Analysis and Evaluation of the Dallas/Fort Worth (D/FW) International Airport

Introduction

Dallas/Fort Worth (D/FW) International Airport is situated in between Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas. Besides, this location exists within the Texas Metroplex. In the current time, the airport is ranked fourth and eighth in the world in relation to operation and passengers respectively. As such, the airport remains a vital and remarkable critical infrastructure in the universe. As a state, Texas is fortunate to possess such an asset within its backyard. Currently, this airport has 155 gates, seven runways and flights, which are destined to locations that exceed 199. In addition, twenty airlines of passengers are represented. The estimated number of employees that the airport has is 60, 000. It is crucial to note that this number excludes employees from other airlines, TSA and security among others.

The airport’s selection was based on its vitality as a critical infrastructure. Its significance is linked to the fact that the airport’s absence can lead to extreme consequences to the nation even when this absence is witnessed within a short moment. Infrastructure hindrance can lead to disastrous effects on any nation. Profound effects are often linked to hindrances on international airports such as D/FW. Thus, these elements need to be included among the vital components of complicated transport systems. In the United States, infrastructure protection became a crucial undertaking following the terrorist attacks on September 11 of the year 2001. However, some actions that have been adopted to ensure CI protection have been faced opposition from civil libertarians. These people blame these measures on the information access loss and hindrances on movements of the U.S citizens. In relation to this, it can be noted that the future will witness stringent protection measures across all CI systems. Such an accomplishment is significant in the functioning of the U.S in the modern time. Therefore, a critical evaluation and analysis of the D/FW airport is vital in identifying its vulnerabilities and suitable measures that can be adopted to address them.

 

Analysis of the Airport

Internal activities of organizations depend on key assets and physical infrastructure across various geographies and domains, to provide aid to their missions and goals. Raising the operational costs and forms of these assets and physical features leads to increased operational costs and forms. However, this action is vital in ensuring that infrastructure continues to function even in the presence of vulnerabilities and threats. As a result of this, analysis of the airport infrastructure will take into consideration contact points such as assets, network and systems.

Assets

Land

DFW international airport is equipped with several assets. The airport is situated in a mass of land that amounts to 18, 076 acres (Davis 2011). This represents how the airport’s management is ready to respond to future changes in terms of the expansion of the airport to address the security matters. Besides, this indicates that the airport’s current state is in line with the requirements of standards for international airports’ capacity.

Runways

DFW airport has seven runways, which are meant to ensure that issues of congestions and delays are eliminated.  Moreover, this also ensures that the security of planes in relation to accident risks is enhanced (Davis 2011). The presence of adequate runways in airports helps in ensuring that several planes can use the facility within a single moment.

 

Terminals

The runways are supplemented with five terminals. One of these terminals is the terminal D, which is meant for domestic both international and international services. As a result, the airport is placed in a vantage position of holding several passengers.  These terminals also ensure that the needs all planes in relation to loading, offloading and refueling among other are addressed. In addition, the airport has 155 gates that aid in reducing congestions and enhancing the operational efficiency of the facility (Davis 2011). As a result of this, the airport has the potential of serving many customers. This acts as the main vulnerability of the airport in relation to being a terrorism target. It has been identified that terrorists often have the tendency to target crowded places that may have individuals from diverse backgrounds.

Systems

Following the million clients that are being served by DFW international airport each year, this facility happens to be the one of the world’s busiest international airports. Recently, the airport was branded world’s leading cargo airport (Dallas/ Fort Worth International Airport 2012). Besides, the airport is subjected to a consistent recognition for its commitment to community and innovation enrichment. As such, the airport’s management has made significant efforts in the enrichment of its network in terms of facilitating its operations and security of clients and employees.

Just like many international airports, DFW uses a series of elevated screen displays to offer personnel and passengers with the recent flight information. This information covers all dimensions such as security, flight status and passenger alerts. In relation to the airport’s size (18,000acres), the airport is fitted with over 1000 screens, which are meant for monitoring all operations and security details of the airport (Dallas/ Fort Worth International Airport 2012). According to John Parrish who is an associate VP Vice President) of the facility’s terminal technology department, the airport’s screens are categorized into backs of 14, 12 or 10 all over the airport. The V added that, prior to ClearCube, each is screed in the airport acquired its powering off the area.   As a result of this, the airport facility adopted the ClearCube remedy so that it could relocate the PC, which was located behind display screen. ClearCube has the potential to condense PC into rack-mounts and blade form-factor, which is Intel-based, in a location that is secured. This is accomplished with the aid of a small user port (Access device) that is that connects the monitoring screens to centralized blades above standard cabling (Dallas/ Fort Worth International Airport 2012). User ports often consume a limited space, which is about a paperback book’s size. This space is more reduced than the one consumed by conventional PCs.

