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Denver International Airport Recognized for Outstanding Snow and Ice Removal Operations

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DENVER – Aug. 19, 2021 – For the second year in a row, Denver International Airport (DEN) has earned the prestigious Balchen/Post Award, a national recognition for airports with outstanding snow and ice removal programs that maintain airport operations during challenging winter conditions.

“Keeping one of the world’s busiest airports open and operating can be a major challenge during our snowy winter months,” said DEN Chief Operating Officer Steve Jaquith. “Our committed and talented snow teams are the backbone of our winter operations. Thanks to their dedication, planning, and execution, DEN maintains a safe and operating airfield to keep aircraft and travelers moving in even the harshest of conditions.”

For over 40 years, the Balchen/Post Award presented by the Northeast Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) has recognized airports for outstanding snow and ice removal teams that result in safe operations. The award is based on a wide range of criteria for work during the 2020-2021 snow season, including: snow and ice control plans; equipment readiness; personnel training; overall safety awareness; timely communication with airlines, the public and other airport stakeholders; storm cleanup; and the effectiveness of snow and ice control plans on runways and other surfaces.

DEN was named the winner in the category of large commercial airports. At 53 square miles, DEN is the nation’s largest commercial airport by land mass and manages snow removal operations that include six runways, 300 lane miles of roads (the distance from the airport to the Utah border) and 30 acres of parking lots with approximately 40,000 parking spaces (more than 23 football fields).

There are approximately 500 trained snow removal personnel, over 235 pieces of airside snow removal equipment and 137 pieces of landside snow removal equipment for roads and parking lots at DEN. A unique position to the airport is the “snowman,” which is a role located in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) control tower and provides a single point of contact and coordination between the airport and controllers during snow.

DEN’s airfield snow team averages 15 minutes to clear a runway and teams have managed 80.2 inches of snow last season. In 26 years of operation, DEN has only closed the airfield six times due to snowy conditions (most recently this past March). This is the third time in five years that DEN has won this prestigious award.


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!