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Message From CEO Phillip A. Washington: Vision 100 Report to the Community

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As you may have experienced, Denver International Airport (DEN) is getting busier. We set a passenger traffic record last year and are on pace to eclipse that record this year. While this news is an affirmation of the strength of our economy, the effects for travelers have been longer waits at security checkpoints, longer lines at concessions and more instances of facility maintenance problems, among others.

Vision 100 is our strategic program to expand DEN facilities, improve maintenance and prepare employees to serve 100 million annual passengers within a few years. Vision 100 features four pillars of activities that organize the needed work, and four guiding principles that describe how we will conduct our business.

When we announced Vision 100, we promised to report regularly on our progress. I’m happy to show you the progress we’ve made so far in 2023. The following report is organized by the Vision 100 Pillars and shows significant progress in each.

Empowering 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.

Even as DEN prepares to construct facilities for the Center of Excellence and Equity in Aviation (CEEA), CEEA continues to offer important programming opportunities for DEN employees and community members.

Within the Career Pathways section, DEN launched the DEN New Heights pilot program which is a partnership with Bayaud Enterprises and the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC). DEN New Heights provides work experience and an employment pathway for justice-involved individuals who are exiting DOC. So far, we have seen eight participants secure full-time employment at companies in the Denver metro area.

  • We also completed a three-week-long DEN Academy Program for 40 young students who learned about the diversity of careers in aviation and who toured DEN. We also graduated a 21-student class of summer interns who served in 23 work areas around the airport.
  • DEN hosted two industry nights for students from DSST public schools which exposed students to careers in aviation by bringing airport personnel to school campuses.
  • We also graduated our first cohort of LeadershipDEN participants, who are local businesspeople interested in applying their trades at the airport.
  • Within the Community Affairs section, we hosted a community engagement stakeholder meeting and released two newsletters. We also received three awards for community impact from: Denver Public Schools, Our Shades of Blue and the ACE Mentorship Program.

    Within the Research & Innovation section, we formalized a partnership with Colorado Smart Cities Alliance and will be soon participating in an innovation challenge focused on accessibility.

    Within the Employee Innovation section, we continued our efforts to build a staffing analysis model to help DEN better predict and budget for additional positions in upcoming years. Over 200 employees have participated in continuous improvement initiatives so far this year, resulting in over 2000 staff-hours saved on their tasks!

    Growing Our Infrastructure – this pillar focuses on building new facilities needed to serve 100 million annual passengers.

    Work continues on our capacity-building projects:

    • Within the Great Hall Project, we’ve made significant progress on the new West Security Checkpoint including the installation of new flooring and ceiling. New checkpoint is on scheduled to open in Q1 2024. We’ve completed the refresh of vestibule 500 that includes new flooring, ceiling and finishes. We’re nearly complete with a new TSA breakroom and remote screening room on Level 5 west.  We’ve continued the demolition of the northeast portion of the terminal to make way for the buildout of the East Security Checkpoint. We’ve installed the new curbside escalators on the east side that will take passengers between Levels 5 and 6. These new escalators are scheduled to open in early October. And we’ve continued to finalize design of the Center of Excellence and Equity in Aviation, which will start construction by the end of the year.
    • Within the Concourse Expansion Project:
      • On Concourse A, we delivered three new gates (A27, A29, A31), which are all international travel capable. We moved Delta Airlines’ operations to support current and future infrastructure growth at DEN.
      • On Concourse B, we completed a fuel system flush for five new gates on B-East and are happy to report the fuel system is operational.
      • On Concourse C, we delivered five new gates (C48, C49, C50, C51, C52), bringing the Southwest Airlines gate count to 38 operational gates.
      • On the airfield, we delivered six new aircraft parking/de-ice locations and associated taxi areas for the 2023-2024 winter season.
    • Within the Baggage Handling System Project:
      • We’re nearly complete with the construction of the Checked Baggage Resolution Area project, which is installing conveyor belts and systems to streamline the process for TSA to resolve alarmed bags identified during screening.
    • Within the Concessions Master Plan:
      • We finalized negotiations for 23 of 27 Premium Value Concessions awards. The awards reward the highest-performing concession operators at DEN with opportunities to negotiate more advantageous agreements with the airport. These new agreements are moving through the City Council process and will bring new brands and concepts to DEN.
      • We kicked off the beginning of mezzanine-level concession developments.
    • Within the efforts to develop an updated master plan:
      • Significant focus was placed on evaluating potential locations for a new consolidated rental car (ConRAC) facility and we’re considering several options. We’re preparing for final site determination and have established a task order to begin design of the new facility once site selection is complete.
    • Within the efforts to develop a plan for DEN Real Estate district development:
      • We executed a lease with Swire Coca-Cola for about 100 acres at Second Creek District and completed infrastructure and funding plan to enable the rest of the district.
      • Executed a lease with Aaravya, LLC for a three-acre gas station/convenience store/restaurant space at West Approach and planned the necessary roadway and utility designs.
      • We signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Denver Fire Department to lease five acres at 56th & Pena to build a new fire station.
      • And we finalized design of a new inbound on-ramp to Peña Boulevard from Gun Club Road.

