#15 — Cool, Clear Water
DIA has made your life easier and more hydrated.
The airport has six new water-bottle-filling units available for travelers. Each of the airport's three concourses has two units. Air passengers have been asking for the units since the TSA's 311 rules went into effect and liquid volumes more than 3 ounces cannot be taken beyond security screening. Now, travelers can bring an empty water bottle or some other container and fill it with water near an airline gate and take it onboard.
#14 — DIA Upgrades Public Wi-Fi Infrastructure
Since 2007, DIA has provided public Internet access throughout the airport, covering Jeppesen Terminal and A, B and C gates. Increased use of mobile devices—smartphones, tablets and laptops—by the traveling public required upgrades to the underlying infrastructure to ensure DIA's commitment to providing an exceptional "passenger experience."
In November 2013, DIA completed an upgrade to the public Wi-Fi infrastructure that serves the concourses. The effort included a $1 million upgrade of the wireless access points, antennas, controllers and switches to new, state-of-the-art Wi-Fi technology.
This upgrade increases the capacity of the infrastructure, while reducing congestion on access points in concourse locations with heavy passenger traffic. The design called for increasing the number of access points and specialized placement to afford consistent signal coverage throughout the public areas of each concourse. Extra attention was paid to the center cores, subcores, and train platform areas, which lacked proper coverage. The new architecture and technologies deployed ensure DIA has a robust, scalable public Wi-Fi solution with the ability to meet growing demand.
#13 — Video Towers Debut in Jeppesen Terminal
It's hard to miss DIA's four new curved LED video screens—each with a diagonal length of 26 feet or 312 inches—mounted on the most conspicuous objects in the terminal atrium: the four elevator silos.
"The video towers are the largest digital displays currently in any U.S. Airport," said John Ackerman, Denver International Airport's chief commercial officer. The video screens are part of a first-of-its-kind digital advertising program, which will place DIA at the forefront of digital video advertising. Clear Channel Airports, a marketer of airport advertising, partnered with DIA to initiate the program, which will benefit the airport in several ways:
- $95 million in revenue is projected over the term of a 10-year contract
- Nonairline revenue (advertising income) is significantly increased, which reduces costs for the airport's airline partners
- Businesses have the opportunity to showcase their brands in new and creative ways to millions of passengers
#12 — DIA Reduced the Number of Airport Smoking Lounges
DIA has supported Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock's plans for creating a better, healthier city and announced in May 2012 it was moving toward becoming a smoke-free facility. In 2013, all but one of the four indoor smoking lounges at DIA were remodeled as new non-smoking concession concepts.
#11 — Construction of Five New Gates
Construction at Denver International Airport isn't limited to the Hotel and Transit Center. Two important projects, totaling around $56 million, kicked-off in 2013 to expand the C Concourse and to add a new data center to the airport.
In September, the $46 million construction of five new gates for Concourse C began in earnest and is expected to be completed in November 2014. The 39,000 square-foot extension will be an airy, light-filled, easy-to-navigate space that will have new public art and new commercial vendors in addition to more gates to serve Southwest Airlines. The five new gates will be C23 through C27.
Workers also are busy designing, building and assembling a new sustainable DIA Data Center. The $10 million project will improve DIA's data capacity, which will in turn reduce operation and maintenance costs of the existing data centers, and will result in improved service for internal and external customers. DIA is aiming for LEED certification of the new structure.
#10 — Electric-Vehicle Charging Stations Installed
DIA is one of the greenest airports in the world, and now, customers who park their plug-in electric vehicles in the east and west parking garages at DIA can charge up at one of 10 new electric vehicle charging stations.
The charging stations, which were officially opened to the public on Nov. 4, are free to customers who pay to park in the garages. The chargers are compatible with most electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, including popular models such as the Chevy Volt, the Nissan Leaf and the plug-in version of the Toyota Prius. The project is one of the first major public installations of commercial Level 1 electric vehicle charging systems in the country and provides a full charge to most plug-in vehicles in about eight hours.
