DFW Skylink

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For other uses, see Skylink (disambiguation).
DFW Skylink from plane.jpg
Type People mover
Status Operational
Locale Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
Services 10
Opened May 21, 2005[1]
Owner DFW Airport Board
Operator(s) Bombardier Transportation
Character Elevated
Rolling stock 64 Bombardier Innovia APM 200 vehicles
Line length 4.8 mi (7.7 km)
Number of tracks 2
Electrification Third rail
Operating speed 37 mph (60 km/h)
Route map
All stations have stairless access
Terminal B Gates 20–39
Terminal A Gates 01–21
Terminal B Gates 01–19
Terminal A Gates 22–39
Terminal D Gates 23–40
Terminal C Gates 01–20
Terminal D Gates 01–22
Terminal C Gates 21–39
Terminal F (future)
Terminal E Gates 01–15
Terminal F (future)
Terminal E Gates 16-38

Skylink is an automated people mover system operating at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW). It is an application of the Bombardier Innovia APM 200 system manufactured by Bombardier Transportation, and continues to be maintained and operated by Bombardier. When it opened, it was the world's largest airport train system.[2] Sixty-four Skylink trains are in service at DFW.

Skylink was developed as a replacement for the Airtrans APM, the airport's original people mover system that connected airport facilities and parking lots. As DFW became a large connecting hub for flights, Airtrans (which was slow, followed a uni-directional counter-clockwise loop, and was located outside the secured area, thus requiring passengers to re-enter through security) was inefficient in moving passengers.[3]

The system made its public debut at DFW International Airport on June 25, 2004 when it began a rigorous testing period.[4] It was opened to the public on May 21, 2005, and is completely automated. Skylink trains run every two minutes and travel at speeds up to 35–37 mph (56–60 km/h).[5][6][7]

The Skylink system is airside at DFW, serving passengers connecting between flights. There is no need to leave security and be re-screened when switching terminals. The system is only accessible airside and cannot be accessed by those not arriving at DFW or who have not cleared security. Arriving International passengers (who are not pre-cleared; e.g. Canada) who are connecting clear US CBP formalities and are then security screened before access to the terminals. Departing international passengers connecting from domestic or pre-cleared international flights do not need to be re-screened.

The longest trip between farthest stations is 9 minutes with an average 5 minute journey. This allows most passengers to make a connection from any one flight to another in around seven minutes, not including walking time to and from the stations.[8]

The concrete and steel guideway for Skylink was constructed above the terminals on 375 columns in a 4.8 mile long bi-directional loop. The inner track travels clockwise and the outer track travels counter-clockwise. Each of the five current terminals contains 2 stations which are accessed on the secure (air) side. Unlike the previous Airtrans APM system, Skylink only connects terminals and does not travel to the airport's parking lots or rental car facility. The stations contain four sets of doors on each platform, with only the front 2 currently in operation pending future increased demand. Two more stations can be constructed for a sixth terminal if it is built.

The Innovia APM 200 technology is also used at London Heathrow International Airport's T5 terminal as well as the PHX Sky Train. [5]

During severe weather, SkyLink service will be suspended, requiring long walks in between gates and exiting security in order to access Terminal E.


Interior of Skylink vehicle 
Skylink station 
Skylink pulling into station 
Skylink guideway above Terminal E and Express South Parking Lot 


  1. ^ http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/dfw-international-airport-debuts-new-skylink-people-mover-system-75159537.html
  2. ^ Marta, Suzanne (May 8, 2005). "A lot riding on the train - The speedier Skylink may pull in more connecting fliers - and D/FW revenue". The Dallas Morning News. p. 1D. 
  3. ^ Marta, Suzanne (June 20, 2005). "Airtrans pulling into station for good - D/FW people-mover replaced by Skylink will make final trip Tuesday". The Dallas Morning News. p. 1A. 
  4. ^ http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/dfw-international-airport-debuts-new-skylink-people-mover-system-75159537.html
  5. ^ a b Bombardier Innovia Technology, Bombardier Transportation Website, 2006-02-03
  6. ^ Lea+Elliot Skylink Project, 2006-02-03
  7. ^ Corgan Associates press release, dated 20 May 2005, retrieved 14 February 2007
  8. ^ Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport Website, 2007-02-03

External links[edit]