Data released this spring by Denver International Airport ranked it third in passenger volume during 2021. With 58.8 million passengers throughout the year, only Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport had more passengers.
DIA has been planning and expanding for years to keep up with growing demand. The airport released its Vision 100 Plan last fall, with the goal of expanding infrastructure to handle 100 million passengers annually in the next eight to 10 years.
Under DIA’s current major projects, there are two that have made progress in meeting capacity for today’s demand, although some have faced turbulence on the road to completion.
Gate Expansion Program
DIA has plans to build 39 new concourse gates to increase the airport’s capacity by 30%. This is separate from the expansion that broke ground Monday, with Frontier building five more gates in Concourse A.
The project spans all three concourses at DIA and focuses on expanding the east, west or both wings of a given concourse.
While half of these projects are completed, a spokesperson for DIA said the remaining 19 gates from the A-West project and B-East project are still on track to be operational by the fall of 2022.
The overall project is set to add more amenities, like dining and shopping options and more seating and charging stations for passengers.
Great Hall Project
Despite DIA terminating a contract with the original developers, the Great Hall Project’s first phase came in around $30 million under budget when it wrapped up construction in October of 2021.
The project does several things, including adding 31,000 square feet to the Jeppesen Terminal, new ticketing areas for United and Southwest, more restrooms and higher balconies. The second will focus on a new security checkpoint on the airport’s sixth level.
The big impact this will have on travel is reducing the bottleneck that currently happens through the TSA checkpoint. DIA says the new checkpoint and the ability to add more screening lanes will increase capacity by 60%.
The second phase of the Great Hall Project is set to be finished by mid-year 2024. The completion phase of the project won’t be finished until 2028.
DIA CEO Phil Washington revealed the Vision 100 plan with the goal of expanding the airport’s infrastructure and capacity to accommodate 100 million passengers annually over the next eight to 10 years.
“DEN is the state’s primary economic engine and by developing a plan, tracking our progress, measuring our success and investing in the airport, we can ensure this economic engine will continue to thrive by creating more business, job and education opportunities while connecting more people across the globe,” Washington said.
DIA’s plan to expand is based on:
- Making DIA a hot spot for hiring aviation crew
- Building expansion to hold a growing number of passengers coming through Denver
- Maintaining the existing building, making repairs and replacements within the facility
- Promoting more business and tourism opportunities through DIA