From the Denver Post:
DIA to spend $20 million on jet bridges
68 passenger-loading links falling apart, officials say
By Jeffrey Leib
Denver Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 06, 2002
- Denver International Airport, which last week marked its seventh anniversary, will spend about $20 million to replace 68 passenger-loading bridges that already are falling apart, DIA officials told the Denver City Council airport committee Tuesday.
DIA maintenance chief Dan Brown asked the committee to earmark an initial $1.8 million to replace the airport's worst six jet bridges this year. He said DIA hopes to replace an additional six or seven bridges each year for the next 10 years.
The hydraulically operated passenger bridges were made by Stearns, a company that is no longer in business, Brown said.
He showed council members pictures of Stearns' bridges at DIA with a variety of serious mechanical and structural flaws.
"They are definitely problematic," Brown said of the Stearns devices that DIA bought for the airport's opening.
In addition to the 68 Stearns devices, DIA has another 26 loading bridges made by FMC Jetway that are electrically operated.
About two dozen of the Jetway bridges were brought over to DIA from Stapleton Airport when the new airport opened.
They were refurbished, and even though they're much older than the Stearns bridges, they are far more reliable, Brown told council members.
DIA spends about $3,800 a year maintaining each Jetway bridge and about $13,500 maintaining a Stearns bridge, Brown said. The Jetway bridges each have been in use an average of 17 years, while the Stearns bridges have been used for only seven years.
Brown said DIA wants to replace all of the Stearns bridges with Jetway products over the 10-year period. Each new Jetway bridge costs about $300,000.
Asked why DIA bought the Stearns bridges, Councilwoman Cathy Reynolds recalled a vigorous debate within city government nearly a decade ago over which bridge supplier to use.
"I voted for Jetway," Reynolds said, adding that the council narrowly approved the Stearns contract.
Ginger Evans, a Denver city engineer who helped build DIA, said the city hired outside experts to evaluate which loading bridge company to contract with.
If Stearns met the technical specifications for jet bridges that were written by the consultants, and it was the low bidder, then it would have been difficult for Denver to not select Stearns for the project, Evans said.
Also at Tuesday's meeting, DIA officials asked the council committee for $700,000 to convert an A concourse gate used by Frontier Airlines into two gates. Frontier is acquiring new jets that need the extra gate space.
Frontier has 30 planes and operates mostly out of nine gates on A concourse. By converting one gate into two and sharing with other airlines' space at other A-concourse gates, the carrier can accommodate its expansion over the next two years, Frontier officials say.
DIA architect Reginald Norman said the airport will study the feasibility of adding 10 more jet gates and six commuter-airline gates on the west end of the A concourse at a cost of $200 million.
Norman said Frontier could occupy as many as eight of the new jet gates and all six commuter air gates.
If the expansion is approved, it could be completed by 2004. Frontier expects to have 45 planes in its fleet by 2005.
Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com
Looks like Denver (DEN) has some lousy jetways.....
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran