Denver International Airport

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Denver International Airport
Denver International Airport Logo.svg
DIA Airport Roof.jpg
Airport type Public
Owner City & County of Denver Department of Aviation
Serves Denver, Front Range Megalopolis, Northern Colorado, Eastern Colorado
Location Northeastern Denver, Colorado
Hub for
Focus city for Southwest Airlines
Elevation AMSL 5,431 ft / 1,655 m
Coordinates39°51′42″N 104°40′23″W / 39.86167°N 104.67306°W / 39.86167; -104.67306Coordinates: 39°51′42″N 104°40′23″W / 39.86167°N 104.67306°W / 39.86167; -104.67306
DEN is located in Colorado
Location within Colorado
Direction Length Surface
ft m
7/25 12,000 3,658 Concrete
8/26 12,000 3,658 Concrete
16L/34R 12,000 3,658 Concrete
16R/34L 16,000 4,877 Concrete
17L/35R 12,000 3,658 Concrete
17R/35L 12,000 3,658 Concrete
Statistics (2010)
Aircraft operations 635,445
Passengers 51,985,038
Source: Denver International Airport[1]
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Denver International Airport
Denver International Airport Logo.svg
DIA Airport Roof.jpg
Airport type Public
Owner City & County of Denver Department of Aviation
Serves Denver, Front Range Megalopolis, Northern Colorado, Eastern Colorado
Location Northeastern Denver, Colorado
Hub for
Focus city for Southwest Airlines
Elevation AMSL 5,431 ft / 1,655 m
Coordinates39°51′42″N 104°40′23″W / 39.86167°N 104.67306°W / 39.86167; -104.67306Coordinates: 39°51′42″N 104°40′23″W / 39.86167°N 104.67306°W / 39.86167; -104.67306
DEN is located in Colorado
Location within Colorado
Direction Length Surface
ft m
7/25 12,000 3,658 Concrete
8/26 12,000 3,658 Concrete
16L/34R 12,000 3,658 Concrete
16R/34L 16,000 4,877 Concrete
17L/35R 12,000 3,658 Concrete
17R/35L 12,000 3,658 Concrete
Statistics (2010)
Aircraft operations 635,445
Passengers 51,985,038
Source: Denver International Airport[1]
Eastward view from an inbound flight, January 27, 2011

Denver International Airport (IATA: DENICAO: KDENFAA LID: DEN), often referred to as DIA, is an airport in Denver, Colorado. At 53 square miles (140 km2) it is the largest airport in the United States by total area, and the second largest airport in the world after King Fahd International Airport.[2] Runway 16R/34L is the longest public use runway in the United States. In 2011 Denver International Airport was the 11th-busiest airport in the world by passenger traffic with 52,699,298 passengers.

It was the fifth-busiest airport in the world by aircraft movements with over 635,000 movements in 2010.[3] The airport is in northeastern Denver, Colorado, and is operated by the City & County of Denver Department of Aviation. Denver International Airport was the busiest and largest airport in the United States without non-stop service to Asia, until United Airlines announced non-stop service to Tokyo's Narita Airport, commencing on March 31, 2013.[4] DIA was voted Best Airport in North America by readers of Business Traveler Magazine six years in a row (2005–2010)[5] and was named "America's Best Run Airport" by Time Magazine in 2002.[6]

Denver International Airport is the main hub for low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines and commuter carrier Great Lakes Airlines. It is also the fourth-largest hub for United Airlines. The airport is a focus city for Southwest Airlines. Since commencing service to Denver in January 2006, Southwest has added over 40 destinations, making Denver its fastest-growing market. Denver International Airport is the only airport in the United States to have implemented an ISO 14001-certified environmental management system covering the entire airport.[7]




The Teflon-coated fiberglass roof of Denver International Airport resembles the area's famous Rocky Mountains

DEN’s award-winning architecture and magnificent views of the Rocky Mountains create a unique atmosphere for travelers. Jeppesen Terminal’s internationally recognized peaked roof, designed by Fentress Bradburn Architects, is reflective of snow-capped mountains and evokes the early history of Colorado when Native American teepees were located across the Great Plains.[8] The catenary steel cable system, similar to the Brooklyn Bridge design, supports the roof.[8] DIA is also known for a pedestrian bridge connecting the terminal to Concourse A that allows travelers to view planes taxiing beneath them and has views of the Rocky Mountains to the West and the high plains to the East.


Both during construction and after its opening Denver International Airport has set aside a portion of its construction and operation budgets for art. Gargoyles hiding in suitcases are present above the exit doors from baggage claim. The corridor from the Jeppesen Terminal and Concourse A usually contains additional temporary exhibits. Finally a number of different public art works are present in the underground train that links the main terminal with the concourses.

