It’s a bad time to be in the aviation business. The ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic and associated recession are hammering air travel from both sides, leading to construction slowdowns and delays as it’s predicted business won’t return to pre-COVID levels until 2023. Even the largest of ongoing airport expansions and overhauls haven’t proved immune.
Now we can add another casualty to the list: The $3 billion Terminal F project at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), located between its two namesake cities in Texas, has reportedly been suspended indefinitely. The project would have brought up to 24 new gates to the airport and was expected to have opened in 2025. Before the COVID crisis, the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport was a major hub for travelers in the region, handling approximately 75 million passengers in 2019; that number is expected to fall to 45 million this year. By volume, the DFW Airport is the fourth-busiest air hub in the United States.
Major airport terminals are currently sitting empty around the world, driving out businesses who have seen foot traffic grind to a halt even in marquee projects such as Singapore’s Changi Airport, a Safdie Architects-designed toroidal jewel.
Still, even though the DFW Airport was, according to CEO Sean Donohue, the busiest in the world in July with about 12,500 daily passengers (down from 200,000 before March), the decrease in use has rendered the extra terminal unnecessary. The airport isn’t expecting traffic to rebound after Labor Day, and revenues are being further hampered by extra cleaning costs and virtual guidance being offered to travelers.
Terminal F was first announced in May of 2019 and was expected to hold an expansive new food hall, although no architect or final design had been announced by the time the coronavirus pandemic really kicked into high gear stateside.