First, it seems that in 2011, DEN has dropped to 11th place (from 10th) in the World’s Busiest Airports by Passengers, being overtaken by HKG by some 500K pax. And within the first few months of 2012, DEN has dropped a bit further in those rankings, being surpassed by airports in Asia and DXB. Maybe this summer will help it regain some momentum, but the projected DEN growth rate of 1-2% may not be able to overcome some of these double digit growth of the above airports. DEN though still remains fourth among the world’s airports in total operations, behind ATL, ORD, and DFW, and slightly ahead of fifth place LAX.
Now, onto the better news. DEN has finally, after over ten plus years of effort, gotten its first nonstop service to Asia, a DEN-NRT route to be started by UA in April of 2013. Also on the international front, DEN has also started nonstop service to KEF with FI, and it is believed that this flight is being received extremely well in the early going. From the DEN online publication, here are DEN’s top O&D international destinations.
|courtesy DEN Wingtips 7 12 1|
Surprisingly, LHR takes first. Also of note is that SJO is less than 350 pax per year (or 1 pax per day) from YVR in being among the top five. Y4 has also received approval to start DEN-MEX, to compete on this route with UA and the seasonal AM. There’s even word from NZ officials that they are at least considering a DEN-AKL nonstop upon arrival of their 787s, but at this point, this seems to be somewhat of a longshot, although who knows, eh?
At this point, has DEN probably overtaken ATL as the top airport in the U.S. with the most domestic nonstop destinations? However, upon my email questioning this to DEN airport management, here is part of the response that I received:
While it is true that for the month of July 2012 there were more domestic nonstop destinations served from Denver International Airport than any other U.S. airport, a look at just one month is only part of the picture. Many destinations enjoy seasonal service that doesn’t operate in July (e.g., ski destinations like Vail and Steamboat Springs) so we tend to track this metric by looking at full year data. If we look at what airlines have scheduled for the full calendar year of 2012, Atlanta has service to 161 domestic destinations and Denver has service to 159 domestic destinations. And even if we take into account destinations that will permanently lose serve at some point during 2012, Denver is only tied with Atlanta – 158 domestic destinations for each airport. (FYI, both Vail and Steamboat Springs are served nonstop from Atlanta during ski season but the service doesn’t operate in July.)
So, we are very close to this milestone but just haven’t quite surpassed Atlanta. Maybe 2013 will be our lucky year! It’s too soon for us to tell as airline schedules are not available for the full year of 2013 yet.
Will 2013 provide DEN with another metric where it will be tops and it sets the standard? DEN presently has more percentage of domestic service to international service than any other airport in the world…. and whether one sees that as a positive or a negative, at least here DEN sets a standard. Yet as the international nonstop flights are slowly growing, the domestic flights seem to keep growing even more so.
From the beginning of 2011, DEN has started, or is booked to be started, a total of about 45 new nonstop route additions from my count, mostly by F9, UA, and WN. 27 of those 45 are additions to routes already flown by other carriers, so the competition continues. 4 of these routes include DFW, ORD, LAS and FLL, flown by NK, DEN’s new airline as of 4/12, and what a surprise that they landed in DEN. Continuing, 18 of those are new destinations for nonstops, including domestically (and some seasonal) FAI, PVD, RFD, BMI, MDT, BLI, and internationally, ZIH, LIR and PUJ by F9. UA domestically has started DAL, LBB, and MAF, and will start SHV and GFK, along with NRT internationally. WN added JAX and PVD. And then FI, another new airline in DEN this year, added KEF. Quite a bit of addition in roughly the last year and a half, yet there have probably been less than a handful of routes discontinued.
Recently, work on the South Terminal expansion has finally begun.....
|courtesy DEN Wingtips 7 12 2|
...and within the next 3-4 years, there will be a rail terminal that will have trains connecting with downtown Denver, and a 10 story hotel, among other things, and that will look like this…...
|courtesy DEN Wingtips 7 12 3|
And lastly, it is predicted by locals that DEN will have about 62M pax by 2020. This is only about a 1 to 2% increase per year going forward. And if so, maybe this can give a bit of pause to those naysayers, both in media and here on a.net, that DEN can’t support 3 major hub carriers, especially if the O&D remains above 50%?
I would think that in at least one way or another, a lot of cities and their airport managers around the U.S. (and maybe some around the world) are maybe envious of the situation at DEN?
Finally to all, may there be only the best….
[Edited 2012-07-25 10:32:34]