In airport news, Seattle is facing some growing pains; Chicago Midway embarks on a major renovation project; and Dallas/Ft. Worth will get a big new duty-free shopping area.
- That battle between Alaska Airlines and Delta at Seattle-Tacoma international — with both carriers regularly adding new routes — is generating lots of new passenger traffic for the airport. But according to an Associated Press report, the airport is becoming a victim of its own success. AP said that Seattle’s passengers numbers are up a whopping 13 percent year-over-year through June 2015, and the Transportation Security Administration has been adding more officers there, scrambling to keep up with the ever-longer lines. It noted that on one recent morning, passengers spent almost an hour waiting to go through the security check. The 1.5 million TSA screenings recorded in August 2014 are expected to jump to 1.7 million this month. Customs and Border Protection has also added more staffers at SEA, the article said, as the number of international passengers thus far in 2015 is running almost 16 percent higher than last year.
- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has unveiled plans for a $243 million makeover of the city’s close-in Midway Airport that should solve one of the facility’s biggest problems: a bottleneck at the security checkpoint. Officials said the redevelopment includes the creation of a new 80,000 square foot security hall. The plan also includes an expansion of the pedestrian bridge over Cicero Avenue and the addition of 20,000 square feet of new concession space — a 50 percent increase in room for passenger services. “Concessions areas, stores, and restaurants will be renovated; shopping, dining, lounge facilities, spa services, and medical services will be added,” a spokesman said. The city will start taking bids on the project in December, and work could begin next year.
- International travelers in Dallas/Ft. Worth International’s Terminal D will soon be seeing a big expansion of duty-free shopping options. The airport said it is working with a partnership called TRG Duty Free Joint Venture to develop six shopping locations in the international terminal, with a total of 20,000 square feet. The main store will extend over 13,0000 square feet on two levels, in the center of Terminal D between Gates D22 and D23. The new duty-free shops, which should all be ready by the end of next year, will sell major luxury brands including Ferragamo, Gucci, Dior, Chanel, Lancome and Burberry. “The new duty-free operation is part of the Airport’s overall plan for new premium retail, spa and food and beverage concessionaires in the first major update to the Terminal D concessions program since the terminal opened in 2005,” a spokesman said.
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