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New Detroit Airport Options Hold Promise

9 January 2001

Anyone who has regularly flown out of the over-crowded Detroit Metropolitan Airport in recent years has walked away from the experience with negative feelings. The antiquated congested concourses of the airport have very few amenities, and the layout frequently requires long, hurried walks to make travel connections. As one of several "hubs" for Northwest Airlines, Detroit Metro Airport has gained a reputation in recent years as an aging dinosaur created in a different era. Even with little room to expand, the concourses still grew in number and length over the years turning the normal "jog" travelers experience in making connections at most airports into a wind sprint.

The problems with the airport, in part, are a reflection of the success of this region. The existing facilities were designed with the intent of handling only a few million passengers per year. On average, over 30 million people have been traveling through the airport in recent years.

The good news is that a solution is on the way. By mid-December 2001, airport officials promise that a new $1.2 billion state-of-the-art terminal facility will be open to serve Northwest customers. The new "Midfield Terminal" will house a spacious ticketing area, 97 gates, 80 shops and restaurants, an 11,000 space parking garage and over two million square feet of spacious comfort.

The Midfield Terminal will feature an automated people mover and moving walkways to help quickly transport passengers. The Express Tram system will transport passengers from one end of the mile-long terminal to the other in approximately four minutes. Airport officials have promised that the terminal will have "high arched ceilings, open spaces, large hold rooms and diverse retail concessions" which "will make the Detroit Midfield Terminal the showcase hub for Northwest Airlines and a world class gateway to Detroit and Michigan."

All of this is terrific news for the Detroit casino market and the Detroit Convention and Tourism Bureau. First impressions are critically important, and for many travelers, the only exposure they have had to Detroit is a brief, non-exciting layover at Detroit Metro. A brand new state-of-the-art facility will send the message that Detroit is back as a great place to visit or do business.

With the three new casinos, the new retail facilities in the works, the two new stadia and the new airport terminal, by next year's Auto Show, the talk of the town is certain to be the town itself.

David Waddell
David Waddell is an attorney for Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C. (RMC), which assists businesses in navigating the legislative, regulatory and licensing systems governing Michigan’s commercial and tribal casino industries. He is the co-author of The State of Michigan Gaming Law Legal Resource Book and one of the founders of The Michigan Gaming Newsletter.

David Waddell Websites:

www.michigangaming.com
David Waddell
David Waddell is an attorney for Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C. (RMC), which assists businesses in navigating the legislative, regulatory and licensing systems governing Michigan’s commercial and tribal casino industries. He is the co-author of The State of Michigan Gaming Law Legal Resource Book and one of the founders of The Michigan Gaming Newsletter.

David Waddell Websites:

www.michigangaming.com