03:22 AM

DFW Airport Hosts First Ever Facilities Management Conference Of Industry Executives

New Standards To Build, Maintain New Terminals & Major Construction Projects Is The Goal

DFW INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Texas (Feb. 23, 2004) – Skyscrapers and schools have them. So do hospitals and shopping malls. But in the airport business, there are no consistent benchmarks for airline terminals, no performance data for multi-billion dollar facilities and infrastructure construction projects built for millions of travelers.

DFW International Airport is leading the industry to make that change.

The Airport, in partnership with the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), will host the first-ever Airport Facilities Council for airport and airline executives March 25-26 with the goal of establishing industry-wide standards to measure and benchmark airport facility performance, and ultimately the potential development of industry facility design, operations and maintenance protocols. Executives from major U.S., Canadian and European airports are expected to attend.

"What we are all trying to do is make our facilities and our maintenance of them more cost effective, while providing the best customer experience we can," said Jim Crites, executive vice president of operations at DFW Airport, whose management staff will host the meeting. "Airport facilities must be operated in a way to exceed customer service expectations: they must be cleaner, more comfortable, and have all the latest customer amenities. If we can begin to define airport facilities standards that architects, consultants, contractors and airport managers can use as a guide of "how to" in design, it will indeed enhance the passenger experience at airports around the globe."

DFW will convene the meeting in the heart of its $2.7 billion Capital Development Program, which includes opening the new International Terminal D, new SkyLink automated people mover system, and enhancements to the Central Utility Plant all in 2005. The terminal itself adds 2.1 million square feet of space to the Airport’s Central Terminal Area, while the SkyLink project includes a 110,000 square foot Maintenance Storage Facility to support the 12 SkyLink stations. Construction of the first airport Grand Hyatt Hotel is also under way and is incorporated into the Terminal D structure. The Grand Hyatt is a 12 story, 298-room facility that includes 17,100 square feet of ballroom space. Industry leaders will see first-hand how DFW is using innovative benchmarking and performance standards in these three projects. The Airport is working closely with the International Facilities Maintenance Association to facilitate this industry-first forum. An Airport's unique uses as well as tough safety and security standards make industry benchmarks and protocols even more critical almost three years after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

"For years, we've studied standards for what it takes to operate or construct a shopping mall or high-rise office tower, but an airport terminal, cannot be compared to any other facility," says Rusty Hodapp, DFW Airport’s Managing Director of Capital Development Program Facility Transition. "Airport terminals have higher transient population densities, a mix of retail shopping, hotel and restaurant uses, and security measures unlike other commercial facilities. These differences translate into significant differences in operations and maintenance, design and construction requirements to keep passengers safe, secure and comfortable with using airports."

And an airport's bottom line budget is also affected. The operations and maintenance budget for airport facilities constitutes a significant portion of an airport's overall annual budget. Professional facility management associations supporting the commercial and retail industries are readily available, however, there are no industry-wide airport facility benchmarks to enable facility managers or airport executives to assess where budget improvements -- or savings -- can be made.

"This is the first step in a process, but we can see the need and desire of airport and airline facility experts to join forces for the betterment of the aviation industry and the traveling public," said Robert Barker, Council President and Vice President of Energy & Asset Management at DFW. "The Council will potentially improve the overall design and maintenance of these facilities to make the traveling public safer and more comfortable at all airports - while simultaneously reducing the cost of maintaining these facilities. Reduced maintenance costs affect air travel cost since our budgets are indirectly paid for by air travelers.” 

There is no fee to attend the inaugural meeting. For more information contact DFW Airport at 972 574 6715, or visit the International Facility Association Airport Facilities Council web site at www.ifma.org

To arrange interviews contact DFW Public Affairs at 972-574-NEWS (6397) or Ken Capps, Vice President Public Affairs, kcapps@dfwairport.com.