Airline schedule decisions reflect the consideration of numerous factors, one of the more important being the general arrival and departure times preferred by travelers. Additionally, airline operating characteristics (including hubbing) and available aircraft fleet influence scheduling. While some airlines operate a generally sustained and even schedule throughout the course of the day, other airlines exhibit more pronounced arrival and departure peaks in activity corresponding to Denver’s role as a hub in a larger route network.
The Master Plan Study is a planning effort focused on projecting long range growth and defining the physical and operational improvements necessary to accommodate that growth. In that context, projections of future activity at DIA including airline scheduling of operations have not been arbitrarily constrained in the analyses.
However, the projections of scheduled airline activity include increases in both the duration and magnitude of the projected activity peaks, yielding still pronounced but broader schedule peaks. With some ability to increase aircraft size (measured by seating capacity) to meet peak activity, airlines with the flexibility to deploy larger aircraft to serve DIA can absorb a level of activity growth before increasing the number of aircraft operations. However, not all airlines operate an aircraft fleet with this flexibility. In these cases, an increase in aircraft operations eventually occurs. Considering fleet, facility (gates), and overall route network integration, future activity growth will occur through all periods of the day, including the periods between peak arrival and departure banks. However, the overall operational characteristics (peaking) of the airline activity at DIA are not predicted to change significantly over the planning horizon given that the Airport largely serves as an airline hub.