Mustang, by New Mexico artist Luis Jiménez, was one of the earliest public art commissions for Denver International Airport in 1993. Standing at 32 feet (9.8 m) tall and weighing 9,000 pounds (4,100 kg), "Mustang" is a blue cast-fiberglass sculpture with red shining eyes located between the inbound and outbound lanes of Peña Boulevard.[9] Jiménez died in 2006 while creating the sculpture when the head of it fell on him and severed an artery in his leg. At the time of his death, Jiménez had completed painting the head of the mustang. The sculpture was completed with the help of the artist's staff, family, and professional race-car painters Camillo Nuñez and Richard LaVato. Upon completion the sculpture was sent to California for assembly and then shipped to Denver. "Mustang" was unveiled at DEN on February 11, 2008.[10]

"Mustang" has gotten mixed reviews. Many critics of the sculpture are attempting to have it removed, but the city plans to leave the installation in place for 5 years before deciding its future. The controversy over the sculpture has received wide media attention, with coverage from the local news outlets to The Wall Street Journal, CNN, and The Daily Show.[11][12]

Automated baggage system

The airport's computerized baggage system, which was supposed to reduce delays, shorten waiting times at luggage carousels, and cut airline labor costs, was an unmitigated failure. An airport opening originally scheduled for October 31, 1993, with a single system for all three concourses turned into a February 28, 1995, opening with separate systems for each concourse, with varying degrees of automation.

The system's $186 million original construction costs grew by $1 million per day during months of modifications and repairs. Incoming flights on the airport's B Concourse made very limited use of the system, and only United, DIA's dominant airline, used it for outgoing flights. The 40-year-old company responsible for the design of the automated system, BAE Automated Systems of Carrollton, Texas, at one time responsible for 90% of the baggage systems in the United States, was acquired in 2002 by G&T Conveyor Company, Inc.[13]

The automated baggage system never worked as designed, and in August 2005 it became public knowledge that United would abandon the system, a decision that would save them $1 million per month in maintenance costs.[14]

Solar energy system

Partial view of the solar farm under construction, leaving the airport, July 1, 2008.

Between February [15] and August 2008,[16] construction of an on-site, two-megawatt [17] solar energy system took place. The single-axis tracking system[18] provides 3.5 million kilowatt-hours of energy per year [17] and uses 9,200 solar panels made by Sharp.[16] Originally designed to power a jail,[19] it spares the environment of more than five million pounds of carbon emissions annually.[17] The system generates the equivalent of half the energy needs of the underground trains that move people between concourses.[20] The $13 million-plus [18] system sits on 7.5 acres (or 30,000 m2),[18] clearly visible to people entering and exiting the airport. WorldWater & Solar Technologies Corp. designed and built the system, while MMA Renewable Ventures LLC—rather than DIA—owns the solar farm and sells its energy to the airport.[17] Denver International Airport’s three solar array systems now produce approximately six percent of the airport’s total power requirements.[21] The output makes DEN the largest distributed generation photovoltaic energy producer in the state of Colorado.[22]


DIA has Wi-Fi access throughout the airport. The free service is ad-supported through an advertising-filled HTML frame that is inserted into the top of the browser window. Users of the Wi-Fi network are also required to view a 30-second advertising video in the browser before Internet access is granted, although in many cases a click-through button is provided to avoid viewing the ad. The network is managed by FreeFi Networks, a Los Angeles-based firm.[23] T-Mobile HotSpot service is available in the airport lounges run by United Airlines and American Airlines.[24] The airport has pay-per-use kiosks which can be used to access the Internet and to play video games. The current stations were developed by Zoox Stations and were installed in 2007.[25]


Aerial view of the airport in 2002
The airport is 25 miles (40 km) driving distance from downtown Denver,[26] which is 19 miles (31 km) further away than Stapleton International Airport, the airport it replaced. The distant location was chosen to avoid aircraft noise affecting developed areas, to accommodate a generous runway layout that would not be compromised by winter storms, and to allow for future expansion. The 33,457 acres (52.277 sq mi; 135.40 km2)[27] of land occupied by the airport is nearly twice the land area of Manhattan. The land was transferred from Adams County to Denver after a 1989 vote,[28] increasing the city's size by 50 percent. However, much of the city of Aurora is actually closer to the airport than the developed portions of Denver, and all freeway traffic accessing the airport from central Denver passes through Aurora.

