Denver International Airport

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Denver International Airport
Denver International Airport Logo.png
Summary
Airport typePublic
OwnerCity & County of Denver Department of Aviation
OperatorCity & County of Denver Department of Aviation
ServesDenver, the Front Range Urban Corridor, Eastern Colorado, Southeastern Wyoming, and the Nebraska Panhandle
LocationNortheastern Denver, Colorado, U.S.
Hub for
Focus city for
Elevation AMSL5,431 ft / 1,655 m
Coordinates39°51′42″N 104°40′23″W / 39.86167°N 104.67306°W / 39.86167; -104.67306Coordinates: 39°51′42″N 104°40′23″W / 39.86167°N 104.67306°W / 39.86167; -104.67306
Websitehttp://www.flydenver.com
Map
DEN is located in Colorado
DEN
DEN
Location of airport in Colorado / United States
DEN is located in the US
DEN
DEN
DEN (the US)
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
7/25 12,000 3,658 Concrete
8/26 12,000 3,658 Concrete
16L/34R 12,000 3,658 Concrete
16R/34L 16,000 4,877 Concrete
17L/35R 12,000 3,658 Concrete
17R/35L 12,000 3,658 Concrete
Statistics (2017)
Aircraft operations582,486
Passengers61,379,396
Economic impact (2013)$26.3 billion[1]
Source: Denver International Airport[2]

Denver International Airport (IATA: DEN, ICAO: KDEN, FAA LID: DEN) is an international airport serving metropolitan Denver, Colorado, United States. At 33,531 acres (13,570 ha, 52.4 sq mi),[3] it is the largest airport in the United States by total land area.[4] Runway 16R/34L, with a length of 16,000 feet (4,877 m), is the longest public use runway in the United States.

Denver currently has non-stop service to 205 destinations throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. It is the fourth airport in the United States to reach the 200 marker.[5] It also has the 2nd largest domestic network of any airport in the country with flights to around 185 U.S. destinations. As of 2017, DIA was the 20th busiest airport in the world and the fifth busiest in the United States by passenger traffic handling 61,379,396 passengers.

The airport is a hub for Frontier Airlines, United Airlines and a focus city for Southwest Airlines. These three airlines' combined operations made up about 83% of the total passenger traffic at DIA as of December 2017.[2]

History[edit]

The Air Traffic Control Tower at Denver International Airport with a United Airlines Boeing 737-800 below.
The Air Traffic Control Tower at Denver International Airport with a United Airlines Boeing 737-800 below.

Denver has traditionally been home to one of the busier airports in the nation because of its location. Many airlines including United Airlines, Western Airlines, the old Frontier Airlines and People Express were hubbed at the old Stapleton International Airport, and there was also a significant Southwest Airlines operation. At times, Stapleton was a hub for three or four airlines. The main reasons that justified the construction of the new DIA included the fact that gate space was severely limited at Stapleton, and the Stapleton runways were unable to deal efficiently with Denver's weather and wind patterns, causing nationwide travel disruption.

From 1980 to 1983,[6] the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) investigated six areas for a new metro area airport that were north and east of Denver. In September 1989, under the leadership of Denver Mayor Federico Peña federal officials authorized the outlay of the first $60 million for the construction of DIA. Two years later, Mayor Wellington Webb inherited the megaproject, scheduled to open on October 29, 1993.

Delays caused by poor planning and repeated design changes due to changing requirements from United Airlines caused Mayor Webb to push opening day back, first to December 1993, then to March 1994. By September 1993, delays due to a millwright strike and other events meant opening day was pushed back again, to May 15, 1994.

In April 1994, the city invited reporters to observe the first test of the new automated baggage system. Reporters were treated to scenes of clothing and other personal effects scattered beneath the system's tracks, while the actuators that moved luggage from belt to belt would often toss the luggage right off the system instead. The mayor cancelled the planned May 15 opening. The baggage system continued to be a maintenance hassle and was finally terminated in September 2005,[7] with traditional baggage handlers manually handling cargo and passenger luggage.

On September 25, 1994, the airport hosted a fly-in that drew several hundred general aviation aircraft, providing pilots with a unique opportunity to operate in and out of the new airport, and to wander around on foot looking at the ground-side facilities—including the baggage system, which was still under testing. FAA controllers also took advantage of the event to test procedures, and to check for holes in radio coverage as planes taxied around and among the buildings.

DIA finally replaced Stapleton on February 28, 1995, 16 months behind schedule and at a cost of $4.8 billion,[8] nearly $2 billion over budget.[9] The construction employed 11,000 workers.[10] United Airlines Flight 1062 to Kansas City International Airport was the first to depart and United Flight 1474 from Colorado Springs Airport was the first to arrive.[9]

After the airport's runways were completed but before it opened, the airport used the codes (IATA: DVX, ICAO: KDVX). DIA later took over (IATA: DEN, ICAO: KDEN) as its codes from Stapleton when the latter airport closed.

During the blizzard of March 17–19, 2003, the weight of heavy snow tore a hole in the terminal's white fabric roof. Over two feet of snow on the paved areas closed the airport (and its main access road, Peña Boulevard) for almost two days. Several thousand people were stranded at DIA.[11][12]

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-800 taxis north with the airport's Westin Hotel, Jeppesen Terminal and the skybridge to Concourse A behind.
A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-800 taxis north at Denver International Airport

In 2004, DIA was ranked first in major airports for on-time arrivals according to the FAA.

