# Strange Math: A Fight for 27, or 29, or 39 New Gates in Denver

When Denver International Airport replaced Stapleton in the 1990s, it was designed to grow. Granted, at the time, it was hard to imagine an actual need for that since it was gigantic. But here we are in 2019 with three hometown airlines jockeying for position, and Denver is out of gates. As we speak, a whole slew of new gates are under construction, but the math is, shall we say, fuzzy. I decided to dive in and try to make sense of this.

This has turned out to be far more complex than I ever expected it to be, and I don’t know why. I’ve heard all sorts of numbers about which airlines have which gates today and what they want tomorrow, but they don’t match up. After multiple emails and a phone call with the airport, I now understand what’s happening.

Here is what Denver looks like today. (And here’s a map from the airport, but it’s not completely right.)

Up at the top are the C gates. Southwest technically has 24 of those, but it does use another gate (C51) for overflow, so we’ll call it 24ish. Spirit has 2, Alaska has 1, and 1 is common use. Easy.

Moving down to the B gates, things get confusing. This is solely used by United, and gate configurations have changed over the years. I’m told United has 66 gates under lease, but I count 71. After much back and forth with the airport, I’ve found out that three gates on the map — B19/35/75 — apparently don’t actually exist. (Denver says it’s uploading new maps.) But that still gives us 68 gates, and that, if I understand how this math thing works, is more than 66.

The problem children, I’ve learned, are B11 and 14 at the west end. Those don’t have holdrooms but were really just jet bridges hung on the end of the concourse. These gates were added a couple years ago specifically to provide relief for United when other gates are closed for construction during this process. That means United isn’t using more than 66 gates at any given time. And right now, it’s less than that anyway.

See where B forks on the right side? The top half of that has 11 gates (since B75 doesn’t exist) which are out of service for construction. In its place, United is using those 9 temporary gates in blue down on the A concourse. But that’s just temporary, and United will vacate those once construction is done.

Down at the bottom is the home for wayward airlines. Frontier has 9 gates, Delta has 6, American has 5, and then there’s a whole bunch of common use down there.

Got it? Good. Now let’s look at what’s happening:

There are five separate areas of construction going on here that are said to be adding 39 gates. That is a lie. They may be constructing 39 gates, but others go away during that process. Here’s what’s happening:

• 16 new gates are being built at the east end of C
• 4 new gates are being built at the west end of B
• 7 mainline gates replace the old 11 gate commuter concourse at the east end of B, there is also a loss of 1 commuter gate on the south finger
• 12 new gates are being built on the west end of A
• Those 9 temporary gates at the east end of A have an unclear future

That 39 gate number is if you add 16 + 4 + 7 + 12, but that conveniently leaves out the gates that disappear, so it’s a silly number. In reality, this is what happens:

• C gets 16 net new gates
• B loses 12 old commuter gates, gains 11 mainline gates, and B11/14 will get holdrooms so can be used – that’s a net gain of 1 gate
• A gain of 12 net new gates, and it’s entirely unclear what will happen with those 9 temporary gates at the east end

With that, it seems like we’re going to see a net increase of 29 gates pending what happens with those 9 temporary gates on A. I know those aren’t being included in any of those counts so far, so we’ll just set that aside.

Now that we have that straightened out (sort of), who wants those gates?

Southwest has always said it wants all 16 of the gates being built on C for itself. It wants to grow big in Denver. That’s rational, but United has other plans.

United has been working on pushing through a new lease agreement that would give it 24 gates above the 66 it has now. That includes the 1 new gate on B, all 12 of the new gates on A, and 11 of the existing gates. (It also has the option to trade 6 of its existing CRJ gates on the south finger for 5 gates capable of serving E-175s if it wants, but that’s a separate issue.) Those 11 gates as I understand it are currently split between Delta with 6 and Frontier with 5.

That is quite the bomb to drop here. In theory, United could take all those gates, and Southwest could take the 16 on C and then they’re both happy. But, uh, then Frontier would lose more than half its gates, and Delta would have none. That obviously won’t work… even if the airport says it will.