Airport officials say its large area contributes to it having the highest number of wildlife strikes in the United States (2,090 this decade – although it ranked seventh on basis of takeoffs and landings).[29]


From 1980 through 1983,[30] the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) investigated six areas for a new metro area airport which were North and East of Denver. In September 1989, under the leadership of Denver Mayor Federico Peña (after whom Peña Boulevard is named), federal officials authorized the outlay of the first $60 million for the construction of DIA. Two years later, Mayor Wellington Webb inherited the megaproject, scheduled to open on October 29, 1993.

Delays caused by poor planning and repeated design changes due to changing requirements from United Airlines caused Mayor Webb to push opening day back, first to December 1993, then to March 1994. By September 1993, delays due to a millwright strike and other events meant opening day was pushed back again, to May 15, 1994.

In April 1994, the city invited reporters to observe the first test of the new automated baggage system. Reporters were treated to scenes of clothing and other personal effects scattered beneath the system's tracks, while the actuators that moved luggage from belt to belt would often toss the luggage right off the system instead. The mayor cancelled the planned May 15 opening. The baggage system continued to be a maintenance hassle and was finally terminated in September 2005,[31] with traditional baggage handlers manually handling cargo and passenger luggage.

On September 25, 1994, the airport hosted a fly-in that drew several hundred general aviation aircraft, providing pilots with a unique opportunity to operate in and out of the new airport, and to wander around on foot looking at the ground-side facilities—including the baggage system, which was still under testing. FAA controllers also took advantage of the event to test procedures, and to check for holes in radio coverage as planes taxied around and among the buildings.

DIA finally replaced Stapleton on February 28, 1995, 16 months behind schedule and at a cost of $4.8 billion,[32] nearly $2 billion over budget. The construction employed 11,000 workers.[33] United flight 1062 to Kansas City International Airport was the first to depart and United flight 1474 from Colorado Springs Airport was the first to arrive.[34]

After the airport's runways were completed but before it opened, the airport used the codes (IATA: DVXICAO: KDVX). DIA later took over (IATA: DENICAO: KDEN) as its codes from Stapleton when the latter airport closed.

During the blizzard of March 17–19, 2003, heavy snow tore a hole in the terminal's white fabric roof. Over two feet of snow on the paved areas closed the airport (and its main access road, Peña Boulevard) for almost two days. Several thousand people were stranded at DIA.

In 2004, DIA was ranked first in major airports for on-time arrivals according to the FAA.

Denver International Airport covered by the December 22, 2006, snowstorm
Another blizzard on December 20 and 21st, 2006 dumped over 20 inches (51 cm) of snow in about 24 hours. The airport was closed for more than 45 hours, stranding thousands.

Design and expandability

Denver International Airport's signature roofline as seen from the interior.

Denver has traditionally been home to one of the busier airports in the nation because of its location. Many airlines including United Airlines, Continental Airlines, Western Airlines, TWA, the old Frontier Airlines and People Express were hubbed in Denver and there was also a significant Southwest Airlines operation at the old Stapleton International Airport. At times, Denver was a hub for three or four airlines. Gate space was severely limited at Stapleton, and the runways at the old Stapleton were unable to deal efficiently with Denver's weather and wind patterns, causing nationwide travel disruption. These problems were the main justification for the new airport. The project began with Perez Architects and was completed by Fentress Bradburn Architects of Denver, Pouw & Associates of Arvada, CO, and Bertram A. Bruton & Associates of Denver[35][36] of Denver. The signature DIA profile, suggestive of the snow capped Rocky Mountains, was first hand sketched by Design Director Curtis W. Fentress. Seized upon by then Mayor, Federico Peña, as the iconic form he was looking for – "similar to the Sydney Opera House" – DIA's design as well as its user-optimized curbside-to-airside navigation has won DIA global acclaim and propelled its designer, Fentress, to one of the foremost airport designers in the world. Fentress Architects is currently at work on the modernization of LAX. The concourses were designed by a joint venture of The Richardson Associates and The Allred Fisher Seracuse Lawler Partnership.[37]

With the construction of DIA, Denver was determined to build an airport that could be easily expanded over the next 50 years to eliminate many of the problems that had plagued Stapleton International Airport. This was achieved by designing an easily expandable midfield terminal and concourses, creating one of the most efficient airfields in the world.