Another blizzard on December 20 and 21, 2006 dumped over 20 inches (51 cm) of snow in about 24 hours. The airport was closed for more than 45 hours, stranding thousands.[13] Following that blizzard, the airport invested heavily in new snow-removal equipment that has led to a dramatic reduction in runway occupancy times to clear snow, down from an average of 45 minutes in 2006 to just 15 minutes in 2014.

As part of the original design of the airport the city specified passenger volume "triggers" that would lead to a redevelopment of the master plan and possible new construction to make sure the airport is able to meet Denver's needs.[14] The city hit its first-phase capacity threshold in 2008, and DIA is currently revising the master plan. As part of the master plan update, the airport announced selection of Parsons Corporation to design a new hotel, rail station and two bridges leading into the main terminal. The airport has the ability to add up to six additional runways, bringing the total number of runways to 12. Once fully built out, DIA should be able to handle 110 million passengers per year, up from 32 million at its opening.

On September 9, 2015, a political campaign was launched by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock to radically expand commercial development at DIA, development previously prohibited by intergovernmental agreement between Denver and Adams County.[15] The changes to the agreement were approved by both Denver and Adams County voters in November 2015.[16]

On November 19, 2015 the first part of a Hotel and Transit Center, the hotel, opened adjacent to the Jeppesen Terminal. On April 22, 2016, commuter rail service to the Hotel and Transit Center from Denver Union Station began.

Geography[edit]

KDEN FAA airport diagram

The airport is 25 miles (40 km) driving distance from downtown Denver,[17] which is 19 miles (31 km) farther away than Stapleton International Airport, the airport it replaced.[9] The distant location was chosen to avoid aircraft noise affecting developed areas, to accommodate a generous runway layout that would not be compromised by blizzards, and to allow for future expansion.

The 52.4 square miles (136 km2)[3] of land occupied by the airport is more than one and a half times the size of Manhattan (33.6 sq mi or 87 km2). At 33,531 acres (136 km2),[3] DIA is by far the largest land area commercial airport in the United States. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is a distant second at 70 km2 (26.9 square miles). The land was transferred from Adams County to Denver after a 1989 vote,[18] increasing the city's size by 50 percent and bifurcating the western portion of the neighboring county. As a result, the Adams County cities of Aurora, Brighton, and Commerce City are actually closer to the airport than much of Denver. All freeway traffic accessing the airport from central Denver leaves the city and passes through Aurora for just shy of 2 miles, making the airport a practical exclave. Similarly, the A Line rail service connecting the airport with downtown Denver has two intervening stations in Aurora.

Terminal[edit]

Jeppesen Terminal[edit]

The pedestrian bridge connecting the Jeppesen Terminal with Concourse A

Jeppesen Terminal, named after aviation safety pioneer Elrey Jeppesen, is the land side of the airport. Road traffic accesses the airport directly off of Peña Boulevard, which in turn is fed by Interstate 70 and E-470. Two covered and uncovered parking areas are directly attached to the terminal – four garages and an economy parking lot on the east side; and four garages and an economy lot on the west side.

The terminal is separated into west and east terminals for passenger drop off and pickup. Linked below is a map of the airlines associated with the terminals.

The central area of the airport houses two security screening areas and exits from the underground train system. The north side of the Jeppesen Terminal contains a third security screening area and a segregated immigration, and customs area.

The main terminal has six official floors, connected by elevators and escalators. Floors 1–3 comprise the lowest levels of the parking garages as well as the economy lots on both sides of the terminal. Floor 4 contains passenger pickup, as well as short-term and long-term parking. Floor 5 is used for parking as well as drop-offs and pick-ups for taxis and shuttles to rental car lots and off-site parking. The fifth floor also contains the baggage carousels and security checkpoints. The sixth floor is used for passenger dropoff and check-in counters.

Passengers are routed first to airline ticket counters or kiosks on the sixth floor for checking in. Since all gates at Denver are in the outlying concourses, passengers clear security at one of three different checkpoints: one at each end of the main terminal, each of which has its own bank of escalators that lead down to the trains; as well as a smaller one at the end of the pedestrian bridge to Concourse A.

In 2018, work began on a major interior renovation and reconfiguration including the beginning phases of construction to relocate 2 out of the 3 TSA security checkpoints from the Great Hall on Level 5 to Level 6 (East & West) while simultaneously updating and consolidating airline ticket counters/check-in for all airlines. Eventually, both pre and post security gathering and leisure areas will be incorporated into the spaces where both expansive TSA security areas on Level 5 are currently located. This will bring back the original intent and use of the Great Hall as a large commons area for airport patrons and visitors to enjoy. This phased project to the terminal, along with an ongoing 39-gate expansion project to all three concourses and a few other capital improvement projects - such as the inclusion of 26 new cars to the Automated Guideway Transit System connecting the terminal to the concourses, is expected to be completed by the end of 2021 with a total price tag of around $3.5 billion.

