Denver International Airport (DIA) experienced unprecedented growth in the past year, making it their busiest year on record. Despite the ongoing struggles in the airline industry due to the pandemic, passengers have flocked back to DIA, propelling it to new heights. With an estimated 78 million annual passengers expected by the end of 2023, DIA has surpassed its own forecasts. Denver locals affectionately refer to the airport as DIA, which opened in 1995 with the capacity to handle 50 million passengers per year; a number that is now projected to exceed 100 million by 2027, as estimated by DIA. In just a few years, DIA has risen from being the 21st busiest airport in the world to the sixth, according to global travel data provider OAG.

United Airlines emerges as the dominant operator at Denver International Airport, capturing a market share of 46.7%. Southwest Airlines closely follows with a 30.7% market share, while Frontier Airlines holds 9.7%. DIA has become United Airlines’ busiest hub, prompting the airline to invest nearly $1 billion in expanding their presence in Denver. This investment includes the addition of more gates, flights, and destinations, as well as opening the largest lounge in their network. Jonna McGrath, vice president of Denver Airport operations for United Airlines, highlights the airport’s increasing popularity among both connecting passengers and local Denver residents. As a fast-growing city, Denver serves as a strong base for United Airlines, leading them to aspire to operate about 650 flights daily before 2030.

CNBC recently obtained exclusive access to United Airlines’ operations at Denver International Airport, shedding light on the strategies employed by both the airport and the airline to meet the surging demand. The additional investment by United Airlines aims to enhance infrastructure and boost capacity to handle the growing passenger traffic. The airport has already added more gates, allowing for increased flight frequency, thus enabling a higher volume of travelers. Southwest Airlines, while not dominating the market like United Airlines, also recognizes the potential of DIA and continues to increase its presence at the airport.

With the exponential growth of DIA, it becomes crucial to ensure an excellent experience for passengers. Both the airport and the airlines are implementing measures to meet the changing needs of travelers. Enhancing customer service, optimizing check-in processes, and improving security procedures are just a few areas that are being revamped. Furthermore, DIA plans to collaborate with airlines to introduce direct routes to popular destinations, reducing travel time and enhancing convenience for passengers. The future of air travel at DIA is indeed promising, with ongoing efforts to provide exceptional service and continuously adapt to the evolving demands of the industry.

Denver International Airport’s remarkable growth in recent years solidifies its standing as one of the world’s busiest airports. With a strategic location and forward-thinking airlines like United and Southwest, DIA has become a hub of travel, accommodating millions of passengers annually and surpassing its own expectations. As Denver continues to attract visitors and expand as a city, the airport is poised to play an even more significant role in connecting people, bringing with it new opportunities, economic growth, and an ever-evolving travel experience.

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