At 33,457 acres (13,540 ha),[27] DIA is by far the largest land area commercial airport in the United States. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is a distant second at 18,100 acres (7,325 ha). The 327-foot (100 m) control tower is one of the tallest in North America.[38] The airfield is arranged in a pinwheel formation around the midfield terminal and concourses. This layout allows independent flow of aircraft to and from each runway without any queuing or overlap with other runways, as well as allowing air traffic patterns to be adjusted to avoid crosswinds, regardless of wind direction. Additional runways can be added as needed, up to a maximum of 12 runways. Denver currently has four north/south runways (35/17 Left and Right; 34/16 Left and Right) and two east/west runways (7/25 and 8/26).

KDEN FAA airport diagram

DIA's sixth runway (16R/34L) is the longest commercial precision-instrument runway in North America with a length of 16,000 feet (4,877 m). Compared to other DIA runways, the extra 4,000-foot (1,200 m) length allows fully loaded jumbo jets such as the Boeing 747 or Airbus 380 to take off in Denver's mile-high altitude during summer months, thereby providing unrestricted global access for any airline using DIA.

The midfield concourses allow passengers to be screened in a central location efficiently and then transported via a rail system to three different passenger concourses. Unlike Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport upon which the midfield design was based, Concourses B and C are not connected by any kind of walkway; they are only accessible via train.

The taxiways at Denver have been positioned so that each of the midfield concourses can expand significantly before reaching the taxiways. Concourse B, which is primarily used by United Airlines, is longer than the other two concourses, but all three concourses can be expanded as needed. Once this expansion is exhausted, space has been reserved for future Concourses D and E.

All international flights requiring customs and immigration services currently fly into Concourse A. Currently eight gates are used for international flights. These north facing gates on Concourse A are equipped to divert incoming passengers to a hallway which connects to the upper level of the air bridge, and enters Customs and Immigration in the north side of the Jeppesen Terminal. These gates could also be easily modified to allow boarding on both the upper deck and the lower deck of larger planes such as the Airbus A380.

As part of the original design of the airport the city specified passenger volume "triggers" that would lead to a redevelopment of the master plan and possible new construction to make sure the airport is able to meet Denver's needs.[39] The city hit its first-phase capacity threshold in 2008, and DIA is currently revising the master plan. As part of the master plan update, the airport announced selection of Parson's transportation group to design a new hotel, rail station and two bridges leading into the main terminal.[40] Santiago Calatrava has been selected as the architect for the project. In addition, before hitting the 60 million passenger volume trigger, the airport is planning on constructing an additional runway, 20+ new gates on the existing concourses, two additional International Gates as well as improvements to the baggage system and passenger train.

Once fully built out, DIA should be able to handle 110 million passengers per year, up from 32 million at its opening.

Terminal and concourses

A terminal map of the Denver Airport

Jeppesen Terminal

The pedestrian bridge connecting the Jeppesen Terminal with Concourse A

Jeppesen Terminal, named after aviation safety pioneer Elrey Jeppesen, is the land side of the airport. Road traffic accesses the airport directly off of Peña Boulevard, which in turn is fed by Interstate 70 and E-470. Two covered and uncovered parking areas are directly attached to the terminal – three garages and an economy parking lot on the east side; and four garages and an economy lot on the west side.

The terminal is separated into west and east terminals for passenger drop off and pickup. Linked below is a map of the airlines associated with the terminals.

The central area of the airport houses two security screening areas and exits from the underground train system. The north side of the Jeppesen Terminal contains a third security screening area and a segregated immigration and customs area. A large fountain is currently being removed due to the expansion project currently underway.

Passengers are routed first to airline ticket counters or kiosks for checking in. Since all gates at Denver are in the outlying concourses, passengers must pass through any one of the three separate security screening areas for admittance into the secure air side of the airport (one at each end of the main terminal, with escalators down to the trains, plus one at the end of the walkway to Concourse A).

After leaving the main terminal via the train or pedestrian bridge, passengers can access 95 full-service gates on 3 separate concourses (A, B, & C), plus gates for regional flights.

Stone used in the terminal walls was supplied by the Yule Marble Quarry, also used for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Lincoln Memorial.[8]

South Terminal Redevelopment Program

A new $500 million adjunct terminal next to the Jeppesen terminal will house a railway station, to be run by Regional Transportation District's (RTD) FasTracks system, a 500-room hotel and conference center, to be run by Westin Hotels & Resorts, creating over 6,600 jobs. Projected completion date is estimated to be sometime in mid 2016. The rail link will provide a direct linkage between downtown Denver and the airport at a cost of over $1 billion. The design concept of the South Terminal was envisioned by architect Santiago Calatrava. Calatrava claims that the South Terminal Redevelopment Program was inspired by an eagle flying, and will keep the Jeppesen terminal a visible icon. The Calatrava design was significantly reduced which, along with disputes with contractor Parsons Transportation Group, led to the withdrawal of the Calatrava firm. Gensler and AndersonMasonDale Architects are the architects for the project.[41] Nevertheless, construction eventually began on Oct. 5, 2011.[42][43]