The pedestrian bridge connecting the terminal to Concourse A is the longest single span bridge in the United States and can allow certain aircraft to taxi freely below. [19]

Concourses[edit]

Moving walkways in Concourse C

DIA has three midfield concourses, spaced far apart. Concourse A is accessible via a pedestrian bridge directly from the terminal building, as well as via the underground train system that services all three concourses. For access to Concourses B and C, passengers must utilize the train. Once in 1998 and again once in 2012, the train system encountered technical problems and shut down for several hours, creating tremendous back-logs of passengers in the main terminal since no pedestrian walkways exist between the terminal and the B and C Concourses. On both occasions, buses had to be used because of the train problems.[20]

The concourses and main terminal are laid out similarly to Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The main difference is that DIA has no satellite unit of T gates directly attached to the terminal, and the spacing between the concourses at DIA is much greater than the spacing between the concourses in Atlanta. This allows for maximum operating efficiency as aircraft can push back from their gate while other taxiing aircraft can still taxi through the alley behind them without delay.

In July 2017, the city of Denver approved a project management contract to add a total of 26 gates combined to the three existing concourses (A, B & C).[21] In November 2017 that number was revised and increased to 39 additional gates or from the current 137 gates to 176 gates, a 28% increase. The project and the contracts for the architectural and construction work was approved by the Denver city council on November 13, 2017.[22] The gate expansion project mirrors a $1.8 billion phased renovation and reconfiguration to Jeppesen Terminal which began in the spring of 2018 and is expected to finish by 2021. When both the terminal renovation and concourse expansions are completed, the airport should be able to handle upwards of 90 million passengers per year. The airport is currently (as of 2017) built to handle 50 million passengers and saw over 61 million pass through in 2017, an increase of over 5% from 2016 passenger totals.

Overhead view of the Concourse C train station

Concourse A has 38 gates.[23] Twelve of these gates are equipped to handle international arrivals, and five gates are equipped to handle wide-body aircraft, of which two have twin jet bridges labeled A and B. Concourse A handles all international arrivals at the airport (excluding airports with border preclearance), as well as the departing flights of all international carriers serving Denver. Furthermore, all domestic airlines, except for Alaska, Southwest, Spirit, and United, use this concourse, with Frontier Airlines having the largest presence.

At the time of the airport's opening, Concourse A was to be solely used by Continental Airlines for its Denver hub. However, due to its emergence from bankruptcy, as well as fierce competition from United Airlines, Continental chose to dismantle its hub immediately after the opening, and only operated a handful of gates on A, before eventually moving to Concourse B prior to its merger with United.[24]

Two lounges are located on the top floor of the central section of Concourse A: the shared American Airlines Admirals Club/British Airways Executive Club Lounge, and a Delta Air Lines Sky Club, the latter of which opened in 2016 in the location of the former USO lounge.[25]

In May 2018, construction began on a 12-gate expansion to the west end of Concourse A. The first five gates are expected to be completed by June 2020 with the remaining project to be completed by December 2020. Some of the new gates will be additional gates capable of handling larger wide-body aircraft for international flights with direct access to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. In early 2018 a temporary concourse extension opened at the east end of A to help mitigate plane traffic during construction and gate reconfiguration within the concourse. It is expected to be removed once construction finishes. When finished, gate capacity in Concourse A will be increased by nearly 32% to 50 gates.

Concourse B has 70 gates.[23] United Airlines is the sole occupant of Concourse B. Mainline United flights operate from the main concourse building, whereas United Express operations are primarily handled at the east end of the concourse, which currently includes two concourse extensions for smaller regional planes.

Former tenants of Concourse B include Continental Airlines and US Airways. Both airlines relocated there in November 2009 after United reached an agreement with DIA to allocate five gates at the western end of the concourse for use by its domestic Star Alliance partners. United would regain control of the three Continental gates after the merger between the two airlines. And as in February 2015, US Airways relocated the operations of their two gates to Concourse A as part of its merger process with American Airlines.[26]

There are two United Clubs on the second floor of Concourse B, situated about an equal distance away from the people mover station: one near gate B32 and the other near gate B44.

In May 2018, construction began on an 11-gate expansion to Concourse B. Four regular gates will be added to the west end and seven regional gates to the east end ultimately creating a 2nd regional jet concourse extension mirroring an existing one that opened in 2007. Completion is expected by May 2020. When finished, gate capacity in Concourse B will be increased by nearly 16% to 81 gates.

Concourse C has 29 gates. Southwest Airlines is the primary occupant of the concourse with only two other airlines; Alaska Airlines and Spirit Airlines utilizing the concourse. A recent expansion added five new gates to the west end of the concourse. The expansion, which was completed in September 2014 at a cost of $46 million, allowed Southwest to consolidate all of its operations onto Concourse C (prior to the expansion, Southwest was using two gates on Concourse A, which it had inherited from its merger with AirTran Airways).[27]

In May 2018, construction began on a 16-gate expansion to the east end of Concourse C. The project is expected to be completed by January 2021. When finished, gate capacity in Concourse C will be increased by nearly 55% to 45 gates.

Hotel and Transit Center[edit]

The DIA Hotel and Transit Center is made up of three integrated functional areas: hotel, public land transportation, and public plaza.

