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Dallas-Fort Worth Airport Drops $1.2 Million on Premium Lounge Consultant

Aug 07, 2014 3:00 am

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You know leadership has no idea what to do when they drop money on consultants like this.

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American Airlines

A current Admiral's Club at Dallas-Fort Worth airport. American Airlines

Dallas/Fort Worth Airport may spend up to $1.2 million with a consultant to study whether to add a premium travel lounge for international travelers at Terminal D.

The contract, with L.E.K. Consulting, was approved Tuesday by the airport’s concessions committee but still needs the approval of the full board Thursday. The firm would study other international customer lounge offerings at global airports and evaluate possible partners to run a premium lounge at DFW.

“One of the things that comes through very clearly from the foreign flag carriers is while our current lounge offering is competitive from a domestic standpoint, it is absolutely not competitive from an international and global perspective,” Sean Donohue, DFW’s chief executive officer, said at the meeting. “We really absolutely have to step up our game.”

With new carriers from the Persian Gulf and Australia and new flights to Asia, the airport is serving more international first-class and business customers. And those numbers are expected to grow as Qantas Airways and Emirates Airline both add the double-decker A380 on routes into DFW this fall.

The airport’s current lounges are running close to capacity and do not have the same amenities available at other international airports, said Sharon McCloskey, the airport’s vice president of marketing.

Premium lounges at other global airports offer massage services, manicures and private sleeping areas. Emirates’ premium lounge at its hub airport in Dubai has a cigar bar and wine cellar.

Board member Bernice Washington questioned the cost of the contract, which also includes a section where L.E.K. will negotiate marketing agreements or airline partnerships if the airport chooses to add another premium lounge.

Donohue assured her that the initial forecast shows that a new lounge would be financially beneficial to the airport.

DFW Airport has several lounges in Terminal D that serve first-class and business passengers, but they are usually airline-specific, such as American Airlines’ Admirals Club near gate D24.

The airport currently has the Club at DFW that offers free food and beverages, shower facilities and Internet connectivity for a daily pass fee to travelers and the Centurion Lounge, available for American Express cardholders.

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