DWF’s management has positioned its blades of ClearCube in many telecom closets that are spread across the airport. The location of the blades outside the public vicinity helps the management conduct maintenance at the moment of its choice with maximum privacy. This implies that maintenance process can be performed during the day or night hours (Dallas/ Fort Worth International Airport 2012). Besides, DFW airport has adopted the use of user port accessories that are known as the Multi-Video Expanders. These devices are employed in the driving of a maximum of four displays within a single blade.

A Diagram Representing How the System Operates

 

Adoption of a centralized computing remedy has enabled DFW airport simplify the management and maintenance of its display system of information. The airport’s IT personnel can now perform all their maintenance and repair operations through the telecom closet directly or ClearCube management software (Dallas/ Fort Worth International Airport 2012). This achievement is contrary to their initial performance of these operations by climbing up the display bank. Initially, a PC was placed behind every screen, which made it difficult to establish suitable tools that could manage all screens efficiently. For example, the rampant running of the Love Bug Virus in the past years forced the IT personnel perform virus updates on every screen by walking to them. Therefore, the presence of ClearCube has enhanced the convenient location of all blades in few areas. As such, the IT personnel do not have to come out of the office to perform functions such as virus updating. In addition, the remedy’s remote management software and centralized hardware enable increased uptime levels. This observation is always witnessed during the replacement of a faulty unit. The IT personnel do not have to climb to the locations of the screen when they need to bring down heavy screens and install new ones. This is because a technician can accomplish this by moving into a telecom closet and remove any blade that is broken blade from the rack then replace it with a hot spare blade (Dallas/ Fort Worth International Airport 2012). Moreover, the utilization of the centralized ClearCube remedy enables DFW international airport simplify and manage its expansive systems of information display in an efficient way. This is because the IT personnel always add extra screens to the systems of display. Besides, the VP anticipates for the future addible of extra blades, as well.

Networks

Currently, DFW international airport has 12 Global Super Hubs across the world. Besides, there exists a future expectation of the emergence of other hubs. This expectation is to be seen in the ever-growing India and Asia markets. The Super Hub power can be seen when there is a connection between two hubs. For instance, British Airways and American Airlines operate along the DFW-Heathrow route, which enables them in feeding traffic through their global networks. These two hubs can manage to establish over 28,000 connections of alliance by connecting logical connections across the market provided by DFW-Heathrow (Dallas/ Fort Worth International Airport 2012). Consequently, this can lead to the creation of robust competitive weapon, which will support the growth process at DFW. DFW is not considered as a Global Super Hub only, but its resilience and geographical size contributes to its consideration as main target for alliances, which need the feeding of passengers through their Super Hubs then into their networks, as well (Dallas/ Fort Worth International Airport 2012). DFW airport is involved in the establishment of relations with alliances of global airlines. The following are some of these global airlines:

Non-Hub Carriers

In the current time, DFW possesses four airlines, which are of the non-hub legacy nature and serve 16 cities. These airlines are estimated to contribute 7% of the facility’s traffic in relation to the FY 2010 (Dallas/ Fort Worth International Airport 2012). Other carriers of the non-hub legacy nature include Continental, United, Alaska Airlines, and Delta.

Low-Cost Carriers

Five LCCs (Low-Cost Carriers) offer services from DFW international airport to 13 cities. It is estimated that all these carriers managed to carry 5% of travelers who are affiliated to the airport (Dallas/ Fort Worth International Airport 2012). Some of these carriers include Spirit, Virgin America, U.S. Airlines, and Frontier. Furthermore, the JetBlue airline, which joined these carriers in 2012, is included here.

Foreign Flag Airlines

Foreign flag airlines are significant because they provide international services that link DFW with the other parts of the universe. Since 2011, DFW has witnessed the introduction of seven foreign-flag airlines to eight places. These airlines are British Airways, Lufthansa, Emirates and Koreas Air among others. It is approximated that these airlines carried 14% of the airport’s international passengers (Dallas/ Fort Worth International Airport 2012).

Cargo Service

Cargo continues being one of the key contributors to the success of DFW international airport. The significance of cargo services is linked to the emerging world economies in Asia alongside the increased demand for freight deliveries that are time-sensitive. It is estimated that cargo services accounts for 8.5% of the airport’s total landed weight in relation to the FY 2010 (Dallas/ Fort Worth International Airport 2012).

Evaluation Of The Airports Vulnerability

Whether virtual or physical, the destruction and incapacitation of the United States’ DFW International Airport would lead to adverse effects on national security, national public health, and national public safety. Critical infrastructure in relation to international airports such as DFW fell under the spotlight of policy makers in the years marked by middle 1990s. Besides, it is evident that the U.S. administration relies on network systems, which are included in its physical engine. Such systems have been established to be vulnerable to the magnitude of their worth. These vulnerabilities exist in the airport’s client capacity and assets. International airports like DFW happen to be the significant component of the aviation world. According to Homeland Security by Baggett and Collins, aviation is considered to include air traffic regulation systems, aircraft, an estimate of 450 commercial airports, and 19,000 extra airfields. Such a mode often includes a collaborative use of heliports, military airports, seaplane bases and landing ports. It also consists of short takeoffs and civil interventions. The aviation sector is considered a portion of the sector of the Transport Systems, which has six main models or subsectors in relation to their name (Collins, 2009). DFW international airport is included among the 500 public-use facilities, which are form part of the network for transportation that connects manufacturers, retailers and cities. As such enormous volumes of commerce and people are often moved via a complicated network, which has been noted be vulnerable to a high level. For instance, the TSA agent was murdered at the LA (Los Angeles) international Airport demonstrates how airport facilities such as the DFW are vulnerable.

In relation to the airport’s enormous capacity, the facility is associated with huge economies of scale, which are demonstrated in its operations, cargo handling, clients’ services and economic output among others. In the present moment, the airport’s client services have the potential to handle an estimated number of 155, 905 passengers. This translates into its operational activities, which are held at 652, each day. Furthermore, the airport handles 711, 605 U.S tons of cargo each day. All these vents have amounted to an overall economic output of $16.6 billion (Davis, 2009). The facility management is undertaking the renewal and improvement of terminals so that issues of security and accommodation can be advanced. Thus, a sum of $billion has been released to cover for this course that is meant to last for seven years. Some of the terminals that are targeted are E, C, B and A. The facility’s management aims at ensuring that these terminals are fitted with adequate security gadgets and are expanded to accommodate extra planes. This undertaking is scheduled to commence in February, 2011. Some of the aspects that are to be covered by this project are reconfigured security checkpoints, enhanced concessions and self-service ticket areas, and improved parking areas. In the future, it is projected that this international facility will support six terminals, eight runways and several land advancement opportunities that will witness the improvement of its security. Consequently, these accomplishments have seen the airport being ranked 3rd and 8th in terms of airport operations and passengers respectively (Davis, 2009). Additional data on how the airport performs in terms of its assets, finance and network are shown in the figures below:

  

DFW’s large capacity and expanded service provision subject it to numerous threats and risks. Besides serving many passengers, the facility has many employees who are vulnerable to occupational threats, as well. In addition, the airport’s large size presents security risks as other areas may not be addressed efficiently in terms of security preparedness. Moreover, the facility’s management needs a comprehensive program that can facilitate disaster recovery and business continuity. This problem need to be addressed as risks may be experience in the areas that are located next to this airport and to the airport, as well.

Methods of Improving the Airport for its Protection

Several actions need to be adopted by the facility’s management so that the security of its assets, network and systems can be improved in terms of security and operations. The airport’s management should take into consideration five issues in the development of its Strategic Asset Management plan. There should be an establishment of an organization that has planning infrastructure alongside systems performance operations collaborating with sustainability and engineering. This needs to be followed by the establishment of criteria that measure standards of work in relation to the delivery of client services and client safety. Work order management and practices should be addressed to cover for the safety need of the airport’s personnel so that issues of murders can be eliminated (Dallas/ Fort Worth International Airport 2012). In addition, the facility’s management should focus on developing KPIs that aids in the tracking of the maintenance process of for infrastructure renewal and critical systems funding levels. This is significant in facilitating the process of bench marking to the standard of the aviation industry. Eventually, project planning tool that is meant to serve for five years should also be developed to enhance the entire project development process.

Achieving excellence in the DFW airport requires that the management adopt security preparedness measure in relation to security vulnerabilities. The management needs to identify and act in relation to the risks so that employee and public safety can be protected. This action should be supplemented with a frequent updating and implementing of Safety Management System, which covers the safety of the entire airport (airport-wide safety program (Dallas/ Fort Worth International Airport 2012). Besides, this program should comply with the federal policies (14 CFR Part 139). There should also be a continuous updating and implementing of the airport’s comprehensive management system so that disaster recovery and business continuity can be ensured.

In conclusion, the DFW international airport’ CI needs a critical evaluation and analysis so that its management can succeed in identifying its vulnerabilities and suitable measures that can be adopted to address them. This is evident in the areas of vulnerabilities that have been identified in relation to the facility’s asset management system and network operations, which are some of the key contact points.

 

Reference

Collins, P; Ryan, B. (2009). Homeland Security and Critical Infrastructure Protection. Westport CT: Praeger

Dallas/ Fort Worth International Airport. (2012). Building A Future Together: DFW International Airport Strategic Plan 2012. <http://www.dfwairport.com/cs/groups/public/documents/webasset/p1_060078.pdf> PDF FILE.

Dallas/ Fort Worth International Airport. (2012). ClearCube Blades Support Expansive Flight Information Display System.  <http://www.clearcube.com/downloads/CS_DFW%20%20Airport.pdf>PDF FILE>

Davis, F. (2011). Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Asset Management Strategies. DFW. <http://www.aapaports.org/files/SeminarPresentations/2011Seminars/11FacilitiesEngineering/Davis_Carol.pdf>. PDF FILE.

Collins, P; Ryan, B. (2009). Homeland Security and Critical Infrastructure Protection. Westport CT: Praeger

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