By Robbie Owens

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – For travelers who frequent Dallas’ Love Field, the airport’s five year modernization project has, at times, felt like forever. Well, weary travelers: take heart. The end is in sight, and it looks good.

“I love it. It’s beautiful!” said an enthusiastic Kelli Taylor. “I’ve been here 12 years, so this is very different from what I’m used to.”

The airport’s new terminal—part of a half billion dollar renovation—is set to open next on Tuesday. Dallas based Southwest Airlines will occupy the first 12 gates to come online.

“This puts Love Field at the top of the heap,” says Bob Montgomery, Vice President of Airport Affairs for Southwest Airlines. “I think Dallas has a new city icon in this building.”

Airline employees, vendors, tenants and the media were invited in Wednesday for an early look.

“I think it’s gorgeous!” gushed Billie Bailey. “They’ve done a beautiful job. And I like all of the new shops. The new food places.”
Dallas city leaders say the terminal’s opening is a major milestone in the renovation project—and they expect travelers to be thrilled.

“Travelers can really look forward to better flow, easier in and out of the airport, much better concessions, a very bright, open, airy terminal—and just a great passenger experience when they travel,” says Mark Duebner, Dallas’ Director of Aviation who has been overseeing the renovation.

Eight more gates will be added to the terminal and a new baggage claim is coming as well. The entire project is scheduled to be completed by November of next year, coinciding with the lifting of Wright Amendment flight restrictions. Airlines will then be able to fly non-stop to locations of their choosing, significantly increasing passenger traffic

“Customers coming in are gonna love it,” says Montgomery, “our customers leaving out are gonna love it—it’s built for convenience.”

More than two dozen new restaurants—from fancy to fast food— are in the new terminal and there are more retail options as well. Travelers welcome the changes.

“It’ll make coming home a lot better,” says Dustin Corgan.

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