In the last Denver city council committee hearing before the lease goes to the full council for approval, Denver Airport’s chief Kim Day said this:

All of the carriers that are growing are going to get the number of gates that they wish. This is not precluding any of our carriers from growing in the way they’ve told us they want to grow in the next few years.

And to that I say… how? If United gets the 24 gates that appear to be speeding toward approval shortly and Southwest gets the 16 gates that it wants on C, then what do Delta and Frontier do? Maybe they can get room on the existing common-use gates. Or maybe those 9 ground-level temporary gates on A will be pressed into service in some form or another. As of now, the math doesn’t work, so something has to happen.

The official word on the street is that we should just wait and all will become clear. Neither the airport nor the airlines involved would say anything about this yet, but at least one airline said that there should be more concrete info in the next couple weeks. (For what it’s worth, it wasn’t Frontier. They didn’t respond at all.)

So we wait. Let’s see how they make this math work.

## 47 comments on “Strange Math: A Fight for 27, or 29, or 39 New Gates in Denver”

1. Alan says:

Southwest would grow by 1.5-2x if it got everything up at C. I imagine DL or AA may claim some stuff up there.

2. Miss Informed says:

Unfortunately, the Denver Post is the “best” source of info on this project. Just like it was back when I used to live in Denver, the Post never seems to be able to decide whether it wants to be a Denver-region booster or a scandal sheet, so they can quickly jump on the side that’s going to make them the most money. The articles I’ve read there had me totally confused about exactly what the final gate count is likely to be. Then too, the airport’s oversight of the remodeling/expansion project hasn’t exactly been stellar, and until things settle down it’s possible nobody knows exactly what the gate count will be once all the new wallet-draining concessions are wedged in. There’s always a difference between what the airlines say they want and what they’re willing to pay for, of course, so we’ll see what happens.

3. Jason H says:

Trying to fly out of DEN has grown into a game of “Where’s Waldo” as of late. With most of the main terminal torn up to build the new den for the Lizard People and expand the secret bunker just getting to the gates has been a challenge. This is especially true if you arrive via the train and want to use the bridge to the A Concourse. On top of that flying United used to be super easy (go to B concourse), but now you could be in any concourse. This is true of SW too. This wouldn’t be so bad except the terminal trains are overcrowded, making it unpleasant to get between concourses and in order to protect the Illuminati HQ from prying eyes they didn’t build a walkway between the concourses like every other airport.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m really glad they are expanding, but I wish they A) would stop playing numbers games, B) would have planned a larger set of concourse expansions given the huge growth of UA and SW (and F9… sorta), and C) would communicate clearly with the community.

Maybe it will be nice when it is done, but right now it’s a mess and it really makes the start/end of your journey unpleasant (I can’t imagine what the transfer pax experience is like!).

1. SEAN says:

Good call Jason H… As I recall reading some time back on Denver Intl, the concourses were designed so that each one could be easily expanded to house as many as 99-gates each. Back in 1994 when the airport originally opened, there was no way that anyone could have expected such rapid growth in 25-years. Then again the Illuminati & their minions AKA the lizard people may have scene this coming & directed airlines to focus growth here & this is the result. LOL

2. Denverite says:

I would love walking bridges to connect the 3 concourses. yeah it would be a pretty far walk from the terminal to Concourse C, but I’m young and enjoy walking, for me it would absolutely beat trying to cram into one of the trains. As it stands when I’m coming home I’ll usually get off at A and walk the rest of the way

1. William S. says:

Bridges would need to be extremely high to allow aircraft as large as the B747 to pass underneath. I don’t think that’s a sensible solution.

1. Nick V. says:

There are already underground tunnels for the failed luggage carts that could be repurposed. Don’t go high, go low. See Detroit for an example.

4. Mark says:

Interesting that the UA expansion plans were put to a vote without information about what the plans mean for the other carriers.

