I always felt a bit sorry for folks who live there and have to use DFW as their primary airport.
DFW works better as an O&D airport than as a connecting airport -- but it's not 1974 anymore, and O&D is not the primary purpose.
But at the scale of DFW, the idea of optimizing for O&D traffic was absurd even in the late 1960's when it was designed. The D-FW area of 1974 had nowhere near today's population to support O&D. What were they thinking when they put no provision for centralized security checkpoints in their designs. Yes security screenings were not required till 1973, but skyjackings were already a problem in the 1960's when it was designed. Security screening was already being talked about.
This discussion has been had before. A brief timeline of events regarding airport security is below. Between '70 & '74, airlines and/or airports assumed responsibility on an individualized basis by implementing screening at the gate. But those efforts were piecemeal and without a formal funding mechanism. As such, those costs were either being absorbed on the P & Ls of participating air carriers, or fiscal budgets of airport authorities.
-The Nixon administration created the Task Force on Deterrence of Air Piracy in early '69.
-FAA issued an emergency order in late '72 (to be effective Jan' 73) that required screening of passengers and carry-on baggage. There were other ramifications of the order. However, a shortage of metal detectors delayed the full implementation of the "centralized" (air quotes because the formal federal mandate moved screening from the gates) checkpoint concept. Physical searches of bags and/or persons was still common practice going into '74.
-Nixon signed into law on August 5th 1974 the Antihijacking Act of 1974. By that time, screening with metal detectors was established at all what now are known as Category X airports.
With regard to "centralized" (and my assumption here is you're referencing the large physical footprint that screening occupies in the current) checkpoints, the planning horizon at DFW could not (and did not) forecast an upswing in traffic, the creation of fortress hubs, and whatnot, resulting from deregulation. Sure, foment for action on that front began as early as '75. But the formal effort to pass legislation deregulating the industry didn't begin until '76.
With the planning having begun in the mid-60s', the models could not have envisioned such material changes to the operating environment. Yes, the hijacking phenomenon was documented well into the early 60s. However, lacking a formal mandate, there was no impetus to go beyond what was mandated at that time.
Last edited by aaway
on Tue Apr 21, 2020 8:50 am, edited 1 time in total.