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1920's | 1930's | 1940's | 1950's | 1960's| 1970's | 1980's | 1990's | 2000's | Ongoing
   
1927 The plan to build a major commercial airport was conceived on April 12, 1927 .
   
1928 A $2 million bond was issued to finance the acquisition of one square mile of land at the corner of Middlebelt Road and Wick Road, (at the northeast corner of today’s airport). Called Wayne County Airport, it served as a general aviation facility.
   
1929 A landing strip was installed along with several maintenance buildings. The Wayne County Airport was dedicated and opened to the public in September. The first “official”landing was February 22, 1930. Thompson Aeronautical Corporation, a predecessor company of American Airlines, inaugurated service from Wayne County Airport .
   
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1931 The Wayne County Airport became the base for the Michigan Air National Guard.
   
1939 A new administration building was built to accommodate airline operations and to provide more office space.
   
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1940’s Control of the Airport was assumed by the U.S. Army for use as a staging base for transport of heavy bombers to Europe . The Army constructed new hangars, runways,and other facilities.
   
1944

The Wayne County Board of Supervisors authorized a threefold expansion of Wayne County Airport . By a vote of 63 to 1, the Supervisors approved the recommendation of the Ways and Means Committee to enlarge the mile square airport to cover 3.5square miles.

The U.S. Army announced its intentions of releasing Wayne County Airport , thus paving the way for its use as either a primary or secondary airport to serve Detroit and Wayne County .

   
1947 The Airport was renamed Detroit-Wayne Major Airport .
   
1948 The Airport was expanded to four square miles, allowing for construction of a south parallel runway.
   
1949 Runways 3C and 9-27 were built.
   
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1950

Runway 3L-21R was built.

A new air traffic control tower and an administration building were constructed.

   
1952 A new cargo building was built and leased to Flying Tiger Line, Meteor Air Transport and Slick Airways.
   
1956

It was announced that Detroit-Wayne Major Airport would receive $1 million under the Federal Aid-to-Airports program during fiscal year 1957.

A 30 year contract between American Airlines and the Wayne County Road Commission was signed, calling for the airline to shift operations from Willow Run Airport to Detroit-Wayne Major Airport . American was the first of the seven airlines operating out of Willow Run to agree to the proposed shift of all commercial carriers to the Wayne Major facility.

The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) announced that Detroit was one of the first cities scheduled to receive long-range radar in the CAA $246 million program to prepare the nation for civil jet transports. The new radar system was the heart of a plan designed to handle a four-fold increase in U.S. air traffic with minimum delay and maximum safety. The new detection device permitted CAA controllers to scan the skies for all aircraft up to 200 miles away.

   
1957 Construction began on a $10.4 million expansion program including a new terminal building (L.C. Smith Terminal), a 10,500 foot runway, a hotel and restaurant.
   
1958

The Detroit - Wayne Major Airport was certified as an international jet craft airport by the Civil Aeronautics Administration which qualified the Airport for 50 percent Federal funds for construction of the long runways needed for jet airliners.

The Airport was renamed Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport .

American, Allegheny, Northwest Orient, Pan Am and British Overseas moved to Metro Airport from the Willow Run Airport. American inaugurated air carrier service at Metro on October 1.

Detroit and Wayne County officially joined the jet age with the dedication of the$8.3 million terminal at Detroit Metropolitan Airport . The dedication gave Detroit the first inland commercial jet airport in the nation.

   
1959

The FAA proposed new construction at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in order to accommodate a total of 5,266,000 air passengers in the next six years.

Delta moved from Willow Run to Metro Airport .

   
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1960 The Public Bank provided banking services at Detroit Metro.
   
1962 An air freight forwarder building was built for Emery Air Freight.
   
1963

General aviation facilities were expanded with the completion of 20 T- hangars and the resurfacing of the North Hangar apron.

The Michigan Air National Guard apron was also resurfaced.

A lighted taxiway to Runway 21L was constructed.

A new hangar was constructed for the Great Lakes Steel Corporation.

   
1964

Construction was completed on a new fire station.

Aeronaves de Mexico became the seventh air carrier to provide service at Metro Airport.

