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Two construction projects will impact traffic to and from Denver International Airport (DEN) this week.

Inbound Peña Blvd. lanes (heading to DEN) between Tower Rd. & the RTD bridge will be restored to their pre-existing, permanent alignment. A right inbound lane closure will be in effect from approximately 8 p.m. on May 28 to 4 a.m. on May 29. Additionally, crews will replace a damaged overhead electronic message board sign on May 28 and 29 on outbound Peña Blvd. (leaving DEN). Work is expected to start around 10 p.m. on May 28 and finish around 4 a.m. on May 29, and again around 10 p.m. on May 29 to 4 a.m. on May 30. At approximately 1 a.m., between Tower Road and E 56th Avenue, a slow rolling closure of Peña Boulevard traffic will be implemented for less than 10 minutes. Speeds will be significantly reduced. Crews will be transporting and setting bridge girders on E-470 over outbound Peña Blvd. (leaving DEN) between 11 p.m. on May 30 until 6 a.m. on May 31. Between Jackson Gap Street and E-470, approximately once every hour, slow, rolling closures of Peña will be implemented for approximately seven minutes. Speeds will be significantly reduced during this time.

News and Press

2020 – The Year as Weird as Denver International Airport

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DENVER – Dec. 31, 2020 – We get it, Denver International Airport (DEN) is a little weird, but it’s nowhere near what the world saw in 2020. Aviation along with many other industries have taken a tumble. Despite the uncertainties and challenges, DEN still had some bright spots.

Here’s a list of some of DEN’s key accomplishments from 2020:

DEN’s 25th Birthday

2020 started with a bang as DEN celebrated our “silver” year or 25th birthday on Feb. 28. DEN is the youngest large airport in the United States and has experienced tremendous growth in its 25 years serving just 31 million passengers in 1995 to over 69 million in 2019. DEN generates $33.5 billion in annual economic impact for Colorado and supports nearly 260,000 jobs.

COVID-19 Response

In response to the pandemic, DEN quickly worked to implement new safety measures including plexiglass barriers at security, customer service booths, some airline ticketing desks and concessions. Additional seating in underutilized areas were installed to help with social distancing. More than 100 hand sanitizer stations and wipe dispensers at each gate were installed as well as more than 1,000 signs to remind employees and passengers to social distance, wear masks and wash their hands. Two mask vending machines were even installed to make it easy for passengers to comply with the mask ordinance.

  • From March 2020 to present, around 2.7 million disinfectant wipes have been distributed throughout DEN
  • More than 1,037 gallons of hand sanitizer have been used by passengers and employees
  • DEN team members distributed more than 625,000 cloth masks to airports across the state and to passengers inside the airport

DEN also quickly responded to the projected downturn in revenue due to the decline of travel, and right sized its annual budget to keep the airport financially strong and allow us to help our partner airlines, concessions and tenants.

Airline and Concession Support

DEN developed a relief package to help airport businesses cope with changes due to COVID-19. The package allowed airlines to defer their rent for April, May and June 2020 until the end of the year. DEN also changed the payment owed by concessionaires from a minimum annual guarantee (MAG) to a percentage rent as outlined in their leases. For rental cars, DEN eliminated the MAG, offered low-cost short-term storage for fleets, and deferred three months of rent.

DEN is offering an additional relief package for 2021, which includes support for airlines, concessions and rental car companies.

Passenger Traffic

COVID-19 had a significant impact on passenger traffic and 2020 will be the first year in nearly a decade that DEN does not set a record for passenger traffic. DEN experienced its lowest passenger traffic volumes on April 15, 2020, when 2,026 passengers traveled through DEN Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints, compared to 56,386 on the same weekday the previous year. After starting the spring with a precipitous 96% plunge in passenger traffic, DEN’s traffic has rebounded better than predicted and is above the national average. In fact, from the beginning of the year to present, traffic through the TSA checkpoints is down 62% overall in the U.S. while DEN is only 56%.

