DENVER (KDVR) — Almost 600,000 people passed through Denver International Airport checkpoints during the Thanksgiving holiday, and that’s up 12% from last year.

Airport CEO Phil Washington said the passenger numbers for 2022 are looking similar to those from 2019, pre-pandemic.

While construction on the airport and Great Hall continue, DIA also unveiled artistic renderings for the new Center of Equity and Excellence in Aviation, a 66,000-square-foot facility that will be located on level four of the hotel and transit center.

Washington said it will be a first-of-its-kind training facility that will help create a pipeline of aviation talent for the country.

“We want the Rocky Mountain region to be the place to go to for aviation talent. We want young people in the community, we want young people from underserved communities, we want employees here at DEN who are interested in aviation to pursue it through this Center of Equity and Excellence in Aviation,” Washington said.

Renderings of the Center of Equity and Excellence in Aviation

  • Conceptual rendering of a meeting room with rows of chairs
  • Conceptual rendering of presenters before a group of people in a large room
  • Conceptual rendering of adults and children in a large room
  • Conceptual rendering of adults socializing in a standing cafe-type setting

CEEA is part of the Great Hall Project. The focal point of the center, called the Hall of Equity, will accommodate 300 people for educational purposes. Other lecture halls and lecture rooms will accommodate another 200-300 people.

DIA is planning to accommodate 100 million annual passengers in the next 8-10 years.