A typical gate in Concourse A

Denver International Airport has three midfield concourses, spaced far apart. Concourse A is accessible via a pedestrian bridge directly from the terminal building, as well as via the underground train system that services all three concourses. For access to Concourses B and C, passengers must utilize the Denver International Airport Automated Guideway Transit System. On one occasion in the late 1990s, the train system encountered technical problems and shut down for several hours, creating a tremendous back-log of passengers in Jeppesen Terminal since no pedestrian walkways exist between the terminal and the B and C Concourses. Since that day the airport's train system has continued to operate without any further major service interruption.

The concourses and main terminal have a similar layout to Atlanta's airport, except that Denver has no T gates directly attached to the terminal and the space between concourses at DIA is much wider than the space between the concourses in Atlanta. This allows for maximum operating efficiency as aircraft can be pushed away from their gate awaiting departure and other arriving and departing aircraft can still taxi through the alley behind them without delay.

The airport collects landing fees, rent and other revenues from the airlines to help offset its operating costs. Denver International Airport is owned and operated by the City and County of Denver, but does not operate using tax dollars. Instead, the airport is an "enterprise fund" generating its own revenues in order to cover operating expenses. The airport operates off of revenue generated by the airlines – landing fees, rents and other payments – and revenues generated by non-airline resources – parking, concessions revenues, rent and other payments.

On December 14, 2006, The Denver Post reported that DIA is in the design phase of expanding Concourse C in the airport's "first major concourse expansion." At least eight new gates are planned for construction at the east end of Concourse C and the project has an estimated pricetag of approximately $160 million. If the project is given the green light to move past the design phase, construction on Concourse C is estimated to take 3 years and will allow primarily Southwest Airlines, but also other carriers, to increase flight schedules at one of the nation's fastest-growing airports.

Concourse B also recently expanded with the addition of a regional jet terminal designed by Reddy & Reddy Architects at the east side of Concourse B.[44] This Regional Jet concourse consists of one smaller concourse or finger which is connected to Concourse B.[45] These gates allow direct jet bridge access to smaller Regional jets. With the opening of the Regional Jet Concourse on April 24, 2007, United Airlines has left Concourse A entirely and now operates solely from Concourse B, with the exception of international flights requiring customs support.[46]

The Airport has also announced plans to revise the Airport Master Plan to account for changing circumstances since the airport opened. According to the December 14, 2006, Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News articles, plans being drafted could possibly include an extension of the Main terminal to the South. This change would increase the number of ticketing counters and would also include a rail station for the terminus of the FasTracks commuter rail line from Denver's Union Station.

Concourse A

The entrance to Concourse B

Note: Concourse A handles all international arrivals at Denver (excluding airports with border preclearance) as well as certain departing flights:

Concourse A has 37 Gates: A24–A68 with four international boarding gates, gate A37 is used by British Airways and gates A41 & A43 are used by Aeromexico, Air Canada, Icelandair, and Lufthansa. Denver is one of the busiest airports worldwide with only limited international operations.

Frontier Airlines is the largest carrier on Concourse A, while Great Lakes Airlines and American Airlines are also located on the concourse.

Concourse B

Overhead view of the Concourse C train station

Concourse B has 77 Gates: B15–B29, B31–B33, B35–B39, B42–B95

In November 2009, United and DIA reached an agreement in which United released five of its gates in the western end of the concourse. DIA in return leased these gates to United's Star Alliance partner US Airways. United Airlines has two United Clubs on Concourse B, both one level above the main area of the concourse. One is adjacent to gate B32, and the other is adjacent to gate B44. This concourse is exclusive to Star Alliance partners.

Concourse C

Concourse C has 22 Gates: C28–C49
Southwest Airlines is the main carrier in Concourse C, though Delta uses the concourse as well.

Concourses D and E

The airport has reserved room for two more Concourses to be built beyond Concourse C for future expandability. Concourse D can be built without having to move any existing structure. The underground train system, however, will have to be extended. Concourse E will require moving a United Airlines hangar. However, before construction on Concourses D and E begins, Concourses A, B, and C can be extended in both directions.

Airlines and destinations

Denver International Airport is the largest hub of Frontier Airlines and the fourth-largest hub for United Airlines. Southwest Airlines continues to grow rapidly at the airport and the airport is the airline's fifth largest city. The airport is also the main hub of Great Lakes Airlines.

