project which is expected to cost $3.9 billion.

The new terminal’s development is expected to result in “4,000 direct jobs and direct payroll wages of $1.9 billion,” with completion intended for 2025. Additionally, the construction is projected to have a total economic impact coming to “nearly $2.8 billion in total wages and $6.3 billion in total economic activity.” 

Though the promise of new construction is tantalizing, it hasn’t kept contractors from running into problems. A $1.2 million dispute arose in March 2021 between Florida’s Collier County and contractor West Construction Inc. after a new airport terminal at Marco Island Executive Airport had its substantial completion delayed by over a year. Following this, West Construction submitted a motion to put the lawsuit on hold — alleging that Collier County made no attempt to “mediate this matter in good faith.”