A $544 million construction project was recently completed (April 2016) directly connecting a hotel and transit center to the Jeppesen terminal. The project includes a commuter rail train station, run by Regional Transportation District's (RTD) FasTracks system and a 519-room hotel and conference center, run by Westin Hotels & Resorts. The hotel opened November 19, 2015[28] and the commuter rail service began on April 22, 2016. Gensler and AndersonMasonDale Architects were the architects for the project. The builder of the project was MHS, a tri-venture composed of Mortenson Construction, Hunt Construction and Saunders Construction.[29] Construction had begun on October 5, 2011.[30][31] The rail station is located underneath the hotel with a 150 foot (46 m) canopy extending out and south from the hotel over the tracks for protection from weather. The rail service provides a direct connection between Denver Union Station and the airport for both visitors and locals. There is also room for expanded rail service to/from the airport, if needed. RTD regional bus bays directly connecting cities like Aurora, Boulder and Westminster can also be found under the Hotel and adjacent to the Transit Center and rail lines. An 82,000 square-foot public plaza between the hotel and main terminal is one of Denver's newest venues for arts and entertainment and provides an area for travelers and visitors to relax and enjoy art, food, drinks, seasonal outdoor activities, sunshine and spanning views of the Rocky Mountains to the west and the Great Plains to the east without having to leave the airport.[32] The plaza is operated by Denver Arts and Venues, the City and County of Denver agency that operates Denver owned entertainment venues.

Ground transportation[edit]

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) operates three bus routes under the frequent airport express bus service called skyRide, as well as one Express bus route and one Limited bus route, between DIA and various locations throughout the Denver-Aurora and Boulder metropolitan areas. RTD also operates the University of Colorado A Line, a commuter rail line that runs between the airport and Union Station in Downtown Denver.

Scheduled bus service is also available to points such as Fort Collins, Colorado and van services stretch into Nebraska, Wyoming, and Colorado summer and ski resort areas. Amtrak offers a Fly-Rail plan for ticketing with United Airlines for trips into scenic areas in the Western U.S. via a Denver stopover.

Rail service[edit]

The Regional Transportation District's airport rail link is an electric commuter rail line that runs from Denver Union Station to the DIA Hotel and Transit Center. Under a sponsorship agreement called "University of Colorado A Line" and also called the "East Rail Line" connects passengers between downtown Denver and Denver International Airport in about 37 minutes. The line connects to RTD's rail service that runs throughout the metro area. The A Line is a 22.8-mile commuter rail transit corridor connecting these two important areas while serving adjacent employment centers, neighborhoods and development areas in Denver and Aurora. The A Line was constructed and funded as part of the Eagle P3 public-private partnership and opened for service on April 22, 2016.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Passenger[edit]

