Skylink is an automated people mover (APM) operating at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW). It is an application of the Innovia APM 200 system, and is maintained and operated by Alstom. When it opened in 2005, it was the world's largest airside airport train system (AirTrain JFK and AirTrain SFO, which are both landside, opened in 2003 and are larger).[3]

Skylink at Terminal E.jpg
SkyLink stopped at a Terminal E station
OwnerDFW Airport Board
LocaleDallas/Fort Worth International Airport
Stations10 (2 per terminal)
TypePeople mover
Rolling stockInnovia APM 200
Ridership5,000 passengers per direction per hour[1]
OpenedMay 21, 2005; 17 years ago (2005-05-21)[2]
Line length4.81 mi (7.74 km)
Number of tracks2
ElectrificationThird rail
Operating speed37 mph (60 km/h)
Route map

TEXRail TEXRail to Fort Worth
Dallas Area Rapid Transit Orange Line to Dallas
DFW Airport Terminal B
DFW Airport Terminal A
Terminal B Gates 20–49
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
Handicapped/disabled access all stations accessible


Skylink operating in 2008 in the older blue livery before the airport's 2015 refresh to orange.

Skylink was developed as a replacement for the Airtrans (part of which was later operated as American Airlines' TrAAin System), the airport's original people mover system that connected airport facilities and parking lots. It served the airport for 31 years from 1974 to 2005 and transported a quarter of a billion passengers between DFW's then four terminals and employee facilities, logging a total of 97 million miles (156 million kilometres) over the lifetime of its fleet. As DFW became a large connecting hub for flights, Airtrans was noted for being slow with its top speed of 17 mph (27 km/h) and following a uni-directional counter-clockwise loop located inside security for Terminals A, B, and C and outside security to other areas, was inefficient in moving passengers.[4][5] The system was decommissioned soon after Skylink opened as a modern replacement and the old guideways were left in place throughout the airport.

Skylink guideway construction began in the fall of 1999 and took place with limited interruption of aircraft traffic. Contractors worked during overnight hours for 3 years – when airline gates were unused – arriving on site, completing work and removing equipment each morning before returning gates to an airline.[6]

The system made its public debut on June 25, 2004, where it then began a rigorous testing period.[2] 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).[7][8][9]

In 2015, after a decade of service, Skylink had transported over 141 million people and traveled over 32.4 million fleet miles (52.1 million kilometres).[10]


The Skylink system is airside at DFW, serving passengers connecting between flights, and is inaccessible to those not arriving at DFW or who have not cleared security. There is no need to leave security and be re-screened when switching terminals. Arriving international passengers who are not pre-cleared (e.g. Canada) clear United States Customs and Border Protection 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.[11] The full loop around the airport takes approximately 18 minutes.[citation needed]

During severe weather, SkyLink service can be suspended, requiring long walks in between gates and exiting security in order to access Terminal E.[citation needed]

The Skylink system uses a total of 64 Innovia APM 200 vehicles, coupled together into two car trains.[12] Each Skylink vehicle can accommodate up to 69 passengers and their carry-on luggage.[13] The Innovia APM 200 technology is also used at London Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5 as well as the PHX Sky Train.[7]

The audio announcements on SkyLink are provided by local voice-over artist Doc Morgan.[14]


The concrete and steel guideway for Skylink, elevated at an average of 50 feet (15 m), was constructed above the terminals on 375 columns in a 4.81-mile-long (7.74 km) bi-directional loop. The inner track travels clockwise and the outer track travels counter-clockwise.

Each of the five terminals contains two 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 for entrance and exiting of passengers. Two more stations can be constructed for a future Terminal F if it is built.



  1. ^ "Skylink: The Quick and Easy Link Between Terminals". DFW Airport. Archived from the original on July 6, 2017. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  2. ^ a b DFW International Airport (June 25, 2004). "DFW International Airport Debuts New SkyLink People Mover System" (Press release).
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Public Affairs Department (June 21, 2005). "DFW International Airport Bids Farewell to Venerable Airport Train System – 97 Million Miles and 250 Million Passengers Later" (PDF) (Press release). Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-05-11. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
  6. ^ "DFW International Airport Debuts World's Largest Airport People Mover System". DFW Airport. May 21, 2005. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Bombardier Innovia Technology". Bombardier Transportation. February 3, 2006. Archived from the original on January 3, 2006.
  8. ^ "DFW International Airport Skylink System". Lea+Elliot. February 3, 2006. Archived from the original on May 12, 2006.
  9. ^ Corgan Associates (May 20, 2005). "(untitled)" (Press release). Archived from the original on January 18, 2008. Retrieved 14 February 2007.
  10. ^ DFW Airport (August 24, 2015). "Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Celebrates A Decade of International Terminal D, Skylink and the Grand Hyatt DFW". PR Newswire. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  11. ^ "Skylink, the World's Largest Airport Train". Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. February 3, 2007. Archived from the original on May 23, 2007.
  12. ^ "DFW SkyLink FAQs". Archived from the original on July 13, 2022.
  13. ^ "Skylink Opens to the Traveling Public after Five Years of Planning and Construction; High School Band Plays "Celebration" to Start Operations". Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) Newsroom. May 21, 2005.
  14. ^ "D/FW's Skylink has a Familiar Voice". Aviation Pros. 5 July 2005. Retrieved 13 May 2022.

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