Airport officials have moved Spirit to the Terminal E satellite gates, abandoned by Delta Air Lines when it scaled back its North Texas hub, as DFW begins major renovations of Terminal E as part of its ongoing $1.9 billion renovation project. US Airways flights will be moved to the satellite terminal early next year.
Work will be done on about one-third of Terminal E's 38 gates at a time, as is being done at Terminals A and B, with the displaced airlines moving to the satellite terminal.
"This is going to be our empty chair for the next three to four years," said David Magana, an airport spokesman.
Passengers taking flights from the satellite terminal will need a few extra minutes to get to their gates after going through security, since they have to walk a couple of hundred yards underground from the main terminal. Moving walkways traverse the tunnel each way.
Passengers will board the planes via jet bridges, which will be the newest available and include air conditioning.
Three food concessions are open in the satellite terminal, and others will join them. Magana said seven of the nine gates are ready and two others are being prepared.
The waiting areas have been cleaned and upgraded. There are even pay telephones.
The satellite terminal was added in 1988 for Delta, which at the time was using DFW as a major hub and needed the extra gates. In later years, Delta used the facility for regional jets before reducing its Dallas-Fort Worth service in 2005.
Delta and Continental also use Terminal E and will take turns shifting to the satellite terminal as their portion of the main terminal is renovated.
Magana said the satellite terminal had been used only once since 2005.
It was set up briefly in 2009 to house federal workers from New Orleans escaping the path of Hurricane Ida.
Cots were set up and services were available for the government employees, most of whom were on site only a day or two and never left the terminal.