   
1965

The Wayne County Sheriff began security patrols throughout Metro Airport .

The powerhouse was activated.

Construction was completed on a new airport power plant, the Michigan Bell Telephone Building , a United Airlines Cargo Building and an In-flight Kitchen, a Hertz Rent-A-Car Service Building , a Texaco Service Station, a Zantop Cargo Building , an addition to the American Airlines Air Freight Building , and an expanded ground level parking lot.

A free shuttle bus service between the parking lots and Terminal Building began.

   
1966

Terminal 2 (North Terminal) was constructed.

Six airlines were relocated from Willow Run Airport to Detroit Metro. This brought the number of scheduled passenger airline operations at Metro to thirteen. Other operations include three air cargo carriers and two air taxi operators.

   
1967

The Central Services building, an air mail terminal for the United States Postal Department, and a parking structure were constructed. The L.C. Smith Terminal, Runway9-27 and Runway 3L-21R were extended in the $50 million bond issue.

Slow but steady growth in passengers occurred with 2.85 million enplanements in1967 growing to 5.56 million in 1969.

   
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1970

Runway 9L-27R was officially designated as a fully instrumented runway with approaches from both ends of the runway.

The automated radar terminal system became fully operational. This system automatically displays identification, altitude, and airspeed of the aircraft on the radar screen.

The center portion of Runway 3L was rebuilt.

   
1972 The Airport Master Plan was completed, calling for new developments, including two new runways.
   
1973

The original retention pond was divided into two parts to allow room for construction of a new Runway 3R-21L.

A fourth retention pond was built east of Middlebelt and South of Northline Roads.

   
1974 The Michael Berry International Terminal was completed as part of a $69 million bond issue. Also included were improved lighting and taxiways, expansion of the L.C. Smith Terminal, Terminal 2 and new parking.
   
1975 Terminal 2 (North Terminal) was renamed J. M. Davey Terminal, honoring former Airport Manager, James M. Davey.
   
1976 The last of the three parallel runways (3R-21L) was completed. It is 10,000 ft.long x 150 ft. wide.
   
1978

Deregulation was enacted. This act took control away from the government and gradually allowed the airlines to set their own fares and routes.

X-ray equipment and metal detectors were installed in the International Terminal.

   
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1979-1982 Substantial reduction occurred in passenger traffic with declining national and local economies, the air traffic controller’s strike, and airline deregulation.
   
1984 Republic Airlines created its hub at Metro, spurring a boom in air traffic.
   
1986

A $166 million bond issue was approved to finance the Master Plan update at Metro Airport . The renovation and expansion included new taxiways and hold pads on the airfield to better facilitate the flow of aircraft traffic. Improvements to Rogell Drive and an addition to the Air Rescue Fire Fighting facility were also included.

Northwest Airlines and Republic Airlines merged creating an even larger hub at Detroit Metro.

The part 150 Noise Compatibility Study was initiated in conjunction with the Master Plan Update.

The FAA initiated an Airport Capacity Enhancement Task Force to develop a plan for reducing aircraft delays at Metro. The plan calls for two new runways and additional gates.

   
1987

Metro voluntarily initiated a multi-million dollar program involving removal of asbestos material from various buildings.

Northwest Airlines initiated scheduled non-stop service to Tokyo in April.

Southwest Airlines began service at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

   
1988 In October, Northwest Airlines initiated scheduled non-stop service to Seoul .
   
1989

Fire Station #2 was completed, to serve as an auxiliary crash station and the main EMS facility at Metro Airport .

The Master Plan Update and noise Compatibility Plan were completed, along with the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and the Final Economic Impact Statement. The Master Plan Update forecasts that Metro airport will serve 22 million enplaned passengers in 2005, based on an average annual growth rate of 4.8 percent.

Northwest Airlines initiated scheduled non-stop service to Paris and Frankfurt on June 1 st.

The Federal Inspection Services and baggage claim in the International Terminal were expanded at the cost of $7.3 million. Foreign language signage was added atan additional cost of $77,000.

Seven gates were added to Concourse C at a cost of $7.3 million.

   
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1990

Northwest Airlines constructed a $1 million ground control facility.

