Future of KDEN Tracking Thread Pt. 2

Hello everyone!

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:



1995 😉

I’m shocked! I’d love to see Denver expand like this… 😍

I’m personally slightly upset that Denver doesn’t have the attention I feel it deserves. With few foreign airlines, the destinations from Denver are limited. I’d love to see other airlines (especially international ones) come into Denver and expand our routes.

Thanks for the new tracking thread! Looking forward to see how the amazing DEN expands.


Two things. Number one is that a few year ago Emirates CONSIDERED adding DEN to their destinations however they decided since there wasnt an efficient enough plane (that is quite a bit smaller than the a380) to suit their needs they scrapped the idea. Maybe they will reconsider it maybe they wont. Number two is Salt Lake City. They are planning to do a full reconstruction (I think) in stages. It will be amazing to see these two airports grow to be International hubs

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That makes sense that Emirates wanted an aircraft that wasn’t as big as the A380. Speaking of which, Denver does have a gate that can accommodate the A380 and since Denver is growing, I bet it is only a matter of time before the A380 is used in Denver.

Shucks 😕 would have been cool to see Emirates at DEN. Maybe in the future?

Turkish Airlines was also seriously considered coming to Denver but the rate of people traveling to Turkey went down 40% because of political tensions.

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Welp 😐 that’s no good. Again… maybe in the future? 😂

Yea. Colorado definitely needs more attention in aviation.

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Y’know, I’m going over the ALP document of the master plan, and I’m just really shocked. They want to add 6(!!!) more runways, and two new terminals at least. I understand the need for new terminals and gates, but the runways…

I’ve begun asking myself… does DEN really need all of those new runways?


Good question. There is still plenty of space to spread out, but 6 more runways is I believe too much. For now at least, I can’t really imagine DEN with 5 satellite concourses and 12 runways right now 😂

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I love it, Denver is my home airport and I’m constantly flying in and out of Denver. I really enjoyed reading this!

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This is over the top. Denver already has so many runways and 3 concourses with plenty of gates in each. Seems like a waste of valuable money to me…


Well it depends on how you look at it. This plan is spread out over decades of time and if the aviation world continues to grow, especially at KDEN, then those extra gates and runways will be what makes Denver a super hub! Remember, the more planes fill those gates, the more money the airport makes.

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In my topic, I never mentioned the cargo base in Denver. Here’s another article by The Colorado Sun on the cargo operations in Denver!


I’ve started to notice that too. When I went spotting on Sunday I saw so many cargo planes lined up at the cargo area. It was the first time I’ve seen so many.

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United Airlines is hinting at another International route to KDEN. What is everyone here hoping for?


I’m hoping for HKG or Somewhere in Europe or SA

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I’d love to see KDEN with 5 concourses and 10 runways I honestly thing Denver is going to be the next biggest airport with the amount of space it has to expand. I’m pretty excited to see KDEN after the planned upgrades.


So, United just announced its new international routes and of course DEN only gets an expansion of it’s DEN-LHR route. I personally am a bit disappointed! What about you guys?

IM soooo disappointed I think we could’ve gotten DEN- Dublin

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