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DFW International Airport Expects Busiest Thanksgiving Travel Period Post 9/11, One Of Best In History

Low Fares, New International Destinations Bring Increased Passenger Traffic; Holiday Helpers Distribute Krispy Kremes, Starbucks & Pepsi

(DFW INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, November 24, 2004) - DFW International Airport projects over 2.2 million passengers will pass through the Airport during the busy Thanksgiving Day travel period. The figures are expected to exceed the 2003 figure by 3.5%, and represent the busiest Thanksgiving travel period ever at DFW, exceeding passenger levels seen prior to the events of 9/11.

Last year, DFW Airport hosted 2.1 million travelers during the Thanksgiving travel period, which runs from the Thursday before Thanksgiving to the Tuesday after, a period of 13 days. This year’s forecast is predicting an increase of 75,000 passengers over 2003.

“We are very pleased to be back to pre-9/11 levels, and it's clear to us that our low-fare carriers are stimulating new traffic in the market while American Airlines is adding more flights at lower fares, "says Joe Lopano, executive vice president of marketing and terminal management at DFW. "While DFW will be very busy over the next few days, our hospitality and our Holiday Helpers will make the travel experience fun and enjoyable. It's a proud tradition post-9/11 that our passengers really appreciate."

The increases in passenger traffic are due in part to the steady growth of low-fare carriers and increased flight options at DFW in the past year. AirTran Airways has seen consistent growth over the past year, adding flights to Los Angeles, Baltimore and Las Vegas, and adding service to Orlando in December. Also contributing to the strong growth are new international destination cities added this year by American Airlines, including Torreon and Ixtapa, Mexico, and Nassau, Bahamas. American has also increased service to Buenos Aires, Argentina from three flights a week to daily service. 

Once again this year, DFW’s Holiday Helpers will spend time during the holiday travel period assisting passengers in the Airport’s terminals. The Holiday Helpers program, created following the events of 9/11, is made up of DFW volunteer employees who distribute thank you gifts to travelers during busy holiday travel periods. This year, Holiday Helpers will give away free goodies including Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Starbucks coffee, Pepsi drink samples and T-Mobile wi-fi day passes.

Adding to the festivities will be DFW’s entertainers, including live music from the local band “Crawfish” as well as actors in Pilgrim and Turkey costumes. The festive atmosphere will carry over to Terminal B at mid-morning for the arrival of the daily R&R flight from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. The Pilgrims and Turkey will also marshal in a flight to one of DFW’s terminals.

"Thanksgiving may be the first time in a year that many of our guests are flying out to see family and friends so we think it is important to keep that trip as stress-free as possible," says Jeff Fegan, CEO of DFW Airport. "We also urge all of our guests to pack lightly, keep their carry-on luggage to a minimum to keep checkpoint lines moving and check www.dfwairport.com for the latest parking and flight information.”

Even though the Airport typically has short security lines, DFW reminds passengers to arrive in plenty of time. The best recommendation for the busy travel weekend is to arrive at least 90 minutes before your departure time in order to park, obtain boarding passes and clear security checkpoints. A DFW Airport survey completed this fall shows the Airport receives a high degree of passenger satisfaction for its security lines. The survey showed 86% of all DFW passengers experienced a security check-in time of 10 minutes or less. Another 58% rated their security check-in process better at DFW than other domestic airports.

For those looking to park at the Airport, DFW has more than 27,000 parking spaces, and they will begin filling quickly today, beginning with Remote Parking. The Airport is assisting holiday parkers by offering a $3 daily discount coupon for Terminal Parking to any driver who finds a Remote or Express Lot full. That means that DFW's closest parking is just $13 per day. 

The Thanksgiving Day holiday weekend traditionally marks the busiest travel weekend of the year, with the Wednesday before and the Sunday and Monday after Thanksgiving as the heaviest travel days of the year. This year is no different, with some airlines at DFW reporting passenger loads above 95% for most flights on those days. A typical weekday will see most flights with passenger loads of 60 to 70%.

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