AirlinesDestinationsRefs
Aeroméxico Seasonal: Mexico City [33]
Aeroméxico Connect Seasonal: Monterrey [33]
Air Canada Toronto–Pearson
Seasonal: Montréal–Trudeau
[34]
Air Canada Express Vancouver
Seasonal: Montréal–Trudeau
[34]
Alaska Airlines Seattle/Tacoma [35]
Allegiant Air Asheville, Bellingham, Cincinnati [36]
American Airlines Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, Phoenix–Sky Harbor [37]
American Eagle Los Angeles
Seasonal: Chicago–O'Hare
[37]
Boutique Air Alamosa (CO), Alliance, Chadron, Cortez, Dodge City, McCook, Telluride [38]
British Airways London–Heathrow [39]
California Pacific Airlines Carlsbad (begins March 15, 2019),[40] Pierre, Watertown (SD) [41]
Cayman Airways Seasonal: Grand Cayman (begins March 13, 2019)[42] [43]
Copa Airlines Panama City [44]
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York–JFK, New York–LaGuardia, Salt Lake City, Seattle/Tacoma [45]
Delta Connection Los Angeles, Salt Lake City
Seasonal: Cincinnati
[45]
Edelweiss Air Seasonal: Zürich [46]
Frontier Airlines Albuquerque, Atlanta, Austin, Birmingham (AL), Bloomington/Normal, Boise, Buffalo, Calgary, Cancún, Charleston (SC), Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus–Glenn, Dallas/Fort Worth, Des Moines, El Paso, Greenville/Spartanburg, Harrisburg, Houston–Intercontinental, Huntsville, Indianapolis, Jackson (MS), Jacksonville (FL), Kansas City, Lafayette (LA), Las Vegas, Little Rock, Los Angeles, Madison, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Nashville, New Orleans, Norfolk, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Ontario, Orange County, Orlando, Pensacola, Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Pittsburgh, Portland (ME), Portland (OR), Raleigh/Durham, Reno/Tahoe, Sacramento, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Jose (CA), San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Seattle/Tacoma, Syracuse, Tampa, Tucson, Tulsa, Washington–Dulles, Washington–National, Wichita
Seasonal: Albany, Bismarck, Bozeman, Branson (begins April 13, 2019), Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, Detroit, Fargo, Fort Myers, Fresno, Grand Rapids, Greensboro, Harlingen, Jackson Hole, Knoxville, Louisville, Missoula, Myrtle Beach, New York–LaGuardia, Palm Springs, Philadelphia, Providence, Puerto Vallarta, San José del Cabo, Sioux Falls, Savannah, Spokane
[47]
Icelandair Reykjavík–Keflavík [48]
JetBlue Airways Boston, New York–JFK [49]
Denver Air Connection Riverton, Sheridan (WY) [50]
Lufthansa Frankfurt, Munich [51]
Norwegian Air Shuttle London–Gatwick
Seasonal: Paris–Charles de Gaulle
[52]
Southwest Airlines Albany, Albuquerque, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boise, Boston, Buffalo (resumes June 9, 2019), Burbank, Cancún, Chicago–Midway, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus–Glenn, Dallas–Love, Detroit, El Paso, Fort Lauderdale, Grand Rapids, Hartford, Houston–Hobby, Indianapolis, Jacksonville (FL), Kansas City, Las Vegas, Long Beach, Louisville, Los Angeles, Lubbock, Memphis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Nashville, New Orleans, New York–LaGuardia, Newark, Oakland, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Ontario, Orange County (CA), Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Pittsburgh, Puerto Vallarta, Portland (OR), Raleigh/Durham, Reno/Tahoe, Sacramento, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose (CA), Seattle/Tacoma, Spokane, San José del Cabo, Tampa, Tucson, Tulsa, Washington–Dulles
Seasonal: Belize City, Charleston (SC), Fort Myers, Norfolk, Panama City (FL), Pensacola
[53]
Spirit Airlines Austin (begins February 14, 2019),[54] Baltimore, Chicago–O'Hare, Orlando (begins February 28, 2019),[55] Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Houston–Intercontinental, Las Vegas, New Orleans (begins February 14, 2019)[56]
Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul
[57]
Sun Country Airlines Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul
United Airlines Albuquerque, Anchorage, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Billings, Boise, Boston, Bozeman, Burbank, Cancún, Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas/Fort Worth, Des Moines, Detroit, Eugene, Fort Lauderdale, Frankfurt (begins May 2, 2019),[58] Hartford, Honolulu, Houston–Intercontinental, Indianapolis, Jacksonville (FL), Kahului, Kansas City, Kailua–Kona, Las Vegas, Lihue, Los Angeles, Madison, Medford, Memphis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Missoula, New Orleans, New York–LaGuardia, Newark, Norfolk, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Ontario, Orange County (CA), Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Pittsburgh, Portland (OR), Puerto Vallarta, Raleigh/Durham, Reno/Tahoe, Richmond, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose (CA), San José del Cabo, Seattle/Tacoma, Sioux Falls, Spokane, Tampa, Tokyo–Narita, Toronto–Pearson, Tucson, Tulsa, Vancouver, Washington–Dulles, Washington–National, Wichita
Seasonal: Calgary, Columbus–Glenn, Cozumel, Eagle/Vail, Edmonton, Fairbanks (begins June 6, 2019),[59] Fort Myers, Grand Rapids, Jackson Hole, Kalispell, Liberia (CR), London–Heathrow, Miami, Montrose, Nashville, Palm Springs, Sarasota (begins March 9, 2019), St. Louis, West Palm Beach (begins March 9, 2019) [60]
[61]
United Express Albuquerque, Amarillo, Appleton, Aspen, Atlanta, Austin, Bakersfield, Billings, Birmingham (AL), Bismarck, Boise, Bozeman, Burbank, Calgary, Casper, Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, Charleston (SC) (begins June 6, 2019),[62] Charlotte, Cleveland, Cody, Colorado Springs, Columbia (MO), Columbus–Glenn, Dallas/Fort Worth, Dayton, Des Moines, Devils Lake, Dickinson, Durango (CO), Eagle/Vail, Edmonton, El Paso, Eugene, Eureka (begins June 6, 2019),[63] Everett (begins March 31, 2019),[64] Fargo, Fayetteville/Bentonville, Flagstaff (begins March 31, 2019),[65] Fresno, Gillette, Grand Junction, Grand Rapids, Great Falls, Gunnison/Crested Butte, Hayden/Steamboat Springs, Hays, Helena, Houston–Intercontinental, Huntsville, Idaho Falls, Indianapolis, Jackson Hole, Jamestown (ND), Kalispell, Kansas City, Kearney, Knoxville, Laramie, Liberal, Lincoln, Little Rock, Louisville, Lubbock, Madison, Medford, Memphis, Midland/Odessa, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minot, Missoula, Moab, Monterey, Moline/Quad Cities, Montrose, Nashville, New Orleans, North Platte, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Palm Springs, Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Prescott, Pueblo, Rapid City, Redmond/Bend, Reno/Tahoe, Richmond, Rock Springs, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Jose (CA), San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Fe, Santa Rosa (begins March 8, 2019),[66] Scottsbluff, Shreveport, Sioux Falls, Spokane, Springfield/Branson, St. George (UT), St. Louis, Tri-Cities (WA), Tucson, Tulsa, Vancouver, Vernal, Wichita, Williston, Winnipeg
Seasonal: Cincinnati, Mammoth Lakes (begins December 19, 2018),[67] North Bend/Coos Bay, Seattle/Tacoma, Sun Valley, Traverse City
[61]
Volaris Chihuahua, Guadalajara, Mexico City [68]
WestJet Calgary [69]

