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jhsusman
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Denver airport seeks to accelerate concourse projects by up to $560 million

Mon May 18, 2020 11:36 pm

Makes sense - they have the balance sheet, the need and the empty gates to make a push to modernize / expand the concourses during this crisis. No mention of the rumored additional gate expansion beyond the 39 currently under construction. I wonder if DEN will lose or gain additional international service once things normalize in 2021. . .

https://www.denverpost.com/2020/05/18/d ... -projects/
 
FWAERJ
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Re: Denver airport seeks to accelerate concourse projects by up to $560 million

Mon May 18, 2020 11:52 pm

FWA is doing something similar - doing a ramp rebuild now to accelerate Project Gateway (the terminal upgrade plan).

And fittingly, UA to DEN is on FWA’s priority list for the rebound.
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CALMSP
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Re: Denver airport seeks to accelerate concourse projects by up to $560 million

Tue May 19, 2020 12:16 am

jhsusman wrote:
Makes sense - they have the balance sheet, the need and the empty gates to make a push to modernize / expand the concourses during this crisis. No mention of the rumored additional gate expansion beyond the 39 currently under construction. I wonder if DEN will lose or gain additional international service once things normalize in 2021. . .

https://www.denverpost.com/2020/05/18/d ... -projects/


I don't think we're gonna see the likes of DY/WK coming back, which certainly took up space on the wide body gates on A. On top of that, there really is no real reason why we'd see any new service unfortunately.
 
NWADTWE16
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Re: Denver airport seeks to accelerate concourse projects by up to $560 million

Tue May 19, 2020 1:33 am

its amazing how our society burns money with such uncertainty, yet cannot find adequate funds to take care of each other, the public infrastructure (ie roads/utilities) or most important, the only planet we can exist on. Certainly this time in human history should we survive as a people, will go down as the most studied because of our stupidity in the face of all the facts.
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slcdeltarumd11
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Re: Denver airport seeks to accelerate concourse projects by up to $560 million

Tue May 19, 2020 1:42 am

Of all airports I think Denver makes sense to move forward. It's America's best and easiest connection airport in a perfect location.

International will shrink but Domestically the airport will be more important than ever for connections post pandemic. High growth, prefect location. That city will be more important to Southwest and United moving forward and a major focus for them. We will see hubs really shine here and Denver is one I think especially well with it's perfect location, excellent for connections, and high growth area. Airlines won't have the planes to do o&d linking of spokes , they will need to hub routes even more.
 
ytib
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Re: Denver airport seeks to accelerate concourse projects by up to $560 million

Tue May 19, 2020 1:54 am

Bummer to see the Pena Blvd expansion construction will most likely be pushed out. It was already taking a good amount of time to complete the needed upgrades all the way to I-70 and this will just make it longer.
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atcsundevil
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Re: Denver airport seeks to accelerate concourse projects by up to $560 million

Tue May 19, 2020 5:30 am

NWADTWE16 wrote:
its amazing how our society burns money with such uncertainty, yet cannot find adequate funds to take care of each other, the public infrastructure (ie roads/utilities) or most important, the only planet we can exist on. Certainly this time in human history should we survive as a people, will go down as the most studied because of our stupidity in the face of all the facts.

Obviously that gets into a much deeper societal debate — it isn't that I disagree, but in this case, there's only so much control the Denver Department of Aviation has over such a debate. Could $500 million be better spent elsewhere right now? Yes. However, $500 million in infrastructure spending isn't a terribly significant amount of money. In situations like this, cities need to think long-term while also considering their short-term positions. Airports are the single biggest economic drivers of a region; Denver and every other major city around the globe will be reliant on their aviation hubs to propel their economic recoveries in the years to come. It is extremely likely that we have not yet hit bottom, and it's very likely that we won't see 2019 numbers until at least 2025, but cities need to rightfully be mindful of their long-term futures even though the short-term looks bleak.

From a practicality standpoint, that money does the most good now. Aside from the convenient logistics of having a downturn, it puts local contractors to work, it accelerates their renovation so they emerge from the downturn ready for business and prepared for the future, and it's fiscally sound (a $500 million project today might cost $530 million next year, and $550 million the year after, and so on). Construction is pretty much always cheaper today than it will be tomorrow.

