Renovation of Denver International Airport main terminal comes after years of planning

Posted at 1:00 PM, Aug 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-13 19:17:08-04

DENVER -- The Chief Commercial Officer for Denver International Airport says now is the time to expand and renovate the airport.

"We have to build more gates. We have to expand Pena Boulevard. We’ll have to do that to accommodate the traffic coming through," Patrick Heck told Nicole Brady on this weekend's Politics Unplugged. "And this project, one of the key components is to get more capacity so that people can actually get into the terminal and to their flight."

But before Denver can even decide on the $1.8B deal to transform DIA’s main terminal, city council members have to get through the 15,000-page contract. The first four years would be essentially the $650 million in renovation work. The rest will go to a private company that will manage concessions for the next 30 years. Right now, the terminal sees 58 million passengers a year, and the renovations would increase that number to 80 million.

Heck says it was thinking 30 years ago when the airport was being planned that are allowing for such a major overall 22 years after it opened.

"DIA has been a phenomenally successful infrastructure project," Heck said. "We’ve had our ups and downs -- 9/11 and what happened then and the resulting changes to the airport. But what we’ve seen over the last ten years, particularly the last couple of years, is a phenomenal growth story where airlines have been investing, bringing more passengers to the airport so we see a lot of people coming through."

Politics Unplugged airs Sundays at 4:30am & 4pm on Denver7.