DENVER (KDVR) — Denver International Airport continues to be one of the busiest in the world and travel headaches could continue through the holidays.
On Friday, DIA CEO Phil Washington provided an update on passenger traffic and the impacts the airport is facing as a result of being the fastest recovering large hub airport in the U.S.
“I’m not sure where all these people are coming from. It’s a phenomenon,” Washington said. “The holiday period will be tough.”
Washington said that DIA needs to build more infrastructure and more lanes.
Currently, there are 28 lanes. Pending council approval, Washington said the lanes will increase to 42.
In the meantime, DIA needs four new lanes to increase to 600 more people per hour.
Washington said TSA has committed to staffing new lanes and sending crews from other places.
TSA is offering bonuses for hiring and retention.
Washington said the strategic location of DIA is leading to the growth, volume, and passengers.
- 2019: 69 million passengers annually
- 2022: anticipate it increasing — 72.8 million passengers expected
The airport is currently designed for 50 million annual passengers, according to Washington.
“We appreciate the patience of the traveling public and we intend to make this better,” shared Washington.
Washington explained “VISION 100”, which is getting DIA ready for 100 million passengers in the next 5-8 years.
There will be four pillars to the plan:
- People trained and ready
- Capital projects
- Globalization — open world & Africa in particular to Colorado
- Taking care of what we already have
Washington also discussed the Great Hall construction happening at DIA.
“There is going to be an impact as we continue this construction project but this work is necessary to increase volumes,” said Washington. “Its’ like renovating your house while still living in it.”
DIA officials said Sunday that the airport is the third busiest airport in the world. The recent snapshot showed only Atlanta and Dallas-Fort Worth as busier airports than Denver worldwide.