Granted this could be a real headache if they find themselves financially unprepared should this downturn last longer than expected, or should something unexpected occur like a tenant carrier dehubbing (it's unlikely, but DEN should be intimately aware of that risk). Presumably they're comfortable enough with their financial standing to move forward with the projects. Other than their comedy of errors 25+ years ago, the airport has been operated well, and been a huge factor in the growth of the region, so I have relative confidence in their decision-making. Of course only time will tell.
 
KFTG
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Re: Denver airport seeks to accelerate concourse projects by up to $560 million

Tue May 19, 2020 6:17 am

NWADTWE16 wrote:
its amazing how our society burns money with such uncertainty, yet cannot find adequate funds to take care of each other, the public infrastructure (ie roads/utilities) or most important, the only planet we can exist on. Certainly this time in human history should we survive as a people, will go down as the most studied because of our stupidity in the face of all the facts.

What “fact” are you referring to? The fact that the virus is proving to not be anywhere near as deadly as it was initally portrayed? The fact that TSA throughput has been increasing 20% week-over-week for the past month? The fact that there is so much demand *today* that airlines are having to increase gauge of aircraft to meet demand? The fact that people are paying $1000 *today* walk-up/last minute fares to get the hell out of town?
 
Moosefire
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Re: Denver airport seeks to accelerate concourse projects by up to $560 million

Tue May 19, 2020 8:38 am

Coexstud wrote:
atcsundevil wrote:
NWADTWE16 wrote:
its amazing how our society burns money with such uncertainty, yet cannot find adequate funds to take care of each other, the public infrastructure (ie roads/utilities) or most important, the only planet we can exist on. Certainly this time in human history should we survive as a people, will go down as the most studied because of our stupidity in the face of all the facts.

Obviously that gets into a much deeper societal debate — it isn't that I disagree, but in this case, there's only so much control the Denver Department of Aviation has over such a debate. Could $500 million be better spent elsewhere right now? Yes. However, $500 million in infrastructure spending isn't a terribly significant amount of money. In situations like this, cities need to think long-term while also considering their short-term positions. Airports are the single biggest economic drivers of a region; Denver and every other major city around the globe will be reliant on their aviation hubs to propel their economic recoveries in the years to come. It is extremely likely that we have not yet hit bottom, and it's very likely that we won't see 2019 numbers until at least 2025, but cities need to rightfully be mindful of their long-term futures even though the short-term looks bleak.

From a practicality standpoint, that money does the most good now. Aside from the convenient logistics of having a downturn, it puts local contractors to work, it accelerates their renovation so they emerge from the downturn ready for business and prepared for the future, and it's fiscally sound (a $500 million project today might cost $530 million next year, and $550 million the year after, and so on). Construction is pretty much always cheaper today than it will be tomorrow.

Granted this could be a real headache if they find themselves financially unprepared should this downturn last longer than expected, or should something unexpected occur like a tenant carrier dehubbing (it's unlikely, but DEN should be intimately aware of that risk). Presumably they're comfortable enough with their financial standing to move forward with the projects. Other than their comedy of errors 25+ years ago, the airport has been operated well, and been a huge factor in the growth of the region, so I have relative confidence in their decision-making. Of course only time will tell.

It’s a terrible waste when today alone I saw 20+ cars waiting for basic nessecities such as food all day long. Everyday theshelter is open , everyday I see increasing amounts of homeless....


Sounds like a good time for a local government to take on a program that’ll create jobs for those folks while improving the community eh? Or should they just write them a check?
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MIflyer12
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Re: Denver airport seeks to accelerate concourse projects by up to $560 million

Tue May 19, 2020 11:05 am

Moosefire wrote:
Sounds like a good time for a local government to take on a program that’ll create jobs for those folks while improving the community eh? Or should they just write them a check?


It's certainly not obvious that an airport expansion is the most productive investment. Construction projects don't ramp up quickly - design, permits, materials, and labor all have their lead times. Retail workers, restaurant workers, and admin assistants don't magically become steelworkers nor concrete specialists.

As for 'having the balance sheet to do this,' balance sheets are anchored by bonding abilities attached to income streams - landing fees, concourse rents (leases for which can be terminated by carriers in bankruptcy), concession cuts, parking fees, etc. What do the finances of DEN look like with 30% fewer departures and passengers?
 
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lightsaber
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Re: Denver airport seeks to accelerate concourse projects by up to $560 million

Tue May 19, 2020 1:44 pm

A city builds wealth off transportation. In my opinion it is time to employ people and stop the payments for no work.