5. Ian L says:

From what it sounded like, DEN is going to immediately start on another phase of construction as soon as this phase is done…and at least the C gates are well on their way last I checked. Looking at that map, C will probably get another big expansion, and will end up as the Cats and Dogs concourse again (Delta used to be out there). I’m sure United would love to be back under one roof in B (international arrivals excluded), but that’s already a long concourse so I get the feeling that DEN will want to expand elsewhere.

When I was in DEN in late February of last year, I flew out of the temporary gates in A on Frontier, and saw a Spirit bag sizer while I was there. My guess is that WN could easily pay enough for the new gates for DEN to subsidize F9…and maybe NK…to move to the temporary gates in A until more stuff gets built…and Frontier certainly won’t pass up that deal. There seems to be a decent amount of seating space out there at least, but mine was the only flight going out that late, and we were on a (very full 150-passenger) 319, so take that with a grain of salt.

6. Ben in DC says:

I LOVE today’s images Cranky! They are on par with the Tokyo/Godzilla one in my book!

I don’t understand why they didn’t get an idea of who wanted how many gates before they started building. I get that airports don’t want to go on unnecessary building sprees (I’m looking at you Dulles), but it seems obvious that they needed to do a complete build-out of concourse A and concourse C, as opposed to just building-out one side on each. Maybe I am reading it wrong, but I interpreted Kim Day’s comments that they are going to do another round of expansion. Seems like that should have been the plan from the start.

7. Nathaniel says:

DEN needs to expand more.. I am honestly surprised they haven’t talked about D yet. Nothing needs to be moved, they just need to build it. I agree though the trains are over crowded. They need a walkway like Atlanta.

8. A says:

I don’t get why they originally built wimpy concourse A & C while B is freaking huge. If they were all built to the same size then you got your problems solved. Doing little dog legs on the existing terminals is a band aid. What DIA (aka western Kansas Int’l) should do is build a concourse D the same size as concourse B and their problems would be solved. Heck, they have room to expand all the way to the Wyoming state line. Someday they could ATL this place and put a big ass international terminal on the north end. Stop thinking small Denver.

1. Ian L says:

Concourses cost money to build. United and Southwest’s grand designs are pretty recent, and you aren’t going to get a fourth major hub in DEN so you don’t need an entire extra concourse sitting there doing nothing. DEN is also far enough away from other continents to need an ATL-sized international terminal (and they can just expand sterile gates in A anyway).

Remember that, when DIA was first built, Southwest wouldn’t touch the airport, citing high costs. At that point, C was quite under-utilized…and B was big enough to fit both UA and US. Building with room to expand kept costs lower in the shorter term when it wasn’t obvious that DEN would clear 60MM pax/year.

1. A says:

DEN is an odd place. Their have a huge O/D market – slightly less than O’Hare and bigger than Atlanta. I imagine tourism is driving a lot but one cannot deny the growth of the entire front range since the airport was built. Yes, it costs money to build concourses but I think this is more of a build it and they’ll come situation. We’re not talking about a secondary airport or a grand scheme of connecting people mid-continent. It’s a growing market and DIA should be ready for the next 25+ years, not just a band-aid to fix today’s problem.

9. Ben Brooks says:

Helpful analysis Cranky. I have family in DEN and often fly UA so I’m curious. Not a great sign that this isn’t already super clear from the airport authorities. And for a single airport city w multiple airlines “hubbing” it all seems rather piecemeal as if they were tightly space or capital constrained.

I’d love a follow up piece based on what’s announced that also covers:
-the hot MESS of main terminal transformation
-updates on new airline lounges in A and C
-if they are improving the inadequate F&B capacity and locations
-the larger connection w the DIA aerotropolis they are building and how that impacts the airport

1. CF says:

Ben – I don’t think I have the patience to do a follow-up on this! As for new lounges, United will have one in A. Not sure where, but there will be one. It could very well be in Delta’s current lounge space if Delta has to move out. Nothing in C unless another airline moves in, I’d assume.

1. Nathaniel says:

Delta just built that sky club!!! I do not know where they could fit more clubs on A! The list that I know of at the moment is AA, BA and Delta all have clubs + the USO and a Centurion Lounge. A is pretty teeming with Clubs!!!