The three largest airlines serving DIA are United Airlines (including United Express), Southwest Airlines, and Frontier Airlines, controlling about 37%, 24%, and 23% (numbers were rounded) of all passenger traffic at DEN in October 2011, respectively.[47]

Passengers boarding the underground Automated Guideway Transit System, which transports passengers between the concourses and the Jeppesen Terminal
An Alexander Eaglerock biplane at Concourse B's west end
Airlines Destinations Concourse
AeroméxicoSeasonal: Mexico City A
Air CanadaMontréal-Trudeau, Toronto-Pearson A
AirTran Airways operated by Southwest AirlinesAtlanta, Cancún A
Alaska AirlinesSeattle/Tacoma
Seasonal: Anchorage
American AirlinesChicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami A
American EagleChicago-O'Hare, Los Angeles A
British AirwaysLondon-Heathrow A
Delta Air LinesAtlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York-JFK, New York-LaGuardia C
Delta Connection operated by Pinnacle AirlinesMemphis, Salt Lake City C
Delta Connection operated by SkyWest AirlinesSalt Lake City C
Frontier AirlinesAkron/Canton (ends January 6, 2013), Atlanta, Austin, Branson, Cancún, Chicago-Midway, Chicago-Rockford, Cleveland (begins January 9, 2013),[48] Dallas/Fort Worth, Dayton, Detroit, Fargo (begins November 9, 2012),[49] Fort Lauderdale, Grand Rapids, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Knoxville (ends December 9, 2012),[50] Las Vegas, Little Rock, Los Angeles, Louisville (ends January 6, 2013), Madison, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Nashville, New York-LaGuardia, Orange County (CA), Oklahoma City, Orlando, Philadelphia (ends January 6, 2013), Phoenix, Phoenix-Mesa (begins November 15, 2012), Portland (OR), Puerto Vallarta, Sacramento (ends January 6, 2013), St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, San José del Cabo, Seattle/Tacoma, South Bend, Spokane, Washington-National
Seasonal: Anchorage, Bellingham, Bozeman, Cozumel, Fairbanks, Fort Myers, Harrisburg, Jackson Hole, Liberia, New Orleans, Newport News, Palm Springs, Punta Cana, San José (CR), Tampa
Frontier Airlines operated by Republic AirlinesAlbuquerque, Billings, Bismarck, Bloomington/Normal, Bozeman, Cedar Rapids, Colorado Springs, Dallas/Fort Worth, Des Moines, Durango, Houston-Intercontinental, Kansas City (ends October 27, 2012), Little Rock, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minot (begins November 5, 2012),[51] Oklahoma City, Omaha, Phoenix, Provo (ends January 6, 2013),[52] Salt Lake City, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Sioux Falls, Wichita (ends November 16, 2012)[53]
Seasonal: Great Falls, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo
Great Lakes AirlinesAlamosa, Alliance, Chadron, Cheyenne, Cortez, Dickinson, Dodge City, Farmington, Gillette, Great Bend, Hays, Huron, Kearney, Laramie (ends November 3, 2012), Liberal, McCook, Moab, North Platte, Page, Pierre, Prescott, Pueblo, Riverton, Scottsbluff, Sheridan, Show Low, Telluride, Vernal, Williston, Worland A
IcelandairReykjavík-Keflavík A
JetBlue AirwaysBoston, New York-JFK A
LufthansaFrankfurt A
Southwest AirlinesAkron/Canton, Albuquerque, Amarillo, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boise, Boston, Burbank, Chicago-Midway, Columbus (OH), Dayton, Detroit, El Paso, Fort Lauderdale, Hartford/Springfield, Houston-Hobby, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Louisville (begins November 4, 2012), Los Angeles, Manchester (NH), Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Nashville, New Orleans, New York-LaGuardia, Newark, Oakland, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Ontario, Orange County (CA), Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland (OR), Providence, Raleigh/Durham, Reno/Tahoe, Sacramento, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose (CA), Seattle/Tacoma, Spokane, Tampa, Tucson, Tulsa, Washington-Dulles A, C