Cargo[edit]

AirlinesDestinations
AirNet Express Columbus–Rickenbacker
Amazon Air Cincinnati, Ontario
Bemidji Airlines Colby, Goodland, McCook, North Platte, Sidney, Trinidad
DHL Aviation Cincinnati, Reno/Tahoe
FedEx Express Billings, Fort Worth/Alliance, Fresno, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Memphis, Oakland, Phoenix–Sky Harbor, San Jose
Seasonal: Houston– Intercontinental
IAG Cargo London–Heathrow
Lufthansa Cargo Frankfurt, Munich
UPS Airlines Billings, Burbank, Chicago/Rockford, Louisville, Ontario, Reno/Tahoe, Salt Lake City, Seattle–Boeing
Seasonal: Hartford

Statistics[edit]

Lufthansa 747-400 at gate A41 during a snowstorm in 2016. Lufthansa flies daily between Denver and Frankfurt, Germany using the Boeing 747-400 and daily between Denver and Munich, Germany using an Airbus A350-900. Nearly 368,000 Lufthansa passengers flew through DEN in 2017 making it the airport's largest international flag carrier.

Top destinations[edit]

Icelandair flies daily (twice daily during peak season) using a Boeing 757-200 between Denver and Reykjavík–Keflavík, Iceland.
A British Airways Boeing 777-200ER taxis towards Concourse A. A larger British Airways Boeing 747-400 now serves the route between DEN and LHR.
A United Boeing 787 taxiing between Concourses A and B. Denver sees daily transpacific service to Tokyo–Narita as well as transatlantic service to London-Heathrow on United's 787.
Busiest domestic routes from DEN (September 2017 - August 2018)[70]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 California Los Angeles, California 1,276,560 American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest, Spirit, United
2 Arizona Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Arizona 1,028,590 American, Frontier, Southwest, United
3 Illinois Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 997,780 American, Frontier, Spirit, United
4 Nevada Las Vegas, Nevada 996,250 Frontier, Southwest, Spirit, United
5 California San Francisco, California 988,710 Frontier, Southwest, United
6 Washington (state) Seattle/Tacoma, Washington 933,440 Alaska, Delta, Frontier, Southwest, United
7 Georgia (U.S. state) Atlanta, Georgia 836,760 Delta, Frontier, Southwest, United
8 Minnesota Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota 828,530 Delta, Frontier, Southwest, Spirit, Sun Country, United
9 Texas Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 816,200 American, Frontier, Spirit, United
10 Utah Salt Lake City, Utah 812,170 Delta, Frontier, Southwest, United
All international routes from DEN (Jan. 2017 – Dec. 2017)[71]
Rank Airport 2016 Passengers 2017 Passengers Annual Change Carriers
1 Mexico Cancún, Mexico 451,619 447,000 Decrease0-1.0% Frontier, Southwest, United
2 Canada Vancouver, Canada 180,649 224,239 Increase024.13% Air Canada, United
3 Canada Toronto–Pearson, Canada 218,961 221,310 Increase01.1% Air Canada, United
4 Germany Frankfurt, Germany 216,713 214,983 Decrease0-0.79% Lufthansa
5 United Kingdom London–Heathrow, United Kingdom 193,136 195,764 Increase01.3% British Airways
6 Canada Calgary, Canada 153,079 173,468 Increase013.32% Frontier, United, WestJet
7 Mexico San José del Cabo, Mexico 123,242 165,357 Increase034.2% Frontier, Southwest, United
8 Mexico Puerto Vallarta, Mexico 169,342 164,256 Decrease0 -3.0% Frontier, Southwest, United
9 Germany Munich, Germany 68,347 152,386 Increase0123% Lufthansa
10 Japan Tokyo–Narita, Japan 136,916 138,975 Increase01.5% United
11 Iceland Reykjavik–Keflavik, Iceland 94,452 106,272 Increase012.5% Icelandair
12 Canada Edmonton, Canada 58,366 90,474 Increase055.0% United
13 Mexico Mexico City, Mexico 60,728 80,632 Increase032.78% Aeroméxico, United, Volaris
14 Canada Winnipeg, Canada 50,794 44,771 Decrease011.8% United
15 Canada Montréal, Canada 24,899 44,502 Increase078.7% Air Canada
16 Mexico Guadalajara, Mexico 35,198 34,779 Decrease0-1.2% Volaris
17 United Kingdom London–Gatwick, United Kingdom N/A 18,757 N/A Norwegian Air Shuttle
18 Mexico Chihuahua, Mexico 13,949 11,869 Decrease0-14.9% Volaris
19 Mexico Monterrey, Mexico 3,029 11,791 Increase0289% Aeroméxico
20 Panama Panama City, Panama N/A 3,297 Increase0N/A Copa
21 Mexico Cozumel, Mexico N/A N/A N/A United
22 Belize Belize City, Belize N/A N/A N/A Southwest
23 Costa Rica Liberia, Costa Rica N/A N/A N/A United
24 Switzerland Zurich, Switzerland N/A N/A N/A Edelweiss
25 France Paris–Charles de Gaulle, France N/A N/A N/A Norwegian Air Shuttle
26 Cayman Islands Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands N/A N/A N/A Cayman Airways

Annual traffic[edit]

Annual passenger traffic (enplaned + deplaned) at DEN, 1996 through 2017[72]
Year Passengers Δ thereof

intern.