2. Tim Dunn says:

correct me if I am wrong, but I am pretty sure that American and Delta are signatory airlines at DEN just as they along with UAL at least are at most airports that have signatory structures.

As such, AA and DL can’t be forced to move just because another airline wants to expand. Airlines often cooperate but they don’t have to take a step back in service in order to allow a competitor to grow; moving back to C would most definitely be a step backwards – and would involve significant costs for whatever airlines wants their current space in order to rebuild their lounges.

And it makes far more sense to put UA and WN’s connecting operations further from the terminal than AA or DL’s which are almost entirely for local passengers. It is also a whole lot less costly to build finger extensions onto B for UA’s regional jets than it is to move carriers to mainline gates which are in short supply throughout the airport.

If there is a followup, it should be to see if anyone other than UA and WN actually move to accommodate WN and UA’s growth – but I doubt if that will happen.

Lets see what actually transpires but it is conjecture at best right now.

1. CF says:

Tim – You’re right, and that’s why I’m even more perplexed. I look forward to seeing how Denver gets itself out of this one. Of course, negotiations with American and Delta are always an option if the airport wants to sweeten the pot.

10. Eric in ICT says:

Great analysis, CF. Thanks for helping make sense of what I saw when I was last at DEN in November 2019. Definitely a lot of construction messes going on in the terminals and concourses.

Some comments here also made me laugh. Couldn’t agree more about it being Western KS International Airport — it’s not close to Denver in any sense! Nice that they have plenty of space and runways which usually makes for shorter holds to take off (under normal ops and weather) but it takes a bit to get there from about anywhere in the city. And glad I’m not the only one who thinks the terminal trains are overcrowded. I also wonder if they could add frequency/more trains/cars to help with that problem. Led to some long waits and crowded trains.

1. James says:

Time-wise it’s not that far. 25-30 minutes from downtown or the southeast Denver, 45-55 with traffic. That’s on par with other big cities that don’t have an airport inside the city (thinking Dulles, O’Hare LAX, rather than Phoenix or San Diego.)

Also, the time is more than saved on the tarmac. Unless there are airline issues (gate occupied) most flights amble right on over to their departure runway and takeoff in the direction (or close to it) of travel. I rarely see or sit in a line of more than 5-6 flights unless weather issues.

While the 10 miles on Pena appears to be “open land” (giving the appearance of being in the middle of nowhere), there is a LOT of development around it. This article just yesterday from the Denver post details how developers are gobbling up land near the runways, despite the airport’s warning of noise and general “airport stuff” . The comments even write of Stapleton back in the 50s-60s, before houses surrounded it.

1. Nathaniel says:

I saw that Article too and honestly can’t believe Aurora… If that runway south of Pena opens it will be in their back yard, quite literally. Though I will have 0 sympathy for them. The airport was there first and they knew it was if they buy there.

1. Ginger says:

sideline noise is much less than runway off the ends (arrivals and departure tracks). Anyone why buys on the SE or SW corners should pay attention.

To ensure no one could ever be in the 65 DNL – Denver bought (and still owns) 2 miles off each runway end. No other airport in the US has that kind of buffer.

11. Evil Bob Crandall says:

Nothing is better than Cranky’s Tokyo/Godzilla picture. That’s Hall of Fame material.

1. SEAN says:

Oh so true.

12. David SF eastbay says:

Thanks a lot, , you gave me a headache reading that…..LOL

Sad when the people running the place don’t know what is happening.

13. Tim Dunn says:

It is not a surprise that both United and Southwest are trying so hard to get their hands on as many gates at Denver as possible. According to DOT data, they have nearly identical shares of the local market (passengers that originate or end their journeys at Denver). United continues to get a significant average fare premium to Southwest which is true everywhere WN competes with a legacy carrier.

I don’t think there is any fear at all that DEN will not provide the appropriate number of gates to any carriers that want to grow. I fully expect they did poll other airlines about their potential growth plans and have also provided the federally required number of gates for new entrants that all US airports must have. I also doubt that UA and WN’s plans involve moving a bunch of carriers around, esp. if there are clubs involved – since refurbishing clubs to carrier specifications gets very expensive.

