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Denver International Airport Celebrates 2018 Milestones

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DENVER – Dec. 27, 2018 – As Denver International Airport (DEN) prepares for takeoff into 2019, the airport is reflecting on a year filled with milestones and major achievements. From the start of construction on two major capital improvement projects, to record-setting passenger traffic and nonstop destinations, to added amenities to improve the passenger experience, here are DEN’s top 10 accomplishments, milestones and memories from 2018.

See our 2018 milestone video here.

Voted Best Airport by The Wall Street Journal

DEN was honored to be named the best large airport in the country according to rankings released by The Wall Street Journal. DEN scored high in the categories of reliability, value and convenience. The rankings scored the 20 largest U.S. airports in 14 categories, from on-time reliability to longest walk and are designed to reflect what matters most to travelers.

Great Hall Construction Kickoff

In July, DEN kicked off the start of construction of a major renovation of the Great Hall, the 1.5 million squarefeet area under the tents in Jeppesen Terminal. The Great Hall Project will enhance security, provide a more flexible and open airline check-in space and add new dining and shopping options and a better, more efficient experience for passengers. When the project is complete, security screening utilizing new technologies will be on Level 6, leaving space on Level 5 for new passenger amenities.

Adding Gates

DEN officially broke ground on the Gate Expansion project which will add 39 new gates to the airport by the spring of 2021. The new gates will be added to the end of each concourse, providing all of DEN’s airlines an opportunity to grow and for DEN to accommodate new airlines, including international carriers. The new gates are one of several major projects in the airport’s $3.5 billion five-year capital improvement program that will prepare DEN for the future.

Shattered Passenger-Traffic Records

DEN continues to break passenger traffic records and 2018 is expected to greatly surpass the 61.4 million passengers that airport served in 2017. July 2018 was the busiest month in Denver aviation history as 6.1 million passengers travelled through DEN in that month alone. DEN is now the fifth-busiest airport in the United States and records are expected to continue to be broken in 2019. For the year to date ending in October, DEN’s total passenger traffic growth was 4.8 percent over 2017 and year-end totals are expected to reach more than 64 million.

New Airlines, New Destinations

In addition to record-breaking passenger traffic, DEN continues to grow its domestic and international network. This summer, DEN celebrated a major milestone with its airline partners of offering service to 200 nonstop destinations worldwide. DEN is one of only five U.S. airports to provide service to 200 destinations. With 183 domestic destinations served nonstop, DEN boasts the third-largest domestic network in the U.S., providing unparalleled connectivity to more than 205 cities.

In 2018, DEN’s airline partners added more than 50 new routes including 20 brand new destinations for DEN. The airport also welcomed two new airlines, WestJet Airlines and Edelweiss, in 2018, added two new international destinations, Paris and Zurich, and added new service to Calgary and London Heathrow. Additionally, DEN celebrated 20 years of nonstop service to London on British Airways, and five years of nonstop service between Denver and Tokyo on United Airlines.

Country’s First Remote Bag Drop Location

To better assist passengers parking in DEN shuttle parking lots, DEN opened a new, free bag drop service. DEN passengers parking in the Pikes Peak or Mt. Elbert lots can check their bags and print their boarding passes from the comfort of their car, prior to parking and boarding a shuttle to the terminal. The service saves passengers time as they will not have to go to a check-in counter in the terminal and it eliminates the hassle of carrying luggage onto the shuttle and through the terminal. Additionally, with less luggage on the shuttle, there is more space for additional passengers. This is the first drive-up bag drop in the country.

Local Flavor Offers a Taste of Denver

DEN passengers now have more opportunities to experience the Denver food scene with new concessions that provide local options. Snarf’s Sandwiches, a favorite among local foodies for oven-roasted sandwiches on fresh baked bread, opened near gate A73 in June. This fall, DEN celebrated the opening of Tom’s Urban Kitchen and Tivoli Brewery at the Westin Denver International Airport. This is a Colorado-based brew-pub restaurant concept and is the first restaurant at DEN with an on-site brewery that even offers a special DEN brew called Jet Indian pale ale. DEN also opened its first food hall with Denver Central Market on concourse A. Featuring local chefs, the popular market concept offers DEN passengers a true Colorado culinary experience.

New State of the Art Security Screening Equipment

2018 marked improvements at DEN security screening checkpoints as well. DEN and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) installed two new Automated Screening Lanes (ASLs), which use state-of-the-art technology to enhance security and move passengers through the checkpoint more efficiently. Additionally, new screening equipment was also installed to provide a faster security screening process while enhancing detection. These new features are being tested and could eventually be implemented at all screening locations once the Great Hall renovation project is completed in late 2021.

Operational Excellence

For the third year in a row, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Federal inspectors found no discrepancies between DEN operations and FAA operating standards in its annual facility and operations inspection. The annual “Part 139” inspection is conducted by the FAA and reviews airport operations as part of the annual airport certification process.

Largest Airport Bond Issuance and Bond Buyer Award

As part of the airport’s five-year capital improvement plan, DEN issued $2.281 billion in bonds to fund the plan and the market responded with strong demand resulting in DEN upsizing the offering to a final par total of $2.526 billion. For the work on this bond issuance, DEN received the prestigious “Deal of the Year” award by Bond Buyer. The award recognizes excellence and innovation in municipal finance.

DEN is proud to serve our passengers and community and thanks them for their support and patronage this year. Happy New Year from everyone at Denver International Airport!


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!