DFW International Airport Dedicates Most Advanced Airport Operations Center in the World Post 9/11
Facility consolidates communication in one control center; expands mutual aid capabilities for DFW in North Texas and throughout the state
DFW INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (April 20, 2006) – With a CareFlight helicopter flying overhead and a fleet of first-responder vehicles lighting the way, DFW International Airport dedicated its new Airport and Emergency Operations Center today, enabling the world's third busiest airport to more efficiently and effectively respond to emergencies at the airport and around Texas. The new $12.4 million facility - the most advanced of any airport in the world - will be the center of daily operations at DFW, with the ability to manage day-to-day operations seamlessly for passengers and respond quickly in the case of an emergency with a more highly coordinated use of both Airport and mutual aid resources.
“DFW is a large and complex enterprise,” said Jan Collmer, DFW International Airport Board Chairman. “This new facility provides us with a unified Department of Public Safety, Airfield, Airport and Emergency Operations Center which will effectively manage daily operations as well as emergencies. This great new facility is now the communications heart of DFW with increased ability to coordinate the massive resources located on our grounds. The professionals located here will coordinate responses to public inquiries from our terminals, airfield maintenance calls, police and fire calls and the coordination of all emergency communications. If and when the Airport is called upon to activate its Emergency Operation Center again, as we have in the past for the space shuttle Columbia accident, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the West Texas wildfires, we’re more prepared than ever. Now, our capabilities to assist our owner cities, surrounding communities and the entire state are even greater.”
DFW has worked over its entire 32-year history to foster positive relationships and develop mutual aid agreements with communities across North Texas. The addition of the new facility will serve as an opportunity to bring together public safety leaders from around the region to further the Airport's efforts to build on the more than 100 mutual aid agreements already in place.
"DFW is always willing to step forward and assist our neighbors in case of emergency,” said Lillie Biggins, DFW International Airport Board Vice Chair. “DFW is a great example of cooperation between Fort Worth and Dallas and between the communities that it serves. After 9/11, it was very clear to everyone that public safety departments need to work more closely together to keep our communities safe. This new facility will serve not only DFW and millions of passengers, but millions of citizens who may never use the Airport. And we're very proud of that."
The facility will house more than two dozen personnel at any given time during the day, with as many as 84 in the building when the Emergency Operation Center is activated. The new 13,950 sq. ft. facility will house four primary operation areas including the Airport Operations Center consisting of 2,785 sq. ft., the Emergency Operations Center capable of seating 33 key staff in its 3,150 sq. ft., Airfield Operations comprising 980 sq. ft., and the 825 sq. ft. DPS dispatch area.
“Integrating the business processes of all of our operations departments has greatly enhanced every aspect of the services we offer to the traveling public and streamlined our emergency response efforts,” said Jim Crites, executive vice president of operations at DFW. “We worked very hard with our FAA counterparts and appreciate all of their help and expertise. The FAA ultimately granted DFW $3.8 million in funding to help build this great facility. What’s more airports are calling me saying they want a consolidated facility for themselves. This will be a great model for our partners across aviation.”
The new Airport Operations Center will be busy the moment it opens today, monitoring more than 10,000 radio transmissions weekly, equivalent to one transmission per minute. The facility will also manages an average of 15 aircraft alerts per month, as well as monitoring terminal paging systems, satellite television and radio, the fire alarm system, airfield lighting systems, closed circuit television, the Storm Sentry Weather Radar system and 1,685 daily phone calls.