#9 — DIA Gives Back to the Community
Denver International Airport has long been a supporter of Denver's Road Home and the city's efforts to end homelessness. As a city agency, the Department of Aviation participates in the Better Way to Give Donation Meter Campaign. You may have seen devices that look like parking meters around the airport. They are designed to take donations for the Road Home program and have yielded an average of about $1,800 in contributions every year. DIA, however, wanted in 2013 to increase donations by introducing new collection containers and making them more visible than the meters.
So, four new change collection receptacles were installed in February in front of security checkpoints. They have been a great success. Through the beginning of December this year, DIA already has collected more than $89,000 in proceeds from both the receptacles and meters.
In August, DIA helped raise money for Special Olympics Colorado. More than 1,000 people in the Denver area participated in the first-ever plane pull fundraiser event held at DIA. Teams of up to 25 people competed to pull a 164,000-pound Boeing 757 jet 12 feet in the least amount of time. The event raised more than $65,000.
#8 — DIA Wins Awards and Receives Accolades
Which U.S. airport has the healthiest food? In November, the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine determined that DIA gets that accolade. DIA moved from the No. 9 spot in 2012 to No. 1 in 2013. The study was based on the percentage of airport restaurants that offer at least one high-fiber, plant-based entrée, such as a green salad, veggie wrap or black bean burgers. DIA topped the list with 86 percent. It's the first time the airport has made the top spot since 2003. Recent food and beverage additions, such as Udi's Café, Jamba Juice and local favorite Root Down have helped increase the offerings of organic, gluten-free and other healthy choices.
DIA also received global recognition by winning a FAB award (Airport Food & Beverage Awards) for its innovative Premium Value Concessions Program, which rewards the airport's top-performing concessions for having excellent customer service. In May, Skytrax, a world leader on airport research, ranked DIA ninth on the list of the world's best airports that have over 50 million passengers per year. DIA was the only airport in the United States to make the top-10 global list. And, in November, a USA Today reader poll found that DIA is the "Best U.S. Airport for Art" in an online poll.
#7 — New International Air Service
DIA's international network of destinations is in a better position than one year ago. In addition to United's first-ever nonstop flight to Tokyo from Denver on June 10, United added a nonstop flight to Fort McMurray, Alberta, on June 7 — DIA's ninth Canadian destination and Fort McMurray's first U.S. destination. Also, Frontier added Caribbean service this December to Montego Bay — DIA's first-ever service to Jamaica.
And, we know that when airlines add new international destinations to the market demand grows and new travel is stimulated. Icelandair is a great example. We have seen the market between Denver and Iceland grow from 1,200 people in 2011 to more than 17,000 people the first year of service (YE May 2013). In fact, Reykjavik now ranks as Denver's seventh-largest market in Europe. The nonstop flight between Denver and Reykjavik has been so successful that Icelandair will increase service frequency next summer to daily flights - up from the four weekly flights offered the first summer of service.
#6 — Severe Weather Response
Just after 2 p.m. on June 18, a tornado touched down on DIA property. Thankfully, no one was hurt and no damage was reported. But the event showed how quickly and efficiently the airport can evacuate tens of thousands of passengers and employees during an emergency. Passengers remained calm as DIA employees helped escort people to the nearest tornado shelters or stairwells.
DIA is no stranger to severe weather, as the airport also cleared more than 78 inches of snow from paved surfaces in 2013. And, when severe flooding struck our neighboring communities in September, DIA stepped up to assist communities in need. The airport provided concrete box culverts to help restore infrastructure that had been flooded out. The Army Corps of Engineers installed some of the culverts for free on Highway 36 near Pinewood Springs.
#5 — RNAV Implemented
New arrival and departure flight procedures, called RNAV (aRea NAVigation), are now in place for Denver International Airport. These procedures are part of NextGen, which is an umbrella term for the ongoing, wide-ranging transformation and modernization of the National Airspace System. At the most basic level, NextGen represents an evolution from a ground-based system of air traffic control to a satellite-based system of air traffic management.
DIA collaborated with the FAA, Rocky Mountain and Centennial airports, major airline partners, and the Jeppesen Company to design and implement these innovative procedures. The collaboration brings the benefits of Performance Based Navigation — increased runway throughput; reductions in aircraft fuel burn and greenhouse gas emissions; and a minimization of the airport's noise footprints in the Denver metro area. RNAV has transformed Denver's skies, which are open to continued growth and increased performance.
