Sky Talk

DFW Airport reports 8.7 percent increase in passengers for December

Dallas/Fort Worth Airport said it served 5.2 million passengers in December, up 8.7 percent compared to the same month last year.

But the growth is slightly misleading as the significant increase was mainly due to the major ice storm that hit the airport in December 2013 canceling thousands of flights over several days.

The number of international passengers continued to grow, up 13.8 percent for the month. With all three Persian Gulf carriers now flying out of DFW, the number of passengers going to the Middle East has jumped 122 percent. Europe, however, saw a decrease of 6.7 percent as more passengers heading to India and Africa are connecting through the Middle East instead of Europe.

“Origination and destination traffic to Europe is up but connecting is what’s down,” said chief financial officer Chris Poinsatte at the airport’s annual board meeting.

The airport also announced plans to lease out its headquarters building and two other office towers at the airport as it prepares to move into its new Southgate Plaza headquarters.

“We will now bring employees who are at 10 different sites into one consolidated headquarters,” said airport chief executive Sean Donohue about the opening of the Southgate Plaza headquarters building. Workers are expected to begin moving into the new building in March.

On Thursday, the airport board approved a 60-year lease agreement with Dallas-based Menyon Capital Partners who will manage the three properties and can sublease space to other companies. The lease agreements still need to be approved by the city councils of Dallas and Fort Worth.

DFW expects to generate over $1 million in annual revenue from the lease of the buildings and the adjacent parking lots. It will also receive an additional $1.6 million in annual revenue by retaining the existing leases for rooftop antennas and parking garage space, said John Terrell, vice president of commercial development for the airport.

The business center towers have 115,440 square feet of rentable space while the administration building has 73,155 square feet of rentable space. Menyon Capital also has the option to tear down the administration building and construct a new office complex if desired.

Separately, the board re-elected Lillie Biggins as its chairwoman, Sam Coats as vice chair and Francisco Hernandez as board secretary. Biggins, who is the president of Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital, has served on the board since 2005 and this is her second consecutive year as chairwoman.