I can’t help but think that part of the motivation for UA and WN to grow in DEN is the opening of the new terminal and concourses at Salt Lake City and Delta’s growth there. While UA and WN each have about 30% share of the local market at DEN, DL has about 52% share of the local market at SLC and SLC has been Delta’s fastest growing core hub. They get an average fare premium from SLC compared to UA at DEN and get more local market revenue from SLC than WN gets from DEN. Delta says it intends to grow SLC as the new terminal opens this year. The Mountain West is booming and there is a healthy competitive dance going on between DL at SLC and UA and WN at DEN that will be worth watching.

1. henry LAX says:

did u also conveniently leave out the fact that DL at SLC is what ? 270-290 departures a day, give or take ? UA @ DEN, despite having to split with WN and some of Frontier, is a 500 daily departure operation that’s on track to 530-550.

Just to put things in perspective, that’s more than either DL MSP or DL DTW and just shy of AA ORD.

DL SLC and UA DEN aren’t even remotely comparable sizes of operation to have a meaningful discussion.

1. Tim Dunn says:

take it easy there, pal.
Precisely NOWHERE did I say that the size of Delta’s hub in SLC and UA’s hub in Denver were comparable in size. Reread if you thought otherwise.

I did say – because it is accurate whether you read it on a.net or not – that Delta has a higher share of the local SLC market than UA has of the Denver market. I also said that Delta gets an average fare premium – about 6% – from SLC compared to UA from DEN. I didn’t mention it but will add that Delta has 16 seats on average more per departure from SLC than UA has from DEN. Delta uses larger aircraft which are more efficient.
While you think that adding flights is the name of the game, the actual goal is to move as many people paying the highest fare the most economically to generate the highest profits. Based on all of the data available, Delta probably earns more per seat from SLC than UA does from DEN.

I don’t really care how much you or anyone wants to tout hub size because where an airline chooses to transfer passengers across its network doesn’t really matter as long as they can cost-efficiently do it. UA is forcing down the cost of operating at DEN but is pulling connecting traffic from its other hubs in the process; again, actual data shows that.

It also doesn’t change that UA and WN have nearly identical local market shares; UA and WN are both desperately trying to gain an advantage over each other. Considering what WN is accomplished in DEN in a little over 15 years, UA has every reason to pulling out all the stops in order to prevent its DEN hub from falling to WN; WN’s performance at DEN is the best of any where it competes with a legacy carrier in their hub.

Local market data – which you won’t find on a.net – show that Delta’s MSP local market revenue and UA’s DEN local market is almost identical. It is also about the same size as AA at ORD. I also said that DL gets more local market revenue from SLC than WN does from DEN; again, you won’t find that kind of data on a.net but it is the truth.

Hub size might be fun to talk about but revenue and costs are what translates into profit – which is what ALL US airlines exist to do. The fact that Delta is leading the industry in profitability says they know what they are doing; the fact that SLC is their fastest growing core hub says that they have a strong market no different from what UA and WN see in Denver. As much as you want to see the world in “someone has to lose in order for me to win” the Mountain West is a strong market. Delta happens to have a significant and growing portion of the market in SLC that is no different from what UA and WN have in DEN. Based on system profitability and the data I presented, the chances are high that SLC is more profitable on a margin basis than UA at DEN and perhaps WN as well.

And what neither a.net or Kirby will tell you is that the results of Kirby’s “let’s raid other carrier hubs (get our natural share) strategy” hasn’t really proven to be very successful. In most of the cities that UA focused on for growth, UA’s share has not grown. UA and AA have traded share in many of those markets but neither have gained net share from Delta.

And the far bigger share shift that continues to go on is of Delta moving into larger industry markets that have been dominated by AA and UA like Boston to Chicago, MIA, Newark and Washington DCA that involve far more revenue moving from AA and UA to DL. The reason is that Delta is growing the number of hubs and the number of routes it operates including in key industry markets while AA and UA keep adding 2000 mile regional jet flights from their hubs, overflying half of their other hubs in order to create just a bit more feed.

