Earlier this year, we introduced Vision 100, our strategic plan that helps ensure that Denver International Airport (DEN) is prepared for 100 million annual passengers in the next 8-10 years. When we announced this plan, we promised to report regularly on our progress. I’m happy to report that in the first quarter of 2022, we’ve already made progress in each of our four pillars and I’m excited to share with you some of the highlights.
Progress in Vision 100 Pillars
Powering Our People – this pillar is all about the people who work at DEN and community members who want to be part of DEN today or in the future.
A major initiative of this pillar is the development of a Center of Excellence and Equity in Aviation (CEEA), a first of its kind center that will help underserved communities and prepare current and future employees for a career in aviation. CEEA will be constructed on Level 4 of the Westin Denver International Airport as part of the Great Hall Completion. In the first quarter:
- We defined the scope of CEEA, which will focus on three key areas:
- Business Development Training Academy
- Career Pathways
- Research and Innovation Lab
- We identified a lead design firm, Studio Completiva, which is a certified minority business and is committed to working with more historically underutilized businesses as part of this project. The goal is to reveal design renderings late this year.
- We established a steering committee comprised of representatives from the business community to begin development of a Business Development Training Academy that will provide training for small businesses in a variety of topics relevant to working on contracts at DEN.
Growing Our Infrastructure – this pillar focuses on building new facilities needed to serve 100 million annual passengers.
If you’ve visited the airport recently, you’ve noticed some of our continuing construction projects, including the three-phased Great Hall Project and our four-location Concourse Expansion Program. In the first quarter:
- We received Denver City Council approval for the Great Hall Completion Phase, enabling DEN to complete its terminal renovation. This final phase will construct a second security checkpoint on the northeast side of Level 6; construct new check-in areas for all remaining airlines; upgrade our existing facility such as restrooms, elevators and escalators; develop comfortable spaces to meet and greet travelers on Level 5 and construct CEEA. The design process is already underway and we are preparing for construction to begin later this year!
- We made solid progress on Phase 2 of the Great Hall Project, with the project on schedule and under budget. Construction of the new checkpoint on Level 6 will be completed in Q1 2024 with the entire phase wrapping up by mid-2024.
- We held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of construction work on the C Concourse’s eastern end, adding 16 new gates that are leased by Southwest Airlines. The new expansion area includes an outdoor patio, comfortable seating options, charging stations, new restrooms, nursing rooms, pet relief areas and so much more. There is also space for eight new shopping and dining options that will open in 2023.
- We completed preliminary design for an expansion of ground-load gates on the east end of the A Concourse which will be utilized by Frontier Airlines who also signed a new use and lease agreement keeping the airline at DEN for at least 10 years.
Maintaining What We Have – this pillar focuses on taking care of our 27-year-old airport and managing the wear and tear caused by increasing passenger traffic.
In the first quarter, we conducted a current-state assessment of asset management practices at DEN which will help us create a framework for an improved system in the future.
Expanding Our Global Connections – this pillar focuses on taking advantage of DEN’s mid-continental location and vast land holdings to grow our air service network and cargo operations. In the first quarter:
- We established the Africa Air Service committee, comprised of leaders from across Denver, who will support efforts to establish flights between Denver and Africa. The committee will focus on an in-depth screening process to identify the airlines and markets that provide the best opportunities for flights to Denver. The first meeting was held on Feb. 23.
- We expanded service on United Airlines with service to Butte, MT, a previously unserved destination.
- We added competitive service to Appleton, WI with the addition of an Allegiant flight.
These are just the highlights of our accomplishments over the first quarter and I’m proud of what we have achieved so far. As we work towards Vision 100, we will continue to listen to the needs of our business partners, airlines, passengers and community.
In fact, another first quarter accomplishment was the creation of a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) comprised of 16 Coloradoans across the Denver metro are who will provide advice on the various airport projects, initiatives and programs; assist with the review and discussion of airport plans; advise airport leadership in planning for issues of interest to the CAC; and advise airport leadership on the best way of seeking public input as appropriate.
With the help of the CAC and all of our stakeholders, we will make significant strives towards achieving Vision 100 while also making DEN an airport we can all be proud of.
Until next time,
Phillip A. Washington