FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — American Airlines is providing another reason for its high number of delayed flights this summer — an antiquated, overworked kitchen at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
American says 2,300 flights were delayed between Memorial Day and Labor Day so that food and drinks could be prepared and loaded on the planes. That is more than 20 delays a day during the peak summer travel season.
American says catering-related delays at DFW have been getting worse for years, and it has a solution: a new $100 million kitchen.
The DFW Airport board is scheduled to vote on the project Thursday after hearing a presentation earlier this week.
“The current catering kitchen was built in 1982 and is too small and inefficient for today’s needs,” airline spokeswoman Annie Lorenzana said. “A new kitchen is critical to enable future expansion,” including when a new, sixth terminal that opens as soon as 2025.
American is the dominant carrier at DFW, operating more than 900 flights a day. The airline outsources catering to LSG Sky Chefs.
If the airport board approves the project, American will negotiate a 40-year lease for more than 21 acres to house a new kitchen and related facilities. It would pay an estimated $39 million in rent over the life of the lease, in addition to the upfront costs, according to airport documents.
American has struggled with more than 30,000 delays at DFW this year. Airline executives blamed the operational problems this summer at DFW and other airports on the grounding of American’s 24 Boeing Max jets and an illegal work slowdown by union mechanics.
Plans for the new kitchen were first reported by The Dallas Morning News.