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flyPIT
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DTW 1983 airport master plan

Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:41 pm

I was looking through my collection of stuff and figured I'd share DTW's master plan from 1983 because I find it was quite an interesting plan that has no resemblance to today's McNamera Terminal.

Instead, the "South Terminal" plan of the time consisted of a simple landside terminal (ticketing/baggage claim) yet had a series of small airside satellite lounges connected by a convoluted series of underground passageways. It reminds me of the setup at GVA and CDG T1. The whole complex was to be connected to the existing terminals by an underground people mover train. I'd estimate each satellite could accommodate 6 wide bodies. The southern 9/27 was in the plans but not the 4th 3/21.

Click on the photos to enlarge:
Image
Image
Image

There were also plans to double the size of the Davey Terminal's head house and add a G concourse. I don't believe any of this was ever added.
Image
FLYi
 
NiMar
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Re: DTW 1983 airport master plan

Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:04 pm

Well I'm glad this one went nowhere. Ooof.
 
Prost
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Re: DTW 1983 airport master plan

Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:21 pm

G became the commuter terminal. I believe it was Mesaba then?
 
WA707atMSP
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Re: DTW 1983 airport master plan

Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:26 pm

Thank you for posting this - this is great!

It's surprising there wasn't a walkway from the proposed G Concourse to the international terminal; this would have made it easier for people making connections.

In the mid 1970s, there was a huge diorama of DTW's then-master plan on the wall next to the DL ticket counter in the L C Smith terminal. It had several MCI or DFW like terminals on the other side of 9/27 from the Smith terminal, with gates wrapped around hexagonal parking structures.

I'm glad that plan went nowhere, either.
 
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spinotter
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Re: DTW 1983 airport master plan

Fri Sep 13, 2019 7:11 pm

WA707atMSP wrote:
Thank you for posting this - this is great!

It's surprising there wasn't a walkway from the proposed G Concourse to the international terminal; this would have made it easier for people making connections.

In the mid 1970s, there was a huge diorama of DTW's then-master plan on the wall next to the DL ticket counter in the L C Smith terminal. It had several MCI or DFW like terminals on the other side of 9/27 from the Smith terminal, with gates wrapped around hexagonal parking structures.

I'm glad that plan went nowhere, either.


I'm sure that many of you remember the overcrowded Davey terminal once NW took over RC., especially the banjo in concourse F, which accommodated at least 1 and maybe 2 747's. Talk about an overcrowded terminal. The McNamara Terminal , and then the North Terminnal, made DTW into a reasonable hub for NW/DL.

https://elayover.com/reframe.html?https://elayover.com/detroit.html
 
drdisque
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Re: DTW 1983 airport master plan

Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:07 pm

G was built first as a temporary bus terminal for hard stand NW Airlink aircraft and then later (~1996) a more substantial concourse G was built along with a dedicated International Northwest check-in area off the North end of the Davey terminal (this was an addition to the terminal headhouse, but I don't believe it was as large as in the 1983 plan).

The original "South Terminal" plan is indeed bizarre. It seems to have been predicated on the idea that there would become more and more airlines. It looks like a concept they just threw out there knowing it wouldn't stick. Perhaps its virtue is its modularity. Once you build the headhouse, you in theory could open satellites individually as needed. The first satellites could even open prior to the South Headhouse if construction of the people mover was prioritized and early users of the satellites could, in theory, use Smith or Davey for check in.

The problem with this plan is that it of course had zero provisions for commuter aircraft and later, regional jets.

However, as NW started to take over the airport, the opposite was the case. Using satellites to expand NW's gate holdings would have been completely impractical as the proposed connection to the Smith & Davey corridor was already incredibly crowded.
 
PSU.DTW.SCE
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Re: DTW 1983 airport master plan

Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:31 pm

Thank goodness this didn't actually get in built in this manner. The design is highly reflective of airport and passenger terminal designs of the early-1980s. This was really before the full-scale development of the hub and spoke model, prior to large-scale connecting complexes.
This airport design would have become functionally obsolete within 10 years and been very constrained from an expansion standpoint.
We are fortunate we didn't get stuck with some back mid-80s airport with dedicated banjo-style concourses.

There are a few elements in the plan that were actually incorporated into what we now have today;
- South access road
- 9R/27L, which by 1983 may have already been in the design process since it opened in 1993
- The location of the new terminal complex where the McNamera stands today, was indicates the Midfield Terminal concept was already been floated in the early-80s
 
MIflyer12
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Re: DTW 1983 airport master plan

Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:17 pm

WA707atMSP wrote:

It's surprising there wasn't a walkway from the proposed G Concourse to the international terminal; this would have made it easier for people making connections.


I don't really know the distance between end of G and the International terminal, but passengers using the Intl Terminal probably were O&D traffic (on BA and Pan Am?), not connecting.
 
dtremit
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Re: DTW 1983 airport master plan

Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:26 am

PSU.DTW.SCE wrote:
There are a few elements in the plan that were actually incorporated into what we now have today;
- South access road
- 9R/27L, which by 1983 may have already been in the design process since it opened in 1993
- The location of the new terminal complex where the McNamera stands today, was indicates the Midfield Terminal concept was already been floated in the early-80s


It strikes me that in some ways, this plan is actually the opposite of what DTW ultimately ended up with. it seems to assume that the large hub carrier (at the time, RC, presumably) would stay in the existing, larger North infrastructure, and that other airlines would use the new, South infrastructure.