For more information follow this link to a story about RNAV and RNP (required navigation performance) in the December 2012 issue of WingTips.
#4 — New Restaurants and Retail
If you have passed through DIA in 2013 you've likely noticed some new additions to the airport's shopping and dining options.
Last year, the airport added Root Down, a Denver restaurant favorite that serves farm-to-fork fare. Its airport location offers great views of airplanes along Concourse C.
And, No. 7 himself helped open Elway's steakhouse, which offers DIA patrons a more intimate dining experience, chef-designed food choices, and one of the most beautiful bars in any airport. Udi's Café opened as well, bringing travelers healthy, organic and gluten-free choices when they fly. The airport also celebrated the opening of its first Tattered Cover bookstore, bringing a beloved Denver brand to the airport. TAGS Evolution and Tuleh Ruche both opened at B Gates, offering jewelry and other fashion accessories for travelers.
To help passengers relax on the go, DIA opened XpresSpa at C Gates, where you can also find Vino Volo, a cozy wine bar that opened in January. And, in September, DIA opened its new cell phone waiting lot, Final Approach. The facility offers free Wi-Fi, flight information boards and food from Dunkin' Donuts, zpizza, Subway and Baja Fresh Mexican Grill.
#3 — DIA Develops Strategic Plan
Aviation Manager Kim Day spearheaded the development of a new strategic plan for Denver International Airport. The plan's vision is for DIA to become "America's favorite connecting hub, where the Rocky Mountains meet the world."
The plan has seven objectives that Department of Aviation employees are aiming to achieve to help the airport realize its vision. To measure progress toward attaining the objectives, each division has instituted key performance indicators that will be monitored and recorded to gauge progress.
The strategic plan is aligned with the airport's 10-year financial plan so that DIA can meet its financial goals, excelling in financial performance by managing its budget, strategically and judiciously choosing capital projects, and seeking new airport revenue that does not come from or depend upon airline operations.
#2 — Hotel and Transit Center Program Reaches Construction Midpoint
In October, DIA celebrated the construction midpoint of its Hotel and Transit Center Program (HTC) and left something for posterity.
Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock and Manager of Aviation Kim Day joined hundreds of local, state and regional partners to celebrate reaching the program's construction midpoint.
Patrons gathered inside the shell of what will be DIA's new transit center, with the freshly welded steel of the intricate new 360-ton train platform canopy brightly lit behind them, to view building progress after two years of work that began in late 2011. They also witnessed the placement of a 50-year time capsule commemorating the event. The capsule will remain buried beneath the new transit center until 2063.
The hotel is on track to open in 2015 with commuter rail service beginning in 2016. During the building phase, the program will employ 600 to 700 people.
Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock noted that "with more than 100 minority- and women-owned businesses under contract, DIA's Hotel and Transit Center Program is one of the single largest opportunities for the M/WBE community in the city's history. It's one of the many ways DIA contributes to the overall vitality of Colorado's economic health."
A complete listing of items included in the time capsule is posted on www.flydenver.com. View the program progress video on DIA's YouTube channel.
#1 — Denver and Tokyo Linked by Nonstop Flight
Small wooden boxes filled with sake were used on June 10 to toast the new United Airlines Denver-Tokyo nonstop flight, which was preparing to leave DIA on an inaugural voyage.
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, and United Airlines executives joined Aviation Manager Kim Day, Japan's consul-general for Denver, Japanese Community leaders, airport employees, and air travelers in marking the occasion with ceremony and a touch of festivity.
Gov. Hickenlooper praised Mayor Hancock and other metropolitan leaders for working so hard for so long to achieve the new route between Denver and Tokyo. Mayor Hancock told United Airlines, "We can't say thank you enough for taking a risk on this region." He predicted that the flight would spur economic development of "epic proportions" for years to come in Denver and the state.
"It's been a long road and the support has been unwavering," said Day. "This community is going to make this flight a success." When the ceremonies concluded, Flight 139's passengers boarded a freshly minted, fuel efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner and settled in to inaugurate Denver's first nonstop flight to Asia.