The Denver International Airport is one of the fastest growing airports in the US. Since it’s opening in 1996, the airport has seen a growth of over 32.2 million passengers with 2018 seeing nearly 64.5 million passengers. The airport has seen the most growth over the past 6 years. With this growth, it has many wondering “what the future is for the airport?” According to Denver International Airport’s CEO, Kim Day “I don’t think there is a limiting factor for DEN. What I envision is that, at some point, major coast to hubs like LAX, SFO, JFK and ATL will hit a capacity limit. The result will be the shift of their hubbing activity to inland airports with strong domestic networks such as Denver, and the coastal hubs will shift to a higher percentage of origin and destination traffic to support their catchment basin residents. We currently have the fourth strongest domestic network in the US… our mid-continent location makes us ideal to operate as a mega hub.” As said in the Airliners of the World Magazine Jan/Feb 2018 issue.
So, how does Denver plan to expand?
Over the past couple of years, Denver has had a large increase of service from United, Frontier, Southwest, Delta and American. These routes are what makes Denver a major city for flight connections. This leads me into the first step for making Denver a “mega hub.” One of the most important aspects that airports like JFK, LAX, ORD, and ATL have is a strong flow of International traffic. Over the past couple of years, Denver has had a healthy increase in International traffic. As of June, 2019, here are the newest additions to DENs International traffic:
- London-Gatwick (Norwegian) – September 2017
- Panama City (Copa Airlines) – December 2017
- Cozumel (United Airlines) – December 2017
- Calgary (WestJet) – March 2018
- London-Heathrow (United Airlines) – March 2018
- Paris (Norwegian) – April 2018
- Calgary (Frontier Airlines) – May 2018
- Zurich (Edelweiss) – June 2018
- Grand Cayman (Cayman Airways) – March 2019
This increase since 2017, has not only been very beneficial for passengers wanting to fly through Denver but the increase has got the attention of other international carriers such as Turkish Airlines, Air China and United Airlines who is trying to rebrand it’s Denver hub. The main reason Denver has had a boom in international traffic is because Denver is increasing as a hub, and is not because more people want to visit Denver. While Denver is growing at an exponential rate, most of the demand has come from people who don’t want to fly through current day hubs such as LAX. As I mentioned before, many large airports are reaching full capacity which creates higher costs not only for the airline operating at these hubs but for the passengers as well. Denver International Airport has over 53 square miles of space that could be used for expansion. This means that airlines are turning their heads toward Denver because of how much cheaper it is to operate not only for them but for the passengers as well. You can read more about how Denver gets international routes here:
How will the Airport grow in the upcoming years?
Denver has done very well in cooperating with an increase in service. They currently are undergoing a $1.8 Billion renovation of the Great Hall and a $1.5 Billion expansion of all three concourses which will add 39 gates and bring the airport capacity to 80 million passengers a year. This is all a part of Denver’s Master Plan for the airport. Between 2020 and 2025, DEN plans to add 4 more runways, concourse D , 100 more gates, and more public spacing. By 2030 and beyond, Denver wants to add another terminal, concourse E, and possibly a separate concourse to the South where the current private and cargo operations are.
What are your thoughts?
What do you think the future of Denver International Airport will be? Will Denver become a mega hub? Will Denver stick to it’s master plan? What improvements do you think DEN should make? Discuss your opinions below. 👇
If you did read the entire report, you get an extra gold star 🌟
Pt. 1 of future of KDEN: