Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
The Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport is one of the world’s busiest airports, ranking 25th in passenger traffic according to the Airport Councils International annual list. The Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, or Metro to locals, serves over 32 million passengers per year with six busy runways and 145 gates.
Located in the Detroit suburb of Romulus, Michigan, the airport serves Detroit’s metropolitan area and surrounding Michigan counties, but it is used by nearby Ohio and Ontario residents as well. It is not just a leader in quantity, but also in quality. The airport has won awards from J.D. Power & Associates for being tops in customer satisfaction among large U.S. airports.
History of Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
The airport started out with only one landing strip as Wayne County Airport in 1929. Soon after the first official landing, the Michigan National Guard set up a base at the airport. Throughout World War II, the United States Army occupied the space, renaming it Romulus Army Airfield. The airport was instrumental in getting U.S. aircraft off the ground to help the war efforts in Europe.
When the war ended, the airport quickly became the primary location for Detroit travelers. The name was changed to Detroit-Wayne Major Airport in 1947, a name it would keep until becoming Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport in 1958. That same year, it became the first inland airport in the country to be certified for international jet aircraft flights.
At one time, the Metro had three fully-functioning terminals. The original South Terminal was completed in 1958. It was later renamed for Leroy C. Smith, an individual instrumental in developing the airport. In 1966, the original North Terminal was built, and at the time of construction, it was the world’s largest post-tensioned building. It was renamed for former airport manager James M. Davey in 1975. The Michael Berry International Terminal, named for an airport commissioner, was opened as the third terminal in 1974 to accommodate the increased traffic from international destinations.
Airport Terminals & Parking
Now, the Metro only has two terminals, including one that has the distinction of being the third longest terminal building in the world. McNamara Terminal was opened with three concourses in 2002, replacing the Davey Terminal, which was then demolished in 2005. The McNamara Terminal Concourse A stretches over a mile long, and passengers use a tram in addition to 1.5 miles of moving walkways to navigate the main concourse.
McNamara Terminal has 121 gates and an 89-acre, ten-story parking garage with the capability of holding over 11,000 cars. In addition to the four-star hotel and a myriad of shopping and dining options, the terminal also offers passengers unique entertainment as they pass through during layovers. The Light Tunnel, an award-winning interactive art display, functions as a connector for the three McNamara concourses. As passengers walk through the sculpted glass panels of the tunnel, they are dazzled with musically-synchronized lights twinkling behind the glass.
The Metro’s other terminal, the North Terminal, opened in 2008, replacing the Michael Berry International Terminal. The Berry Terminal and the Smith Terminal were both decommissioned that year. Since then, the Michael Berry Terminal has often been used as a set for movies, such as the George Clooney film Up in the Air.
The North Terminal is smaller than McNamara with only 26 gates. Parking for the North Terminal is in a garage known as “The Big Blue Deck.” Complimentary shuttles run between the McNamara garage and the North Terminal garage. Additional long-term parking is available for travelers in outdoor lots located minutes from the terminals.
Airlines Serving Detroit Airport
Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport serves as one of the largest domestic hubs for Delta Air Lines. When talking about the total fleet size, Delta Air Lines holds the title of the largest airline in the world. This major American carrier connects Michigan’s busiest airport with more than 80 total destinations. First and foremost, Delta offers direct flights to its other domestic airport hubs in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Memphis, New York City, Minneapolis, and Salt Lake City. Additionally, Delta Air Lines provides non-stop flights to more than 60 domestic destinations.
The busiest airline at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport essentially offers flights to all major metropolitan regions in the United States. Major East Coast cities that are on the Delta schedule include Boston, Chicago, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Washington District of Columbia. Large cities in California, Florida, Texas and more than a dozen other states are also accessible via Delta. This major company also links Detroit with other regional airports in cities such as Albany, Charleston, Des Moines, Nashville, Saginaw, and Rochester.
Delta Air Lines connects Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport to other major international destinations in multiple continents. Beijing, Frankfurt, Los Angeles, Paris, Mexico City, Seoul, and Tokyo form the diverse international schedule offered by the airline with the world’s largest fleet. Delta Air Lines almost exclusively uses the McNamara Terminal at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport. Air France is the only other airline that uses this terminal building. All other airline companies operate in the North Terminal at Michigan’s largest airport.
Since Delta Air Lines dominates the domestic schedule at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, other major U.S. airlines provide flights only to a few destinations. United Airlines offers direct flights to the main airports in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Newark, and District of Columbia. The US Airways service includes flights to Charlotte, Phoenix, Philadelphia, and the country’s capital district. In addition to offering trips to Miami, American Airlines takes passengers to the company’s hub at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
The Florida based Spirit Airlines offers flights to major destinations in the company’s home state such as Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, and Tampa. Southwest Airlines links Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport with several major cities such as Baltimore, Denver, Las Vegas, St. Louis, and Phoenix.
Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport is connected to multiple destinations outside of the United States thanks to international companies such as Air Canada, Air France, Lufthansa, and Royal Jordanian.