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DFW Airport buys new system to help passengers find their parked cars

DFW Airport is buying a new mobile license plate inventory system to help keep track of cars in the terminal parking garages. Special/Brandon Wade
DFW Airport is buying a new mobile license plate inventory system to help keep track of cars in the terminal parking garages. Special/Brandon Wade Star-Telegram

After two weeks in Vietnam, Sam Coats was ready to get back to his North Texas home.

But when he got off his long flights back to DFW in 2013, Coats began to wander around the Terminal D parking garage because he couldn’t remember where he parked his car.

Coats, who is the chairman of the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport board, is not alone in hunting for his lost car in the airport garage. Over 5,000 reports were made last year at the airport of passengers searching for their lost cars.

So on Thursday, the airport board approved a resolution to spend $104,570 on a new mobile license plate inventory system that will help airport parking staff aid passengers who can’t remember what level they parked on.

The airport’s current system only takes inventory of the cars in airport lots three times a week and is very labor intensive. The new system, provided by Georgia-based firm Cintel, allows airport staff to drive through the garages and capture license plate numbers by video and with GPS location software.

The new system should be in place by the busy summer travel season.

“I think it will help people tremendously, especially guys like me,” Coats laughed after the board meeting, noting he did find his car with the help of an airport parking attendant.

Separately, the airport reported passenger traffic increased 9 percent in February, partly due to the additional leap year day. Good weather in February also led to fewer cancellations as airlines canceled less than 60 flights during the winter month, said John Ackerman, executive vice president of global strategy and development.

The airport board also terminated the lease of the Goodfellows Shoeshine Concessionaire for failing to staff its operations during business hours.

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