Denver International Airport (DEN) in Colorado has opened 16 gates on Concourse C as part of its US$2.3bn gate expansion program. A total of 39 new gates will be constructed across all three DEN concourses, increasing capacity by 30% and improving the passenger experience by adding new amenities. The most recent 49,238m2 expanded gate area also includes 20 holdrooms, additional airline support areas, an outdoor patio, seating options, charging stations, new restrooms, nursing rooms and pet relief areas. There is also space for eight new shopping and dining options that will open in 2023 including Black Canyon Market and Goods, Longs Peak Market and Goods, Aviano Coffee, Mister Oso, Bar Dough, Cholon Modern Asian, Marczyk Fine Foods and Teatulia Tea and Coffee Bar.
The C-East gates are expected to be LEED Gold Certified. Sustainability features of this expansion area include a rooftop solar system capable of generating nearly 355kW of electricity. The project was designed with energy efficiency in mind and is projected to reduce the energy use of the facility by 30% compared with a conventional design. Low-flow fixtures, toilets and urinals are projected to reduce water use in the facility by approximately 47%.
All 16 gates in the C-East expansion area have been leased by Southwest Airlines, which is expected to begin operating out of the new gates in late May or early June. Once the gates become operational, two of the 16 new gates will remain closed for several months to enable alignment and tie-in with existing gates and holdroom construction. The final two gates and additional holdrooms are expected to be operational by October.
The C-East expansion area broke ground in early 2019 and has been managed by a joint venture between construction companies Holder and FCI that also manages expansion work on Concourse B-East. Engineering company Jacobs was contracted for architectural and design services for the project, and management company WSP serves as DEN’s program management team (PMT).
The original budget for the gate expansion program was US$1.5bn to construct 39 new gates. Once the gates were officially leased to United and Southwest, DEN added work to the program to accommodate the relocation of various airlines to other gates. This work includes the buildout of a new commuter facility, new airline support spaces, a new club for American on Concourse C and gate modifications and technology upgrades. The additional budget also enables the construction of the ground load facility, including five new gates for Frontier Airlines. As a result, the program budget is now approximately US$2.3bn.
Phil Washington, CEO of DEN, said, “The gate expansion program is just one way we are growing our infrastructure to ensure we are prepared for 100 million passengers in the next eight to 10 years. These new gates will not only allow one of our largest carriers to expand at DEN but provide our passengers with more options and an improved experience.”
Mayor Michael Hancock joined the airport for a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the completion of 16 new gates on Concourse C. He said, “Denver International Airport is our region’s and Colorado’s largest economic engine and these investments are critical to keeping that engine running to support our entire city and state. These new gates will bring more flights, jobs and economic opportunities to our region while making even more destinations accessible for our residents, and making Denver even more accessible to travelers from around the world.”
Steve Sisneros, vice president of airport affairs at Southwest Airlines, said, “Our mile-high heart is beaming with pride as we introduce our customers and employees to this exceptional expansion, which gives us the ability to continue growing and serving our Denver customers. With the opening of the gates, we continue partnering with DEN to design and build larger and modern facilities to support our long-term vision in Colorado, which includes our recently opened maintenance hangar complex and buildings for our provisioning, cargo and ground support teams, and a larger people department to support our robust recruiting efforts.”