ROMULUS, MI-New FAA security measures are forcing changes to the design of the $1.2-billion Northwest World Terminal Complex at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. The new security measures are being implemented throughout the country following the terrorist attacks in Washington DC and Manhattan Sept. 11.

The 97-gate terminal complex, which is expected to handle an average of more than 80,000 people per day, is set to open Jan. 20. If the new measures become normal procedure for US airports, the county is looking to change various aspects of the terminal, including the 125,000 sf of retail, including 85 shops and restaurants.

New measures have included eliminating curbside check-in, allowing passengers only into gate areas and setting a large buffer zone between any terminal and parking areas.

Brian Lassaline, a Detroit Metro spokesman, says the county is looking at last-minute changes to the design to comply with the parking rules and switching around retail.

“Currently, most of the concessions and shops are on the secure side, past the security check-in points,” Lassaline tells “If only ticketed passengers are allowed in those areas, we may want to change our design to allow everyone access to the retail.”

He says the construction team is looking now at how to comply with new regulations, and it’s too early to tell what changes will be made.

Lassaline says passenger safety will be the primary concern of the county and Northwest, with conveniences a close second. He says any decision will be made after government rules are created.

Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta announced Sunday the creation of two separate task forces to deliver specific recommendations for improving security within the national aviation system. One task force will focus on increasing security at the nation’s airports. The other will look at aircraft security, focusing specifically on cockpit access.

Six national leaders in aviation and security were named to the task forces, each of which will deliver its recommendations to the Secretary by Oct. 1.

Currently, the new terminal has top-of-the-line security measures, Lassaline says. There will be six security entrance checkpoints on the ticketing level, with the capacity to expand to 10 in the future. There will be three checkpoints located on the gate level, four on the international level and one positioned between the hotel and the A Concourse.

After the new rules are made public, Lassaline says some tweaking will be made to the new terminal. Until then, he cannot speculate on additional cost estimates, and says the terminal should still open by Jan. 20.

“We have a little bit of time left,” he adds.

The project is funded by federal and state grants, passenger facility charges and airline fees. Wayne County is the owner of the terminal and Northwest Airlines is both the developer and primary tenant.

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