The midfield satellites in this plan aren't that far off in scale from the new North terminal, really.
 
WA707atMSP
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Re: DTW 1983 airport master plan

Sat Sep 14, 2019 9:43 am

Although some people here criticize DTW's management, the Wayne County Road Commission showed a LOT of foresight by buying the land during / after World War II, and holding onto it for many years rather than selling it. It would have been far more expensive and time consuming to claim the land via eminent domain and clear the structures on it when the South Terminal complex was finally built if it hadn't been owned by Wayne County.

DTW is also very lucky that the land south and west of the airport is still largely undeveloped, too. Had there been lots of housing and offices south of Eureka Road when the South Terminal was proposed, residents of that area could have delayed construction of the terminal for many years through lawsuits.

DTW is fortunate that it is one of the few major airports in the world that's (1) had scheduled service for 65 years, but (2) has almost no development on two sides of its property and relatively little development on the other two sides, giving the airport management the freedom to expand the airport without serious noise or environmental concerns.
 
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southwest1675
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Re: DTW 1983 airport master plan

Sat Sep 14, 2019 2:54 pm

I love DTW’s current design.
Herb Kelleher 1931-2019
 
klm617
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Re: DTW 1983 airport master plan

Sat Sep 14, 2019 11:08 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
WA707atMSP wrote:

It's surprising there wasn't a walkway from the proposed G Concourse to the international terminal; this would have made it easier for people making connections.


I don't really know the distance between end of G and the International terminal, but passengers using the Intl Terminal probably were O&D traffic (on BA and Pan Am?), not connecting.


When Northwest started building up is international presence at DTW it ran an exclusive bus service between the Berry terminal and the Davey terminal for those passengers who were connecting from International to domestic flights..
the truth does matter, guys. too bad it's often quite subjective. the truth is beyond the mere facts and figures. it's beyond good and bad, right and wrong...
 
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chunhimlai
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Re: DTW 1983 airport master plan

Sun Sep 15, 2019 3:23 pm

It is masterplan for 1983’s DTW or masterplan of DTW published in 1983

Thats would be great difference since the first one would be published in late 1960s-early 1970s
 
WA707atMSP
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Re: DTW 1983 airport master plan

Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:17 pm

chunhimlai wrote:
It is masterplan for 1983’s DTW or masterplan of DTW published in 1983

Thats would be great difference since the first one would be published in late 1960s-early 1970s


Masterplan of DTW published in 1983.

I mentioned up thread what the late 1960s plan for DTW looked like: a south terminal similar to DFW or MCI, with parking decks encircled by gates. A large diorama of this version of the plan was located on the wall next to the DL ticket counter in the mid 1970s.
 
klm617
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Re: DTW 1983 airport master plan

Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:09 pm

WA707atMSP wrote:
chunhimlai wrote:
It is masterplan for 1983’s DTW or masterplan of DTW published in 1983

Thats would be great difference since the first one would be published in late 1960s-early 1970s


Masterplan of DTW published in 1983.

I mentioned up thread what the late 1960s plan for DTW looked like: a south terminal similar to DFW or MCI, with parking decks encircled by gates. A large diorama of this version of the plan was located on the wall next to the DL ticket counter in the mid 1970s.


I remember that diorama hanging on the wall. I was always fascinated by it I think I have a picture of it some where but not 100% sure.
the truth does matter, guys. too bad it's often quite subjective. the truth is beyond the mere facts and figures. it's beyond good and bad, right and wrong...
 
SmokinL1011
Posts: 130
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Re: DTW 1983 airport master plan

Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:59 pm

I remember it too. It was interactive with lights illuminating the corresponding areas of whatever button you pushed. Have never been able to find a photo of it anywhere!
 
Kuroki
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Re: DTW 1983 airport master plan

Mon Sep 16, 2019 4:11 am

spinotter wrote:
I'm sure that many of you remember the overcrowded Davey terminal once NW took over RC., especially the banjo in concourse F, which accommodated at least 1 and maybe 2 747's. Talk about an overcrowded terminal. The McNamara Terminal , and then the North Terminnal, made DTW into a reasonable hub for NW/DL.

https://elayover.com/reframe.html?https://elayover.com/detroit.html


I remember being at DTW once in the late 90s and Northwest had as many as three 747-400s simultaneously parked at concourse F, with the Beijing flight at F14, one of the Narita flights at F12, and either the Osaka Kansai or Nagoya flight at F10.


PSU.DTW.SCE wrote:
Thank goodness this didn't actually get in built in this manner. The design is highly reflective of airport and passenger terminal designs of the early-1980s. This was really before the full-scale development of the hub and spoke model, prior to large-scale connecting complexes.
This airport design would have become functionally obsolete within 10 years and been very constrained from an expansion standpoint.
We are fortunate we didn't get stuck with some back mid-80s airport with dedicated banjo-style concourses.

There are a few elements in the plan that were actually incorporated into what we now have today;
- South access road
- 9R/27L, which by 1983 may have already been in the design process since it opened in 1993
- The location of the new terminal complex where the McNamera stands today, was indicates the Midfield Terminal concept was already been floated in the early-80s


This is going slightly off-topic, but I remember there was a plan in the mid-late 80s to build a new terminal. How did this compares in size and design to McNamera?

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