Spirit AirlinesChicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Phoenix/Mesa A
United AirlinesAlbuquerque, Anchorage, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Billings, Boise, Boston, Cancún, Chicago-O'Hare, Cleveland, Columbus (OH), Dallas/Fort Worth, Des Moines, Grand Rapids, Honolulu, Houston-Intercontinental, Kahului, Kansas City, Kona, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New Orleans, New York-LaGuardia, Newark, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Ontario, Orange County (CA), Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland (OR), Puerto Vallarta, Reno/Tahoe, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose (CA), San José del Cabo, Seattle/Tacoma, Sioux Falls, Spokane, Tampa, Tokyo-Narita (begins March 31, 2013),[54] Tulsa, Vancouver, Washington-Dulles, Washington-National, Wichita
Seasonal: Bozeman, Calgary, Eagle/Vail, Fairbanks, Fort Lauderdale, Jackson Hole, Lihue, Mexico City, Montrose, Tucson
United Express operated by ExpressJet AirlinesAlbuquerque, Amarillo, Billings, Bismarck, Cedar Rapids, Cincinnati, Colorado Springs, Columbus (OH), Dallas-Love, Dallas/Fort Worth, Des Moines, Durango (CO), El Paso, Fargo, Fayetteville (AR), Grand Junction, Grand Rapids, Houston-Intercontinental, Huntsville, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Knoxville, Little Rock, Louisville, Lubbock, Madison, Memphis, Minot, Moline/Quad Cities, Montrose, Nashville, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Peoria, Pittsburgh, Rapid City, San Antonio, Shreveport, Sioux Falls, Springfield (MO), Tucson, Tulsa, Wichita, Williston (begins November 4, 2012)[55]
Seasonal: Cleveland, Traverse City
United Express operated by GoJet AirlinesAustin, Boise, Bozeman, Cincinnati, Dayton, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Kansas City, Madison, Nashville, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Omaha, St. Louis, San Antonio, Toronto-Pearson, Tulsa B
United Express operated by Republic AirlinesAlbuquerque, Billings, Colorado Springs, Durango (CO), Eagle/Vail, Hayden/Steamboat Springs, Jackson Hole, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Rapid City, Salt Lake City, Sioux Falls, Wichita B
United Express operated by Shuttle AmericaAlbuquerque, Atlanta, Cedar Rapids, Columbus (OH), Dallas/Fort Worth, Des Moines, Detroit, Edmonton, Grand Rapids, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Louisville, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Moline/Quad Cities, New Orleans, Omaha, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Spokane, St. Louis, Toronto-Pearson B
United Express operated by SkyWest AirlinesAlbuquerque, Aspen, Atlanta, Austin, Bakersfield, Billings, Birmingham (AL), Bismarck, Boise, Bozeman, Burbank, Calgary, Casper, Cedar Rapids, Cleveland, Cody, Colorado Springs, Columbus (OH), Dallas-Love, Dallas/Fort Worth, Des Moines, Durango (CO), Eagle/Vail, Edmonton, El Paso, Eugene, Fargo, Fayetteville (AR), Fresno, Gillette, Grand Junction, Great Falls, Grand Forks (begins October 3, 2012), Gunnison/Crested Butte, Hayden/Steamboat Springs, Helena, Idaho Falls, Jackson Hole, Kalispell, Kansas City, Laramie (begins November 4, 2012),[56] Madison, Medford, Memphis, Midland-Odessa, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minot, Missoula, Moline/Quad Cities, Monterey, Montrose, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Ontario, Orange County (CA), Palm Springs, Pasco, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland (OR), Rapid City, Redmond/Bend, Reno/Tahoe, Regina, Rock Springs, St. Louis, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Jose (CA), Santa Barbara, Saskatoon, Seattle/Tacoma, Sioux Falls, Spokane, Springfield (MO), Toronto-Pearson, Tucson, Tulsa, Vancouver, Wichita, Winnipeg
Seasonal: Grand Rapids
US AirwaysCharlotte, Philadelphia, Phoenix B
VolarisMexico City (begins December 8, 2012)[57] A

