Denver International Airport’s Jeppesen Hall
BY BOB SWEENEY
Kim Day, chief executive officer at Denver International Airport (now know as DEN) was the guest speaker at the Denver Lions Club Jan. 8 and reported that The Wall Street Journal” in
November ranked DEN No. 1 among U.S. airports. The scoring was done on the 20 largest airports in 14 categories from on-time flights to reliability to longest walks.
Day gave some fresh DEN statistics relating the airport is the fifth busiest in the U.S serving 61.4 million passengers in 2017 and more than 64 million in 2018, an increase of 4.8 percent annual growth.
She said, “DEN is the Colorado’s largest economic engine adding $26 billion to the economy and employing 35,000 workers and 155,000 indirect jobs.”
“DEN today has over 209 nonstop destinations and connects people around the globe with a growing number of international flights,” she said.
Statistics show that during 2018 DEN added more than 50 new routes with 20 brand-new destinations. Two new airlines were welcomed Edelweiss and WestJet, adding two new nonstop destinations of Paris and Zurich. New service will be launched nonstop to Cayman Island on Cayman Airways starting March 2.
Schedules indicate that United will add service to Frankfurt starting May 2. DEN will celebrate 20 years with British Airways and Frontier’s 25th Anniversary this year.
Day spoke of the growth of the airport with Denver’s booming population and she expects passenger traffic to reach 80 million travelers by 2030, and 110 million annual passengers by 2040.
Continuing to speak about growth she outlined the present $3.5 billion capital improvement program underway at the airport. Some of these projects include the Great Hall, gate expansion and DEN real estate developments. She pointed out that these enhancements will improve airport safety and security, operational efficiency, upgrade systems and optimize revenue potential.
Day explained that passengers may encounter some lines and anticipated waits during construction, but new installed technology will require less space with more self-service components. The baggage claim area will remain the same as it is today.
When the improvements are complete, there will be 34 automated screening lanes with advanced imaging that will work faster than present facilities. New CT scanners could put an end to requirements that flyers remove electronics from carry-ons and limit liquid containers to 3.4 ounces.
Day estimates that lines will only be 30 to 40 people, not hundreds. There will be over 70,000 square feet of new concession space at airport.
She estimated that the expansion and remodel should be completed by the end of 2021.
DEN has 53 square miles or 34,000 acres of land. It appears that 16,000 acres will never be needed for airport operations. The city of Aurora is already planning a commercial development zone surrounding the new Gaylord Hotel adjacent to airport lands and 20,000 new homes are underway for the northern parts of Aurora. The airport has the current authority to develop 1,500 acres as commercial or non-aeronautical usage under Denver jurisdiction.
Looking forward, Day projects a bike/pedestrian trail system connecting to the terminal, ties to future existing and commuter rail stations and shuttle expansion.
Currently, Panasonic is the anchor tenant at the airport that relocated from New Jersey to DEN taking advantage of United’s nonstop flights to Tokyo. Plans are underway for them to build a “Smart City” at the airport location.
She concluded her report stating, “Throughout 2019, we will continue to focus on passenger experience adding new shops and restaurants, lounges and much more.”
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