A 1,500 foot $7.4 million extension of Runway 3L to 12,000 feet to the south allows non-stop service to distant, overseas destinations.

   
1991

Guardian Industries completed construction of its hangar near Middlebelt and NorthlineRd.

United Parcel Service opened its Detroit Air Gateway hangar and ramp in August.

Northwest Airlines completed a $9.6 million expansion of their flight kitchen.

New 3200 space parking deck was completed in October.

Mesaba Airlines opened its new Maintenance and Training Facility in October.

Spirit Airlines began service at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

   
1992

FAA takes control of its new $15 million Air Traffic Control Tower in September.At 250’, it’s the tallest ATCT in the Great Lakes Region.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, in a joint marketing agreement with Northwest Airlines,begins non-stop service to Amsterdam .

Taxiways “P” and “F” are extended to serve general aviation sites.

New Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Facility is opened in June.

New Snow Removal Equipment Building is opened. (First part of a $13 million, 3-buildingmaintenance complex).

Long negotiated new Air Traffic Control procedures designed to decrease the impact of Noise are instituted.

   
1993

$3 Passenger Facility Charges began January 1st.

Lufthansa German Airlines initiated non-stop service to Frankfurt in May, but terminated service one year later as they signed a joint marketing agreement with United Airlines to fly out of Chicago ’s O’Hare Airport.

Northwest Airlines begins scheduled service to Osaka , Japan .

A second Crosswind Runway, 9R-27L opened in November. Its length and width are 8,500feet by 150 feet with a grooved surface. An electronic scan system was installed to determine runway surface conditions.

$12 million computer-controlled card access security system implemented.

Northern portion of the parking deck reconstruction was completed providing 3,500additional covered parking spaces.

   
1994

United States Postal Service dedicates new 24-hour Post Office at DTW.

New pedestrian bridge between new section of the parking deck and the Davey Terminal is elevated above both levels of Rogell Drive and equipped with moving walkway.

DTW initiates low power Travel Information Radio Station broadcasting on 920 AM.

In June, DTW records 10 th consecutive month of record breaking passenger traffic.For the first time in its history, DTW handled more than 2 million total passengers for four consecutive months.

Michigan Department of Transportation completes two year project to totally rebuildall ramps, bridges and roadways at I-94 and Merriman and Middlebelt Roads.

DTW commences $21 million Airfield Lighting and Signage upgrade.

Northwest Airlines initiates first ever scheduled non-stop service to Mexico City October 1 st.

American Airlines begins scheduled non-stop service to Miami in November with connections all over Latin America .

New Snow Removal Equipment (SRE) and Maintenance facilities opened.

The PGA Tour Shop in the Smith Terminal opened in December.

New Exit Plaza for parking deck completed.

   
1995

DTW posted record-breaking statistics with over 26.8 million total passengers in1994.

Delta Airlines sells their Detroit to London route to Northwest Airlines which immediately upgrades to daily service.

In March, construction began on modifications to the International Terminal and Concourse “G”. Wayne County , the State of Michigan , Northwest and Mesaba Airlines all contributed to this $14 million demolition and reconstruction project.

KLM doubles service to Amsterdam with 14 departures per week. Northwest Airlines increases its non-stop Frankfurt service to twice daily.

Flyover Bridge completed for new parking deck.

Taxiway Papa-Papa and Taxiway Tango extension completed.

Bus Transfer area for connecting passengers to domestic terminals completed at International Terminal.

Taxicabs were upgraded to newer vehicles and drivers were required to comply with a dress code.

April, luggage carts installed in the domestic terminals and parking deck.

Wayne County Executive McNamara dedicated noise Demonstration House during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

During the month of May, Northwest Airlines took over all of Concourse “C”, moving Delta, TWA, Spirit, Business Express and Comair to Concourse “A” and “B”.

The new retail shops in the L.C. Smith Terminal opened mid-May. They include “The Sharper Image”, “Local Color”, “Top20”, “Official Sports”, “Christian Dior” and“Timberland”.

Northwest Airlines begins scheduled non-stop service to Ottawa and Halifax , Canada.

In November, new Concourse G was opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Great Lakes Regional Office names DTW’s AirTraffic Control Tower (ATCT) “Facility of the Year” for outstanding operational performance.