Year Passengers Δ thereof

intern.

Year Passengers Δ thereof

intern.

1996 32,296,174 1.0% 2006 47,326,506 Increase09.1% 4.0% 2016 58,266,515 Increase07.9% 4.0%
1997 34,969,837 Increase08.3% 1.1% 2007 49,863,352 Increase05.4% 4.4% 2017 61,379,396 Increase05.3% 4.2%
1998 36,831,400 Increase05.3% 1.4% 2008 51,245,334 Increase02.8% 4.3%
1999 38,034,017 Increase03.2% 1.9% 2009 50,167,485 Decrease02.1% 3.8%
2000 38,751,687 Increase01.9% 2.2% 2010 51,985,038 Increase03.6% 3.7%
2001 36,092,806 Decrease06.9% 2.3% 2011 52,849,132 Increase01.7% 3.2%
2002 35,652,084 Decrease01.2% 2.2% 2012 53,156,278 Increase00.6% 3.3%
2003 37,505,267 Increase05.2% 2.5% 2013 52,556,359 Decrease01.1% 3.7%
2004 42,275,913 Increase012.7% 2.9% 2014 53,472,514 Increase01.7% 4.1%
2005 43,387,369 Increase02.6% 3.7% 2015 54,014,502 Increase01.0% 4.1%

Airline Market Share[edit]

Airline Market Share (January 2017 - December 2017)[73]
Rank Carrier Passengers Share
1 United Airlines 25,900,441 42.2%
2 Southwest Airlines 18,230,471 29.7%
3 Frontier Airlines 6,990,526 11.4%
4 American Airlines 3,363,020 5.5%
5 Delta Air Lines 3,292,733 5.3%
6 Other 3,602,223 5.9%

Features[edit]

Aesthetics[edit]

The Teflon-coated fiberglass roof of Denver International Airport resembles the Rocky Mountains

The Jeppesen Terminal's internationally recognized peaked roof, designed by Fentress Bradburn Architects, resembles snow-capped mountains and evokes the early history of Colorado when Native American teepees were located across the Great Plains. The catenary steel cable system, similar to the Brooklyn Bridge design supports the fabric roof. DIA is also known for a pedestrian bridge connecting the terminal to Concourse A that allows travelers to view planes taxiing beneath them and has views of the Rocky Mountains to the West and the high plains to the East.

Art[edit]

Both during construction and after opening, DIA has set aside a portion of its construction and operation budgets for art. Gargoyles hiding in suitcases are present above exit doors from baggage claims. The corridor from the main terminal and Concourse A usually contains additional temporary exhibits. Finally, a number of different public art works are present in the underground train that links the main terminal with concourses.

Blue Mustang[edit]

Blue Mustang, by El Paso born artist Luis Jiménez, was one of the earliest public art commissions for Denver International Airport in 1993. The 32 feet (9.8 m) tall Blue Mustang is a bright blue cast-fiberglass sculpture with glowing red eyes located between the inbound and outbound lanes of Peña Boulevard.[74] Jiménez was killed in 2006 at age 65 while creating the sculpture when part of it fell on him and severed an artery in his leg. At the time of his death, Jiménez had completed painting the head of the mustang. Blue Mustang was completed by others, and unveiled at the airport on February 11, 2008.[75] The statue has been the subject of considerable controversy, and has acquired the nickname Blucifer for its demonic appearance.[76][77]

Other[edit]

A statue of Jack Swigert in Concourse B

Other DIA Art Commissions have been awarded to artists Leo Tanguma, Gary Sweeney,[78] and Gary Yazzie.[79]

DIA's Art Collection was recently honored by the publishers of USA TODAY, for being of the ten best airports for public art[80] in the United States.

The airport also features a bronze statue of astronaut, Congressman-elect and Denver native Jack Swigert. Swigert, who flew on Apollo 13 as Command Module Pilot, was elected to the House of Representatives in 1982, but died of cancer before he was sworn in. The statue is dressed in an A7L pressure suit, and is posed holding a gold-plated helmet. It is a duplicate of a statue placed at the United States Capitol in 1997.[81]

Solar energy system[edit]

Denver International Airport currently has four solar photovoltaic arrays on airport property, with a total capacity of 10 megawatts or 16 million kilowatt-hours of solar electricity annually.[82]

Partial view of the solar farm under construction, leaving the airport, July 1, 2008.
Solar I

In mid 2008, Denver International Airport inaugurated a $13 million solar farm situated on 7.5 acres directly south of Jeppesen Terminal between Peña Boulevard's inbound and outbound lanes. The solar farm consists of more than 9,200 solar panels that follow the sun to maximize efficient energy production and generate more than 3.4 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year. Owned and run by a specialist independent energy company, Fotowatio Renewable Ventures, its annual output amounts to around 50 percent of the electricity required to operate the train system that runs between the airport's terminal and gate areas.[83] By using this solar-generated power, DEN will reduce its carbon emissions as much as five million pounds each year.

