Denver Airport Guide
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Your Complete Guide to Denver Airport

Denver International Airport is one of the largest in the world, with passenger traffic that is recorded at just over 50 million per annum. The airport is quite nearby the city of Denver, in the United States of America, and is regarded as an important gateway for local and international passengers. It’s IATA code is DEN, and its ICAO code is listed as KDEN. Many also refer to it as DIA. Denver Airport has a wide range of facilities, a number of ground transportation options and is served by a large number of airline carriers. It is also one of the main hubs for United Airlines, and a hub for the low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines and the commuter carrier Great Lakes Airlines.

Denver International is found in the state of Colorado, approximately 25 miles, or 40km northeast of downtown Denver. The airport is nearby to the Barr Lake State Park, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, and is to the north of the Cherry Creek State Park. Nearby areas include Commerce City, Aurora, Green Valley Ranch and Henderson. The state of Colorado in North America is to the north of New Mexico, to the south of Wyoming, to the east of Utah and to the west of Kansas, and cities that are found nearby to Denver include Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins and Grand Junction. The airport of Denver is easily accessed by several buses run by the RTD company, by charter buses, mountain carriers, free hotel shuttles or commuter shuttles. Taxis are also a viable way to travel to and from the airport, but will cost a reasonable amount due to the far location. The airport does not currently have a train station for rail connections to the city, but in future, an extension of the Denver light rail system may be built to include the location. Driving to the airport is quite simple, as it is located just off Pena Boulevard, which can be accessed from the Interstate-70 or the E-470. There are also plenty of parking options available, including a parking garage and a few Economy car parks.

DIA is one of the newer airports of the United States, as it was planned for construction only in the later 1980’s. The airport was built to replace the Stapleton International, which had become congested due to the high air traffic demands of Denver. The airport finally opened in February 1995, after a number of delays, at a cost of $4.8 billion. It has been opened with what was thought to be a state-of-the-art and unique automated baggage handling system, but it turned out to be a complete failure, requiring consistent maintenance. It also did a poor job of transferring luggage from belt to belt. The system was eventually abandoned in 2005, and traditional baggage handlers were set to work.

The airport is built with an impressive white Teflon-coated fibreglass roof that is a resemblance of the snow-capped Rocky Mountains. The roof is supported by a catenary steel cable system, similar to the Brooklyn Bridge design. Denver Airport also features a large passenger bridge, 365 feet in length, and 45.61 feet high. It weighs 3,300 tons and is considered as a quite an architectural achievement. The bridge connects the main terminal building with Concourse A, and its large glass windows offer superb views of Denver and the airport’s aircraft activities. Passengers can also look down and see aircraft passing below them. FAA control tower is an impressive construction as well, 327 feet in height, and considered as one of the tallest in North America. It takes about twenty minutes to reach the top from the ground floor, by the 548 stairs. The tower is also designed to sway only one-half an inch in wind speeds of 86 miles per hour. Another interesting fact about Denver Airport is that it is surrounded by some amazing conspiracy theories. A great number of people were suspicious of the airport’s construction, claiming that Stapleton could have continued its operations and handled the number of passengers required. The theories believe that the location is the headquarters for the New World Order. The conspiracies revolve around the design of the runways and the artworks found within the terminal as well. Authorities claim that it is just another normal American airport, used for usual activities.

Denver International Airport consists of six runways, a main passenger terminal and three concourses. The sixth runway is the longest commercial precision-instrument runway in North America, and about 1,200 metres longer than the other runways. It measures 16,000 feet in length, or 4,877 metres. Any large, fully-loaded jumbo jet can therefore take-off from Denver Airport. The airport is situated on a huge expanse of land. It is regarded as the largest one in the U.S. and the second largest in the world in terms of land size (the largest being the King Fahd International Airport). It covers a total area of 53 square miles, or 140 square kilometres. Although Denver can currently quite easily handle its passenger traffic, it is designed with expandability in mind, and its design solves many of the problems which were experienced at the Stapleton Airport. It has a mid-field, main terminal building and three mid-field concourses, referred to as A, B and C. Two more concourses can easily be built beyond Concourse C and the current concourses can also be extended. Up to twelve runways can still be built as well. Once DIA is completed, it will be able to handle 110 million passengers per annum.

The terminal building is named the Jeppesen Terminal, in honour of Elry B. Jeppesen, an aviation safety pioneer. It has several levels, and is separated into east and west sides. The terminal’s central area has the exits from the underground train system as well as two security screening areas, and a third security screening area is found on the north side of the building. Level 6 is for departure facilities, Level 5 is where all forms of ground transport are found and Level 4 is the arrival level from where passengers can be collected. All the airline gates (in total 95) are located in the concourses, which are quite far from the Jeppesen Terminal, and are therefore connected by the DIA Automated Guideway Transit System. This people mover train is bi-directional, and serves thousands of people per day. It is a vital part of the airport’s operation, as there is no other way to reach the Concourses B and C. Concourse A is the airport’s international concourse, while domestic flights will depart from the other two concourses.

Denver Airport has extensive facilities for its departing and arriving passengers, on both the landside and airside of the terminal. There are banking and currency exchange services, lost and found services, free Wi-Fi connections, baggage storage services, a full-service post office, duty free shops, a number of smoking lounges and a wide variety of restaurants and additional shops. VIP lounges within the concourses include the American Airlines Admirals Club, a United Club and a British Airways Executive Club. The entire complex is accessible to disabled passengers as well.

Denver International Airport is the fourth largest hub for United Airlines, and the main hub for Frontier Airlines and Great Lakes Airlines. It is regarded as the eleventh busiest in the world for passenger traffic, as the fifth busiest for aircraft movements and as the largest airport in the United States without a non-stop service to Asia. The airport is also well-known for its ‘on-time’ arrivals and was voted as Best Airport in North America by readers of Business Traveler Magazine for six years in a row. ‘Time’ also named Denver as ‘America’s Best Run Airport in 2002. At Concourse A, the main airlines present include Aeromexico, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Frontier Airlines, Great Lakes Aviation, Iceland Air, JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines. The most popular international flights from Denver Airport head to London (United Kingdom), Cancun (Mexico), Toronto (Canada), Calgary (Canada), Frankfurt (Germany), as well as Vancouver, Edmonton and Winnipeg in Canada.

Airline companies present at Concourses B and C include AirTran Airways, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, US Airways and United Airways, and the most popular domestic destinations served from the airport are Los Angeles (California), Phoenix (Arizona), Las Vegas (Nevada), San Francisco (California), Minneapolis (Minnesota), Dallas (Texas), Seattle/Tacoma (Washington), Atlanta (Georgia), Salt Lake City (Utah) and Chicago (Illinois). Southwest Airlines is one of the main domestic carriers of the airport as well.

Further airport information is found on various online websites, and from the information counters. The terminal is also circulated by Airport Ambassadors in white cowboy hats who are ready to assist passengers with all enquiries. Denver Airport’s contact details are as follows: Main number – 303 342 2000, Ground Transportation – 303 342 4096 and Parking – 303 342 7275.