Reread what I wrote and also digest the actual facts about what is going on with hub development in the US, Henry. We’ll see in a few days when United reports its 4th quarter financial statistics how well UA’s revenue performance compares to DL’s; if they can’t match or exceed what Delta is doing then adding a bunch of additional flights to Denver or any other hub might give them a bigger piece of the pie but isn’t really closing the gap in profitability that UA mgmt. said years ago they intended to close.

always nice chatting with you.

14. iahphx says:

Does anyone actually make “big money” at DEN? I know the city and surrounding area are doing well these days, but it would seem like they already have ample air service for their population (less than 3 million). The problem with DEN is the nearby population is relatively modest, so the need for a giant hub would also be modest. Is there a need to shift any Chicago-connecting traffic to Denver?

1. AL says:

Scott Kirby has been on record as saying Denver is United’s most profitable hub. I would assume that would translate to “big money” since Denver is (or will shortly become) United’s second largest hub (by flights/day).

United’s strategy is to start up flights to small cities where they can charge premiums and use Denver as a transfer point. And don’t forget, Denver is the 9th largest Origin/Destination market in the US. Although the metro area is mid sized, Denver gets more than its fair share of tourists (skiing/mountains) and conventions (large airport/convention center(s)/downtown area).

1. Tim Dunn says:

…and marijuana tourism.

15. Alex says:

It’s a good connecting point since it’s in the middle of the country, and it’s less congested and has fewer weather delays than ORD.

16. Jim says:

For what it is worth, UA does have one mainline gate in C – C38. The gate area is decked out in UA regalia, and I usually see a UA 737 sitting there. Never seen another carrier pull in there. Maybe that is making the math fuzzy (fuzzier).

17. John says:

With 150-200 UA flights on the A concourse, DEN needs a plan to significantly increase train capacity between the concourses. As it is, it can be difficult boarding a train at B during the banks when it arrives already filled with C passengers (the people boarding at A really have it tough).

With the amount of inter-concourse connections coming online, there could be risk of people missing their flights if there’s no room on the trains for them.

18. MRY-SMF says:

As long as they keep the “Train Call” music on the trains, I won’t question anything they do at DIA.

19. Ginger Evans says:

Brett- 1. the only way to do an accurate gate count is to have detailed drawings (by a qualified airport planner) of each phase of the project. It is standard to put a list of gate count (incl a/c guage) in the lower right hand corner. The most accurate way to measure size of a concourse is actually linear frontage (yes LF is a standard term). With changing fleet size and a/c assignments – that is the only true apples to apples metric. 2. when DIA opened, all of the 24+ concourse C gates were common use. Some might argue that the diminishment of total CU gates in the ensuing 25 years was not desireable. I would argue the opposite – the fact that DIA had CU gates when Katrina hit New Orleans is was pushed WNA into the Denver market. WNA had 12 expensive birds with no place to operate. The Denver market was great – so WNA grew. Therefore, the original CU gates served their intended purpose. 3. Note that because of the superior layout of the original ALP – A and C can both be as long as B so…..more to come. In addition, there is room between concourse C and the APM maintenance facility on the north for a new concourse D. And six more runways…. 4. Hard to imagine? Denver hit its 30 year forecast in year 23. Mid continent hub – location location location. Just saying…

20. Fly says:

“Neither the airport nor the airlines involved would say anything about this yet, but at least one airline said that there should be more concrete info in the next couple weeks.”

UA is buying DL and F9. I knew it!!! /s

21. Random Historical Facts says:

As a kid growing up in Denver in the ’80s and ’90s with a fascination with both aviation and architecture, I was obsessed with this airport. It’s an incredible facility if you’re a plane – the most efficient airfield in the country with ample runways spread far enough apart to allow simultaneous landings and takeoffs in low visibility. Winter weather delays are actually very rare at DEN. I haven’t lived in Colorado since high school, and now when I travel through it’s either for business or with my family, and it’s a trip I typically detest because it always feels like a lengthy and cumbersome process to navigate the train, the long walks, the long shuttle rides to rental cars, the long drive to anywhere else in Colorado…not to mention some of the longest Pre-Check lines in the country. All that said, I was very pleasantly surprised to note last month that the frequency of trains has noticeably increased.