Solar II

In December 2009, a $7 million, 1.6-megawatt solar project on approximately nine acres north of the airport's airfield went into operation. The array is a project that involves MP2 Capital and Oak Leaf Energy Partners generating over 2.7 million kilowatt-hours of clean energy annually and provides approximately 100 percent of the airport's fuel farm's electricity consumption.[82]

Solar III

A third solar installation situated on 28 acres, dedicated in July 2011, is a 4.4MW complex, expected to generate 6.9 million kilowatt-hours of energy. Intermountain Electric Inc. built the system, with solar panels provided by Yingli Green Energy. The power array will reportedly reduce CO2 emissions by 5,000 metric tons per year.

Solar IV

The airport added its fourth solar power array in June 2014. The $6 million system can generate up to 2MW, or 3.1 million kilowatt-hours of solar electricity annually. It is located north of the airfield and provides electricity directly to the Denver Fire Department's Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) Training Academy.[82]

Denver International Airport's four solar array systems now produce approximately six percent of the airport's total power requirements.[84] The output makes DEN the largest distributed generation photovoltaic energy producer in the state of Colorado,[85] and the second-largest solar array among U.S. airports.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On September 5, 2001, a British Airways Boeing 777 caught on fire while it was being refueled at the gate. None of the deplaning passengers or crew were injured, but the refueler servicing the aircraft died from his injuries six days after the fire. The NTSB found that the accident occurred due to a failure of the aircraft's refueling ring when the fuel hose was torn out of it at an improper angle.[86]
  • On February 16, 2007, 14 aircraft suffered windshield failures within a three-and-a-half-hour period at the airport. A total of 26 windshields on these aircraft failed. The NTSB opened an investigation, determining that foreign object damage was the cause, possibly the sharp sand used earlier that winter for traction purposes combined with wind gusts of 48 mph (77 km/h).[87]
  • On December 20, 2008, a Continental Airlines Boeing 737-500 operating as Flight 1404 to Houston–Intercontinental Airport in Houston, TX, veered off the left side of runway 34R, and caught fire, during its takeoff roll at Denver International Airport. There was no snow or ice on the runway, however there were 31 knot (36 mph) crosswinds at the time of the accident. On July 13, 2010 the NTSB published that the probable cause of this accident was the captain's cessation of right rudder input, which was needed to maintain directional control of the airplane. Of the 115 people on board, at least 38 sustained injuries: at least two of these injured critically.[88][89][90]
  • On April 3, 2012, an ExpressJet Embraer ERJ-145, registration N15973, operating as Flight UA/EV-5912 from Peoria, IL to Denver, CO, was landing on 34R when the aircraft hit the approach lights and stopped on the runway. Smoke developed inside the aircraft and passengers were evacuated onto the runway. One passenger was taken to hospital for treatment of his injuries.[91]
  • On July 2, 2017, one of the engines on SkyWest Flight 5869, operating under the United Express brand name caught fire after landing from Aspen. All 59 passengers and 4 crew members were safely evacuated from the CRJ-700. No injuries were reported.[92]

Conspiracy theories and controversy[edit]

Conspiracy theories[edit]

There are several conspiracy theories relating to the airport's design and construction such as the runways being laid out in a shape similar to a swastika. Murals painted in the baggage claim area have been claimed to contain themes referring to future military oppression and a one-world government. However, the artist, Leo Tanguma, said the murals, titled "In Peace and Harmony With Nature" and "The Children of the World Dream of Peace," depict man-made environmental destruction and genocide along with humanity coming together to heal nature and live in peace.[93]

Conspiracists have also seen unusual markings in the terminals in DIA and have recorded them as "Templar" markings.[94] They have pointed to unusual words cut into the floor as being Satanic, Masonic,[95] or some impenetrable secret code of the New World Order: Cochetopa, Sisnaajini and Dzit Dit Gaii. Two of these words are actually misspelled Navajo terms for geographical sites in Colorado. "Braaksma" and "Villarreal" are actually the names of Carolyn Braaksma and Mark Villarreal, artists who worked on the airport's sculptures and paintings.[96]

There is a dedication marker in the airport inscribed with the words "New World Airport Commission". It also is inscribed with the Square and Compasses of the Freemasons, along with a listing of the two Grand Lodges of Freemasonry in Colorado. It is mounted over a time capsule that was sealed during the dedication of the airport, to be opened in 2094.[97]

Robert Blaskiewicz writing for Skeptical Inquirer states that conspiracies about the airport range from the "absurd to the even more absurd". When asking airport media representatives about which conspiracies are associated with the airport, he was told: "You name a conspiracy theory and somehow we seem to be connected to it." Blaskiewicz found that contrary to claims from conspiracy theorists that DIA will not discuss these stories with the public, they also give tours of the airport.[98]

In 2018, the airport parodied the conspiracies themselves in a series of information and publicity boards, centered around the rebuild of the Great Hall, referencing the Illuminati, Reptilians and other strange goings-on.[99]

Land dispute[edit]

Denver and jurisdictions surrounding the airport are involved in a protracted dispute over how to develop land around the facility. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock wants to add commercial development around the airport, but officials in Adams County believe doing so violates the original agreement that allowed Denver to annex the land on which the airport sits.[100]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]