    Maintaining What We Have – this pillar focuses on taking care of our airport and managing the wear and tear caused by increasing passenger traffic.

    We continue to make significant progress in completing major improvement projects.

    • Within the Peña Boulevard improvement project:
      • We hosted the first round of public engagement forums and received feedback from interested stakeholders, with additional public engagement opportunities occurring during the coming months.
    • We took actions to improve and balance wait times across all security checkpoints, including:
      • We increased line management staffing.
      • We added four TSA PreCheck lanes to the south checkpoint.
      • We added flexible standard check-in lanes to the north check point.
      • And we implemented DEN Reserve, adding an option to reserve a spot in the security line operating at the A-Bridge checkpoint.
    • Within efforts to develop and implement greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan:
      • We developed phase 1 of net zero emissions plan.
      • We started construction related to the Energy Performance Contract that will reduce energy use by 20% airport-wide by replacing all remaining non-LED lights and upgrading the DEN’s energy management controls system.
    • Addressing vehicle thefts and damage:
      • We have increased security patrols by contract security personnel and Denver Police officers in the parking lots.
      • We are in the process of purchasing 15 high activity location observation (HALO) cameras to be placed in the parking lots to deter criminal activity.
      • We have partnered with the Denver Police Department in response to auto crimes. DPD is encouraging motorist to participate in several vehicle theft prevention programs:
        •  DENVERTRACK – preauthorizing police access to vehicle GPS for real-time stolen vehicle tracking
        • Free catalytic converter etching/protection kits through the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA)
        • Free steering wheel lock distribution through CATPA

    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 our efforts to develop further air cargo opportunities:
      • We reviewed the recently completed Air Cargo Study to further understand and prioritize suggestions for improvement.
    • In our efforts to expand the air network to Africa and other disconnected destinations:
      • We announced new direct flights to Dublin via Aer Lingus, beginning spring 2024.
      • As part of a mayoral delegation to Africa earlier this year, DEN met with Ethiopian Airlines and Egyptair to reinforce the business case for flights to Denver from Addis Ababa and Cairo.
      • Frontier Airlines started new service to Montego Bay, Jamaica in February.
      • With United Airlines resuming service to Tokyo/Narita in March 2023, DEN is now again connected to all international destinations served before the pandemic started.
    • In our efforts to grow our domestic air network:
      • Southwest Airlines inaugurated new service to Bellingham, Washington in April 2023.
      • Allegiant started new service to Allentown – Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania in June 2023.
      • United Airlines announced new service starting this fall to four domestic destinations not currently served from DEN: San Juan, Puerto Rico; Lexington, Kentucky; Greensboro, North Carolina and Dayton, Ohio.

    These are just the highlights of our Vision 100 accomplishments so far in 2023 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. With the help of our Community Advisory Committee and all our stakeholders, we will make significant strides towards achieving Vision 100 while also making DEN an airport we can all be proud of.

    Until next time,

    Phillip A. Washington
    DEN CEO

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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!