   
1996

1995 passenger statistics push DTW past Charles DeGaulle Airport in Paris , McCarrenin Las Vegas and Newark to become the 9 th in North America and 13th in the world in terms of passenger traffic.

A new carrier, America West, begins scheduled service at DTW in February.

Wayne County opens efficient new Taxiway “Tango” connecting Taxiway “Yankee” to Runway 9R/27L.

May 1 st, Northwest Airlines, (NWA) begins scheduled non-stop service from DTW to Beijing , China 3x a week -- the First ever scheduled non-stop service between North America and Mainland China .

Wayne County and NWA announce agreement to build a new $786 Midfield terminal project triggering projected expenditures of $1.6 million in capital improvements at DTW.

British Airways celebrated 40 years of service between DTW and London on May 21st.

NWA extends their ramp side connecting passenger transfer service by building an additional bus transfer stop between concourse C and D.

   
1997

A new carrier, Reno Air, begins scheduled service on January 31.

May 1 st, British Airways launches daily service to London (Heathrow), and debuted the new Boeing 777 aircraft. BA is the first airline to bring the 777 to DTW.

Crosswinds Marsh, a 1,000 acre public access wetland preserve in Sumpter Township opened May 6. It was built to replace the wetlands that were destroyed due to construction expansion projects.

On June 1, Northwest Airlines opened an extension to Concourse C, including a new moving walkway to accommodate passengers to six new gates. DTW gate total increases to 99 gates.

A new moving walkway was built between Concourse C and D in June.

Firefighting Training site (a.k.a. Burn pit) - a regional training facility for Southeastern Michigan firefighters that provides a realistic training environment under controlled circumstances was opened in November.

A ribbon-cutting dedication was held for the new NWA international Departures Building on November 4. NWA also announced the completion of the luggage system expansion project.

A 23 ft., 2,500 pound replica of the “Stanley Cup”, representing the 1997 National Hockey League Championship, was placed next to DTW’s main parking deck for display.

A new carrier, Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA), begins scheduled service at DTWon December 1 st.

   
1998

Expansion to Federal Inspection area at International Terminal.

Site work began for the Fourth Parallel Runway (4/22).

Customer Service Agent Program established in April.

Expansion of lower Rogell Drive roadway in front of the Davey Terminal completed in July.

Airport Central - Information Center , near the Marriott Hotel opened October 1st, with interactive website kiosk, new terminal model and expansion information.

Expanded Green Parking Lot added 200 spaces in June.

The worst snowstorm in 25 years occurred on New Years Day, causing hundreds of flight delays and cancellations.

Lufthansa German Airlines initiates new non-stop daily service to Frankfurt in March.

A 21-hour, continuous placement of 21,000 cubic yards of concrete – poured to create the foundation of a section of DTW South Access Road – possibly a record-breaking event.

Air France Concorde’s fly in and out of DTW on May 21, 22 and 23 for Nomad’s Travel Club sponsored trips.

Gregory Wing, DTW Airport Operations Agent, receives the airport’s highest honor– The Distinguished Medal and Citation of Valor for saving the life of a Detroit Edison worker in June.

450 new parking spaces added to the Red Parking Lot on East Service Drive .

Airport Council International awards the Environment Achievement Award to DTW for its creation of Crosswinds Marsh, a 1,000-acre nature preserve which replaces wetlands disturbed by DTW’s expansion program.

An extension of six new gates was added to Concourse A for Spirit and Southwest Airlines in mid-November.

Laptop Lane, a suite of high-tech, individual offices offering business travelers full-equipped, private workplaces complete with high-speed computer connections and on-site customer support was opened end of November.

Business/Conference Center built in partnership with economic development organizations from the City of Detroit ; Genesse; Lapeer; Lenawee, Livingston , Macomb , Monroe, Oakland ; St. Clair; Washtenaw and Wayne Counties ; and 125 private sector investors.

   
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2000

DTW set another new annual record for passengers served. Detroit Metro’s 1999 total of 34,038,381 passengers represents a 7.9% increase over last year.

