12:21 PM

DFW International Airport Expects 3.2 Million Passengers During Christmas / New Year's Travel

Holiday Helpers Commemorate International Terminal D Opening with "Happy Holidays Around the World" Celebration

(DFW International Airport, December 22, 2004) DFW International Airport expects 3.2 million passengers through Monday January 3, a strong finish to the year despite the decreasing flight activity of Delta Air Lines. There is no shortage of yuletide cheer in DFW's four terminals today, as the Airport's world-recognized Holiday Helpers commemorate the opening of International Terminal D by hosting "Happy Holidays From Around the World" for travelers on one of the busiest travel days of the season.

"Just as children count down the days to Christmas, we are counting down the days until Terminal D opens and holiday travel will be forever changed at DFW," says Jeff Fegan, CEO of DFW. "With the combination of the new Skylink people mover system opening in the spring, and the new Grand Hyatt inside the new terminal opening next summer, our Airport is poised to be a new premiere international gateway for the U.S. further strengthening the world reach of North Texas and boosting the local economy."

Nearly 100 Holiday Helpers, Airport Ambassadors and entertainers have fanned out across DFW today, serving up "Happy Holidays" greetings in multiple languages, performing music from around the world and distributing goody bags of small toys and travel items for children and families. Holiday Helpers are DFW employees who leave their regular jobs to assist in the terminals during busy holiday travel days. The tradition was born after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and has become a popular program with volunteers and passengers.

The current holiday travel period, which began December 17, is forecast to equal or slightly exceed the strong Christmas-New Year's period of 2003-2004. During that time, the Airport recorded its best post 9/11 December -January holiday figures, handling 3.25 million passengers. 

However, the reduction of Delta's flight activity, which will go from 254 flights per day to less than 25 by the end of January, is having a significant impact.

"First and foremost, our hearts go out to the 3000-plus Delta employees and their families who are losing a job, and the thousands of other North Texans who are also losing a livelihood as a result of the airline's decision to scale back," says Ken Capps, vice president of public affairs at DFW. "You can rest assured that DFW will continue working hard to bring in another strong, low-fare carrier to fill the gap."

Santa made a special visit to the Delta ticket counter today, as well as marshaling in today's charter military flight from Iraq and Afghanistan. DFW concessionaires also got into the spirit by sharing a taste of the holidays with complimentary Starbucks Coffee delivered by HMS Host/DFW Joint Venture, and Pepsi distributing drink samples. TMobile is giving away passes for 30 days of free wireless Internet service. And Krispy Kreme is providing more than 200 dozen doughnuts to passengers and returning soldiers in the spirit of the Holiday Helper program.

"We are truly pleased to assist DFW with this important community service project on one of the busiest travel days of the entire year, "says Frank Howell, General Manager of HMS Host/DFW Joint Venture. "We know many families will be headed out today, and we think a good hot cup of Starbucks coffee will help moms and dads get everyone to their destination a little easier. All of us who participate in Holiday Helpers know we have something very special here and are glad to make the effort."

Editors: To arrange interviews, contact Ken Capps, Vice President, Public Affairs at 972-574-8080 or kcapps@dfwairport.com.