Additionally, throughout the summer, DEN was often the number-one ranked airport in the U.S. for TSA throughput. Air travel began meaningful recovery in June and for the 30 weeks from June 1 through Dec. 21., DEN ranked as the #1 or #2 U.S. airport in TSA throughput for 21 of 30 weeks. DEN also ranked #1 or #2 for 20 weeks in a row (June 8 through Oct. 19). Normally, DEN ranks between #4 and #6 for TSA throughput. DEN’s performance speaks directly to our strong domestic demand profile since international travel was minimal through most of 2020.

As airlines added flights back throughout the summer and into the fall, Denver emerged as the top airport for year-over-year seat capacity retention. For each of the last five months of 2020 (August – December), Denver had the most seat capacity (seats on fights leaving daily) as compared to 2019 levels among the 20 busiest U.S. airports. This capacity served not only origination and destination travelers who used the TSA checkpoints, but also accommodated connecting passengers. With fewer nonstop options available due to low demand, DEN is experiencing an increase in connecting passengers as a percent of total passengers moving through the airport.

Air Service

This was a year like no other for airlines operating at DEN. Although there were 75 days in 2020 when DEN did not have international service (between April 2 and June 15), international flights are slowly returning, and DEN will close out the year with nonstop flights to 16 international destinations in six countries. This includes the addition of a new destination to the airport’s international air service network with the launch of new nonstop flights on United to San Jose, Costa Rica in December.

DEN’s domestic network has been a bright spot during the pandemic, and the airport currently provides nonstop service to more than 160 domestic destinations in 43 states. Throughout the year, airlines announced the addition of competitive service on 16 domestic routes, and four new domestic destinations were added to DEN’s network:

  • Cheyenne, Wyoming (United)
  • Provo, Utah (Allegiant)
  • Rochester, Minnesota (United)
  • Sioux City, Iowa (United)

To wrap up 2020, 17 of DEN’s 23 airlines are now operating, and Denver ends the year as the largest station for three airlines – Frontier, Southwest and United.

New Leases for More Gates

This year, two of DEN’s largest airlines signed new use and lease agreements renting all the additional gates being constructed at DEN. United Airlines will eventually operate out of 90 gates including all new gates on Concourse A-West and Concourse B while Southwest Airlines will operate out of 40 gates including all new gates on Concourse C. The new leases extend until 2035, reconfirming our two largest airlines’ commitment to DEN.

Financial

For the first time, DEN prepared a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) and submitted this report to the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) as part of the process to obtain the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting. The CAFR includes operational and statistical information which provides bondholders and rating agencies a better understanding of DEN’s financial results and provides assurance of the Annual Financial Statements. And, in the midst of the pandemic, DEN refunded airport debt to provide a cost savings to the airport of $58 million over the next few years and was able to reaffirm its positive credit ratings, despite the challenges the aviation industry faced this year.

Gate Expansion Progress

Extensive progress was made on DEN’s $1.5 billion Gate Expansion Program this year, ensuring nearly 1,000 construction jobs and keeping the project on time and on budget. In November, DEN completed the first of four expansion areas with the opening of four new gates, six holdrooms, and several new passenger amenities on Concourse B-West, including DEN’s first outdoor patio. Take a tour of the new space here.

Additionally, the three remaining expansion areas on Concourses A, B and C celebrated “topping out” milestones — putting the final structural beams into place and completing the frame for each individual expansion. Construction across the three concourses will continue through 2021, with all 39 new gates expected to be operational in 2022, expanding airport capacity by 30% and creating new space for DEN passengers to spread out and enjoy exciting new amenities.

To complement the ongoing expansion work, DEN executed $560 million in contract amendments in May of 2020 to facilitate airline moves and to update and renew aging airport facilities. Passengers will begin to see renewal work underway on all three concourses late next year as existing construction teams work on the relocation of some airline spaces, as well as improvements to existing restrooms, new carpeting, upgraded furniture, ceiling repairs and updated wayfinding.

