The Geography of Transport Systems
Jean-Paul Rodrigue (2013), New York: Routledge, 416 pages.
ISBN 978-0-415-82254-1
Mega Airport Projects
Author: Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue
1. Dallas / Fort Worth
The Dallas / Fort Worth (DFW) airport is the seventh largest airport in the world in terms of passenger traffic. Opened in 1974, it represents a pertinent example of a major international airport terminal project located in a new site. It is located halfway between two important urban agglomerations, about 28 km of the respective city centers of Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas. The DFW airport therefore benefits from the air traffic generated by these two cities.
Since 1980, the total passenger traffic has grown by 173% with an average annual growth rate of approximately 10%. Cargo transportation has also become an increasingly important facet of DFW and has seen a growth of 220% since 1980 with an annual growth rate of 13%. NAFTA, with nearby Mexico, has been partly responsible for this strong growth in cargo traffic and has also contributed to a growth of 94% of international traffic since 1992.
DFW has had a consistently positive economic impact on the local economy in Texas, generating more than $9.7 billion annually and has created 185,000 jobs in the Dallas / Fort Worth area. Texas has a particularly competitive advantage in the airline industry due to its central location between the eastern and western coasts of the United States and because of its proximity to Latin America. It thus competes with Miami for this market. Every major city within the United States, Canada and Latin America is within four hours of the DFW International Airport. In fact, more than 60% of all the traffic at the airport is related to connecting flights going elsewhere.
DFW International Airport also dominates in the air transport employment sector largely due to its strategic role as a hub for two of the three largest air carriers in the United States, American Airlines and Delta Airlines.
DFW International Airport has an innovative airport layout that is capable of considerable expansion. A series of connected terminals in the form of half circles sets this airport apart from other large airports. An automatic train network links each terminal (2W, 2E, 3E, 4E) and the airport hotel. Each terminal functions independently from each other and offers similar services to its passengers. The current four terminals can accommodate up to 115 planes at one time.
Although DFW is a strong consumer of space, the airport design allows for future expansion with much larger traffic level. Many new airports designed in the 1970s had this expectation of very strong growth levels and secured land and developed infrastructure accordingly. There is in fact the possibility of adding five new terminals to the existing four, therefore increasing the total capacity to accommodate more than 120 million passengers annually. It was estimated that by 2010, 100 million passengers would transit through the airport. However, current traffic levels indicate that figures for 2010 may be well below half of what was expected. There was thus a large overestimation of the market potential of the airport.
2. Chek Lap Kok (Hong Kong)
3. Osaka