Good topic. I did work at the old Stapleton. I never heard anything about relocating farther from the mountains due to windshear. It was mostly about space and room to grow. Sure there was space at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal cold war lethal weapons dump to the north. But it was across a freeway, so not real accessible and of course the Arsenal had its own "issues."
As far as the facilities, something needed to be done desperately. The place was so outdated it didn't even almost seem worth remodeling. Speaking of location, I don't have any exact data, but the area of the new Denver International airport had a reputation for tornadoes and bad hail since it is on the plains. However the last few years, the summers have not had much severe weather out there. Besides I am not sure the difference in distance from the mountains would make much of a difference.
Concourses C and D were Continental's were tired, pathetic old structures. What an embarrassment for them. But DEN
was not their moneymaker, so they didn't care. Didn't have the resources to fix them either. D concourse was the old Frontier's and later was mostly dedicated to CO
's concourses, even though recently remodeled, were nothing to write home about either. The main terminal was very small and old. As someone said, concourse E was the newest concourse. It was a little better. I remember I thought it was pretty neat that it actually had plants adorning it. There was very little natural light anywhere. The cramped check-in part of the airport with the low ceiling reminded me more of a third world bus terminal without all the filth. It actually eminds me of what the ticket counter space at LAX
is like today (where CO
operate especially, not the Tom Bradley terminal).
Someone commented that that is a big parking garage. I drive by that thing everyday. That picture is deceptive. It is a tired, small,cramped,dilapidated piece of garbage. But it is very, very heavily used since RTD has a big transit station there now.
It is my understanding that Stapleton is largest urban redevelopment in the United States today. But maybe that was before 9-11, or maybe it is just considering land area.
Yes, I remember reading that the old Stapleton did have more gates than DIA does today. I am almost certain of that. The old Stapleton had 5 concourses.
It is funny driving by the old Stapleton site. You see little reminders of the old airport. The UA
center is right there, but it is surrounded by new homes, Sam's Club, WalMart, Home Depot, all right where the airport used to be.
Then across the street, there is still hotel after hotel, with thousands of rooms, just as if the old airport were still there!