Great Hall Milestones

The Great Hall Project made tremendous strides in Jeppesen Terminal this year. Construction resumed with a new general contractor, Hensel Phelps, in March. In July, the public dashboard was launched for increased transparency, and the first major milestone was met early with the completion of the ticketing area steelwork. In late December, the project hit its second major milestone ahead of schedule with the completion of the Central Monitoring Facility where the TSA conducts baggage surveillance and resolves screening issues. The project also wrapped up the year with Denver City Council approving plans for Phase 2 of the project, which will relocate the south checkpoint to the northwest side of Level 6, fortify the existing north checkpoint and enhance the passenger experience, all within the original $770 million budget.

Peña Boulevard Improvement Project: Jackson Gap Street to the Terminal

The Peña Boulevard Improvement project began this summer to improve safety on Peña Boulevard. It has already made major progress and is 50% complete. As part of the project, the return-to-terminal route, which allows drivers on outbound Peña Boulevard to turn back to the terminal, has been relocated to Jackson Gap Street, about one mile from the current route. A new free-flow loop at Jackson Gap Street will improve traffic flow and simplify the route for traffic returning to the terminal. The entire project is on track to be completed in summer 2021.

Federal Inspection Services (FIS) Improvements

In recent months, DEN has taken advantage of lower passenger traffic by accelerating some much-needed improvements including upgrades in the FIS area, where the international arrivals area is located. Now, international passengers will be greeted by brand-new carpet, signage and better lighting when they arrive at DEN. During the renovations, all of the conveyances were also serviced extensively.

Customer Experience Innovations

DEN implemented a number of innovations to help reduce touchpoints for passengers throughout their journey through the airport:

Eats Delivered

DEN launched Eats Delivered, a 12-month long pilot program that brings a handful of favorite restaurants to passengers anywhere they are in the airport, including their gate! Eats Delivered is powered by AtYourGate and users can download the “AtYourGate” app then order food from seven participating concessions and have the order delivered to their gate or in the terminal in approximately 30 minutes or less. By providing more dining choices, customers are no longer limited to concessions located only on their departing concourse. Eats Delivered is a way to eliminate the time passengers spend waiting in lines and exchanging cash or credit cards, and it provides another convenient option for passengers with a tight connection, limited time, traveling with children or just preferring to go directly to their gate. Learn more about Eats Delivered here.

VeriFLY

DEN has implemented VeriFLY, a free service designed for health conscious travelers. VeriFLY allows people to make a reservation to access a dedicated TSA screening lane and a limited-capacity train car for the train that connects DEN’s terminal with its three concourses. Anyone can make a reservation through the VeriFLY app. To participate, a self-health screening 24 hours before travel is required. Passengers will also have their temperatures taken before they go through security. The program is free and easy to use! Learn more here.

Google Translate

Information about DEN became more accessible in 2020. Passengers and visitors to FlyDenver.com now have access to Google Translate. Most pages on FlyDenver.com can now be translated into one of more than 100 languages with a click of a button. Just scroll to the footer of any page and select the language of your choice and browse the website.

Request for Offers for Site at 56th & Telluride

Denver’s Global Gateway – the expansive development surrounding DEN – which encompasses nearly 16,000 acres, has progressed amid COVID-19.

A request for offer on a 3.8-acre land development opportunity on DEN property has been completed and DEN is in contract negotiations with its selected developer for the parcel of land. Once fully approved, construction will begin in 2021 and the new development will be ready for occupancy in late 2022. The parcel of land is located on the northwest corner of 56th Avenue and the future Telluride Street.

Once completed, Telluride Street will be the major connection to the Peña Station Promenade development with retail and hospitality amenities surrounding the commuter rail station already in existence. Learn more about DEN Real Estate opportunities here. And, don’t forget to check out the new sculpture at Peña Station Next, Luminous Wind, which honors Federico Peña!

As we look forward to 2021, we want to thank our passengers and our dedicated employees for keeping DEN safe and operational. DEN is ready when you are ready to travel. We hope to see you in 2021!


Denver International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. DEN is the primary economic engine for the state of Colorado, generating more than $36 billion for the region annually. For more information visit www.FlyDenver.com, check us out on YouTube and Instagram, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Sign up for DEN’s monthly newsletter Nonstop News.


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Denver International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. DEN is the primary economic engine for the state of Colorado, generating more than $36 billion for the region annually. Follow us on socials!