The largest single day collection on January 24th of over 100,000 gallons of deicing fluid runoff was collected and hauled off airport for processing as part of their cycling program being managed by the Environmental Department.

Northwest inaugurates daily non-stop service to Rome and Milan , Italy on April2 nd.

Canadian Regional Airlines partners with United Airlines to offer daily service to Toronto , Canada . In May, Canadian Regional operates as Air Canada providing service from the International Terminal.

Northwest inaugurates twice-daily nonstop service to Shanghai , China on April 6.

May 1 st, Airport Director David Katz resigns to pursue personal interests. Former Deputy Director of Airports and Chief Financial Officer for County of Wayne , Lester Robinson, named to succeed Mr. Katz.

The start of construction of a sixth runway, the 4 th parallel runway (4/22), commences in June.

DTW’s 70th birthday was celebrated with the unveiling of a major timeline display in the lobby of the Smith Terminal.

An Idea Center opened in the Smith Terminal in August designed to solicit customer suggestions and opinions on what they would like to see in the renovation of the existing terminal complex.

Additional parking lot, Green Lot #2, opens with 1,000 parking spaces as a long-term economy lot on the East Service Drive .

   
2001

DTW sets record for year 2000 with 35,535,080 passengers surpassing 1999’s total by 4.4%

Spirit Airlines launches non-stop service between Detroit and Oakland , California. Spirit is the only airline offering non-service between the two cities.

Wayne County sells over $110 million in airport hotel bonds.

DTW installs 50 Automated External Defibrillator kits throughout the terminal complex.On November 7th, Airport Police Officers A. Butson and C. Rubin received Public Safety Citations and were recognized for facilitating the first defibrillator save since their installation earlier in the year.

Wayne County , Northwest Airlines and Westin Hotel celebrate the ground breaking for a $85.1 million hotel scheduled to open September 2002.

Wayne County Commission announces naming of new midfield terminal as the “Edward H. McNamara Terminal” scheduled to open in February 2002.

Wayne County and the FAA dedicate the new 10,000 foot, $225 million runway 4L/22Ron December 11. FAA Administrator, Jane Garvey and Congressman John Dingell joined Executive McNamara in cutting the ribbon. DTW only major U.S. airport opening anew runway this year.

In response to the tragic terrorist attacks on 9/11/01 , Governor John Engler assigns over 100 Michigan National Guard soldiers to monitor passenger-screening activities at DTW.

   
2002

Detroit Metro Airport ’s second main entrance road was dedicated as “ John Dingell Driveon February 11 th. John Dingell Drive provides access to Metro Airport from I-275 and will connect millions of travelers annually to the new Edward H. McNamara Terminal/Northwest World Gateway. John Dingell Drive is four miles long, six lanes wide and built at a cost of $144 million.

February 24 th marked the opening of the new $1.2 billion state-of-the-art Edward H. McNamara Terminal/Northwest World Gateway. This terminal offers 97 gates, more than 80 shops and restaurants, an indoor Express Tram that travels the mile-long Concourse A in less than 3 minutes, international and domestic connections in the same facility, and an 11,500 space parking garage.

Demolition began in March on the extension of Concourse C and Concourses D through G in preparation for the redevelopment of the North Terminal complex project.

Senate Bill 690, signed by Governor Engler on March 26th established the Wayne County Airport Authority. The independent Authority will manage Detroit Metropolitan Airport and Willow Run Airport . Both airports will remain Wayne County facilities.

The Michigan National Guard soldiers pulled out in May and were replaced by Airport Police officers to monitor the passenger screening checkpoints.

The Federal Aviation Administration officially transferred the certificate of operation to the Wayne County Airport Authority on August 9 th.

A new Airport Information Center opened in the Smith Terminal lobby, replacing Airport Central.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) assumed the passenger screening activities at Checkpoint Blue (Concourses A/B) on August 27th. This is the first checkpoint under their control.

The Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport , a luxury 400 room hotel opened adjacent to the McNamara Terminal on December 17, 2002 .

   
2003

Harley-Davidson and CNBC News Stores opened at the McNamara Terminal in January.

A Commercial User fee was implemented in March, charging off-airport transportation providers a fee for accessing facilities to pick up and drop off passengers at DTW.