Cargo airlines

Airlines Destinations
Capital Cargo International AirlinesCincinnati, Salt Lake City
FedEx ExpressBillings, Fort Worth, Indianapolis, Memphis
UPS AirlinesBillings, Louisville, Ontario, Reno/Tahoe

Top destinations

Busiest Domestic Routes from DEN (July 2012-June 2012)[58]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Los Angeles, California 957,000 American, Frontier, Southwest, United
2 Phoenix, Arizona 916,000 Frontier, Southwest, United, US Airways
3 Las Vegas, Nevada 866,000 Frontier, Southwest, Spirit, United
4 San Francisco, California 810,000 Frontier, Southwest, United
5 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 764,000 American, Frontier, Spirit, United
6 Seattle/Tacoma, Washington 754,000 Alaska, Frontier, Southwest, United
7 Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota 750,000 Delta, Frontier, Southwest, United
8 Atlanta, Georgia 745,000 AirTran, Delta, Frontier, Southwest, United
9 Salt Lake City, Utah 695,000 Delta, Frontier, Southwest, United
10 Chicago, Illinois (O'Hare) 668,000 American, Spirit, United
Busiest International Routes from Denver (2009–2010) [59]
Rank Airport Passengers Carriers
1 London (Heathrow), United Kingdom 356,798 British Airways
2 Cancún, Mexico 218,469 Frontier Airlines, United Airlines
3 Toronto (Pearson), Canada 206,954 Air Canada, United Express
4 Calgary, Canada 200,300 United Airlines, United Express
5 Frankfurt, Germany 194,566 Lufthansa
6 Vancouver, Canada 155,096 United Airlines, United Express
7 Edmonton, Canada 130,562 United Express
8 Winnipeg, Canada 101,169 United Express
9 Puerto Vallarta, Mexico 94,867 Frontier Airlines, United Airlines
10 Mexico City, Mexico 63,966 Aeromexico, United Airlines


The Regional Transportation District (RTD) operates five bus routes under the frequent airport express bus service called skyRide, as well as one Express bus route and one Limited bus route, between DIA and various locations throughout the Denver-Aurora and Boulder metropolitan areas.

The skyRide services operate on comfortable coaches with ample space for luggage, while the Express and Limited bus routes operate on regular city transit buses and are mainly geared for use for airport employees.

Route Title Areas served
AA Wagon Road / DIA Westminster, Northglenn, Thornton, Commerce City
AB Boulder / DIA Boulder, Louisville, Superior, Broomfield, Westminster
AF Federal Center / Downtown / DIA Lakewood, Downtown Denver (Market Street Station), Northeast Denver
AS Stapleton / DIA Northeast Denver
AT Arapahoe County / DIA Greenwood Village, Southeast Denver, Central Aurora
169L Buckley / Tower / DIA South and East Aurora, Northeast Denver
145X Brighton / DIA Brighton

skyRide services drop-off and pick-up from both the West and East side of the Jeppesen Terminal while the Express and Limited services drop-off only on the West side of the Terminal and pick-up only from the East side of the Terminal.

By 2015, RTD plans to build a commuter rail line from downtown Denver's Union Station through Aurora to DIA, as part of the FasTracks expansion program. Scheduled bus service is also available to points such as Fort Collins, Colorado and van services stretch into Nebraska, Wyoming, and Colorado summer and ski resort areas. Amtrak offers a Fly-Rail plan for ticketing with United Airlines for trips into scenic areas in the Western U.S. via a Denver stopover.

Accidents and incidents

See Stapleton International Airport for accidents and incidents prior to March 1995


There are several conspiracy theories relating to the airport's design and construction such as the runways being laid out in a shape similar to a swastika. Murals painted in the baggage claim area have been claimed to contain themes referring to future military oppression and a one-world government. However, the artist, Leo Tanguma, said the murals, entitled "In Peace and Harmony With Nature" and "The Children of the World Dream of Peace," depict man-made environmental destruction and genocide along with humanity coming together to heal nature and live in peace.[66]

Conspiracists have also seen unusual markings in the terminals in DIA and have recorded them as templar markings.[67] They have pointed to unusual words cut into the floor as being Satanic, Masonic, or some impenetrable secret code of the New World Order: Cochetopa, Sisnaajini and Dzit Dit Gaii.[68] These words are actually Navajo terms for geographical sites in Colorado. "Braaksma" and "Villarreal" are actually the names of Carolyn Braaksma and Mark Villarreal, artists who worked on the airport’s sculptures and paintings.[69]

There is a dedication marker in the airport inscribed with words, "New World Airport Commission". It also is inscribed with the Square and Compasses of the Freemasons, along with a listing of the two Grand Lodges of Freemasonry in Colorado. It is mounted over a time capsule that was sealed during the dedication of the airport, to be opened in 2094. The Freemasons participated in laying this “capstone” (the last, finishing stone) of the airport project. The capstone is inscribed with a line that states "New World Airport Commission".[68]

Robert Blaskiewicz writing for Skeptical Inquirer Magazine states that conspiracies about the airport range from the "absurd to the even more absurd". When asking airport media representatives, 'what conspiracies are associated with the airport', they responded, "You name a conspiracy theory and somehow we seem to be connected to it." Blaskiewicz found that contrary to claims from conspiracy theorists that DIA will not discuss these stories with the public, they also give tours of the airport.[70]

See also


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  4. ^ Walsh, Chris (May 1, 2008). "Flights to Asia Taking Shape: Airlines & Aerospace". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved September 8, 2011. 
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  10. ^ "Mustang/Mesteño by Luis Jiménez". City of Denver. Retrieved July 11, 2012. 
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External links