In a way, it’s kind of homecoming of sorts that post-merger United is looking to expand toa sizable presence on Concourse A, which was originally built for Continental. When the airport was designed and built, the former Stapleton Airport was a major hub for both Continental and United. Way back when (1937-61), Continental’s HQ was actually in Denver (before United ever created their Denver hub following deregulation). Continental operated Denver’s first flight to Europe (LGW) from the old Stapleton airport, long before United ever flew long-haul international from Denver, and before BA and LH. Denver voters approved building the new airport in 1989. Continental signed their lease in 1990 for 38 gates, which was virtually all of Concourse A (except the common-use international gates). Level 4 of A, where the Delta, BA and USO lounges are now, was originally built out as one large Continental Presidents Club. Continental ended up filing for bankruptcy later in 1990 and scaled back some of their plans. United didn’t sign their lease until 1991 and got all of Concourse B, with Concourse C intended as the common use “animal DEN.” In 1994 Continental closed it’s Denver hub, before the new airport finally opened the following year. Frontier (the current company, not the original Denver-based airline that went BK in 1986) started up in 1994 and eventually grew to take over most of the gates on A that were originally intended for Continental. Southwest didn’t start flying to DEN until 2006.

Yes, it would be nice if there was an underground walkway between concourses. Unlike ATL, DEN’s train system was built with turn-back tracks between the northbound and southbound train tracks, which takes up the space where the walkway would go. This system arguably creates a more robust train system (if it were operated at its full potential), but impairs the ability for inter-terminal walkways.

22. BRMM says:

Maybe Frontier is bleeding so much cash in DEN given the competition that they plan a dramatic scale-back, moving those planes to other cities where they make more money under Frontier’s new-ish business model? That might open-up those gates and allow everyone to be happy.

23. Ginger Evans says:

CF – let’s discuss the DIA 25th anniversary Febr 29 – can you attend and get the cook’s tour with me? I’d love to walk the concourses and terminal and point out the unique features that make DIA so efficient. Also – it would be fun to share my theory of which underground feature caused the construction workers to start the rumors about secret underground government facilities. (yes there is one but its real purpose is much less interesting than the web versions unless you’re an engineer). The Mayor’s Art Committee sure didn’t do us any favors relative to rumors……

I have the original summary presentations developed after the airport opened, that summarize key milestones and scope. DIA had many firsts – the first triple IFR approaches in the world was probably the most significant among them. That took years of of work with FAA.

Over the 8 years and four months from signing the Master Plan contracts to airport opening, I served originally as Chief of Construction, later Associate Director, and finally Director of Aviation. I was not included in airline negotiations except to answer select questions. George Doughty and later Bill Smith conducted those negotiations. I just got to build what they negotiated. But everything else I was intimately involved with – especially FAA since neither George or Bill liked working with them. Fortunate for me because I have particular affinity for getting the airfield right – that’s the efficiency that leads to such incredible growth.

Ginger Evans

1. CF says:

Ginger – That would be a lot of fun, but I’m afraid I can’t get to DEN that weekend.

1. Ginger says:

Sorry to hear that weekend doesn’t work but understand. You get around and clearly you have to travel way in advance – with all the threads you ieep track of

Sure appreciate your posts – all very insightful and helpful. All the best.

24. William S. says:

The lease has been signed and United gets 24 more gates. Any further analysis on the final lease, which should be public information shortly?

1. CF says:

William – No further info as far as I know. The details look to be about the same as what I expected. I’m really more interested in hearing what the other airlines are planning to do to accommodate this.

1. William S. says:

United clearly won big. That’s more than a 35% increase in their gates. It has to come at someone’s expense!

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