New restaurants, Chili’s, National Coney Island and Slapshotz Bar opened at the McNamara Terminal in May.

Erwin Pearl jewelry store opened at the McNamara Terminal in October.

 In September, 2003, the Wayne County Airport Authority Board authorized the sale of up to $825 million in bonds to fund future airport expansion projects.

In November, USA 3000 began scheduled service at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

   
2004

USA 3000 began service between DTW and Ft. Meyers , FL in March.

A new Part 150 Noise Compatibility Study begins to identify and evaluate current and future noise effects caused by aircraft operations at DTW. The last study was conducted in 1993. The new study is to be completed in 2005.

Northwest Airlines began the McNamara Terminal expansion program in July to add nine gates to Concourse B and redesign of Concourse C to accommodate jet service.

 Independence Air began service between DTW and Washington Dulles in August.

In September, 2004, the Wayne County Airport Authority Board approved the hiring of the San Francisco-based architectural and engineering firm of Gensler Architecture,Design & Planning Worldwide to design a new 29-gate terminal to replace the Davey and Smith Terminals.

   
2005

The James M. Davey Terminal, formerly the home of Northwest Airlines’ hub at Detroit,is demolished to make room for a new North Terminal.

Detroit Metro Airport Sets an all-time passenger record as it welcomes more than36 million passengers for the year.

   
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2006

Spirit Airlines begins new service between Detroit and Boston Logan International Airport.

Southwest Airlines begins new flights between Detroit and Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI).

The first model of the new North Terminal is unveiled to the public, while 450 concrete trucks to deliver 18 million pounds of concrete to be poured for the new terminal’s foundation.

AirTran Airways adds service to Fort Lauderdale, Tampa Bay and Fort Meyers, Florida.

The Airport Authority completes its 14-year, $118 million Residential Sound Insulation Program, which provided sound insulation treatment for more than 2,400 homes and seven schools in neighborhoods near Detroit Metro Airport.

Detroit Metro Airport’s first cell phone waiting areas debut.

Guests at the Westin Detroit Metro Airport hotel are granted access to shops and restaurants beyond passenger screening at the McNamara Terminal as part of a TSA pilot program.

The Airport Authority begins its first set of public meetings regarding its revised Master Plan for Detroit Metro Airport.

   
2007

New Store "Forever Silver" Opens at McNamara Terminal.

The Airport Authority “Tops-Off” Detroit Metropolitan Airport’s new North Terminal.

Detroit Metro Airport is awarded $5.1 Million for new, low-emissions infrastructure at its new North Terminal.

The U.S. Department of Transportation awards Northwest Airlines approval to restart daily, non-stop flights from Detroit to Shanghai in 2009.

Detroit Metro Airport’s McNamara Terminal Concessions Program was voted “Best Convenience Retail Program in North America” by Airports Council International–North America(ACI-NA).

   
2008

Both Northwest Airlines and new-entrant carrier AeroMéxico both begin non-stop service between Detroit and Monterrey, Mexico.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Returns to Detroit Metro Airport with one daily Detroit-Amsterdam flight, complimenting the four existing flights operated by partner Northwest Airlines.

Ford Delivers Ultra-Clean Hydrogen Powered Buses to Detroit Metro Airport.

The Airport Authority Launches Small Business Enterprise Program.

The Airport Authority Board approves a new Master Plan for Detroit Metro Airport outlining the airport’s growth strategy to meet the airport’s anticipated 60% risein passenger traffic estimated by the Federal Aviation Administration by 2027.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) names the Wayne County Airport Authority as the first airport system to attain the agency’s StormReady™designation.

On Wed. Sept. 17, the new North Terminal opens at Detroit Metro Airport. At the same time, the airport’s Smith and Berry terminals will be retired as passenger facilities—officially making DTW one of the newest, most operationally-capable,most customer-friendly and most efficient airports in North America.

The Airport Authority debuts a new, $2 million, lead-free Public Safety Firearm Training Range Detroit Metro Airport.

   
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Ongoing Neighborhood Compatibility Program - acquisition or soundproofing of certain homes located in the communities surrounding DTW.
   
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