During the great depression, my grandfather grabbed a shovel and went out to build roads. For Kaiser in fact. An amazing thing about road work, people scramble to get any other employment. By employing them, the people create more jobs. I would personally rather expand an airport.

The doom will end. Travel will return. I have purchased airline tickets.

We need to invest in infrastructure. The fact one project can self fund is a good thing.

Lightsaber
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DEN1895
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Re: Denver airport seeks to accelerate concourse projects by up to $560 million

Tue May 19, 2020 1:47 pm

Two big factors play into how this money is allocated. First this is bond money that was bonded out back in 2018 for capital improvement projects,and due to the bond agreements the airport cannot take this money and spend it on things besides those projects. These projects have been planned since 2018 the only change right now is that the projects have been moved up to complete as much as possible while traffic is down. Second, per FAA rules airport funds cannot be diverted away from the airport, while the airport is owned by the City of Denver, it relies 100% on its own funds and does not use and taxpayer money, but the airport does generate a ton of tax revenue for the city.
 
DoctorVenkman
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Re: Denver airport seeks to accelerate concourse projects by up to $560 million

Tue May 19, 2020 2:07 pm

lightsaber wrote:
A city builds wealth off transportation. In my opinion it is time to employ people and stop the payments for no work.

During the great depression, my grandfather grabbed a shovel and went out to build roads. For Kaiser in fact. An amazing thing about road work, people scramble to get any other employment. By employing them, the people create more jobs. I would personally rather expand an airport.


This is a nice anecdote but unfortunately most construction work nowadays is way more complicated than grabbing a shovel and digging a hole. Your average laid off restaurant worker or Uber driver would need months of training to start even a basic construction job. God forbid you ask them to do something that requires a skill like structural welds. And all that's assuming these projects are shovel-ready and have passed the various regulatory and design reviews required.

Realistically there is only so much infrastructure work that can be done immediately given the tight labor market for skilled workers and long regulatory review and design process. It's not really a great solution to an acute crisis such as the one we are facing - it's more of a multi-year fix to a multi-year problem.

That being said I fully support this specific project since it has been in the works for years and is clearly ready to get going. I just don't think this model can be applied to other airports that have not put in the preliminary work already.
 
blockski
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Re: Denver airport seeks to accelerate concourse projects by up to $560 million

Tue May 19, 2020 2:38 pm

DEN1895 wrote:
Two big factors play into how this money is allocated. First this is bond money that was bonded out back in 2018 for capital improvement projects,and due to the bond agreements the airport cannot take this money and spend it on things besides those projects. These projects have been planned since 2018 the only change right now is that the projects have been moved up to complete as much as possible while traffic is down. Second, per FAA rules airport funds cannot be diverted away from the airport, while the airport is owned by the City of Denver, it relies 100% on its own funds and does not use and taxpayer money, but the airport does generate a ton of tax revenue for the city.


Yes, this. The airport is already committed to these projects. It's not simple (or cheap) to stop them even if they wanted to do so.

In fact, speeding them up while traffic is low can save on the overall cost by both completing things faster, while also requiring less 'maintenance of traffic' planning which adds time and cost. Speeding up committed projects like this can often save money.
 
tphuang
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Re: Denver airport seeks to accelerate concourse projects by up to $560 million

Tue May 19, 2020 2:49 pm

DEN is a great connection point and has a fast growing population, so I think this is probably okay.

Maybe they've had assurances from both UA and WN are continuation of their growth plans?

At this point, I wonder if UA is still going to be able to take those 24 gates? It's probably going to take them quite a while to build up to 700 flights coming out of this.

WN maybe able to capitalize if they can bring back their capacity sooner.
 
PSU.DTW.SCE
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Re: Denver airport seeks to accelerate concourse projects by up to $560 million

Tue May 19, 2020 2:51 pm

We have a major interstate highway reconstruction project that was already scheduled for this construction season.
The downturn in traffic has accelerated their timeline and actually reduced some cost elements since they have made the decision to do more outright closures every weekend and only keeping 1 lane open the past 2 months instead of maintaining 2 lanes during the week. They've been able to get a lot more done during this time and a lot less cost from traffic control devices.
 
DEN1895
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Re: Denver airport seeks to accelerate concourse projects by up to $560 million

Tue May 19, 2020 3:35 pm

tphuang wrote:
DEN is a great connection point and has a fast growing population, so I think this is probably okay.

Maybe they've had assurances from both UA and WN are continuation of their growth plans?

At this point, I wonder if UA is still going to be able to take those 24 gates? It's probably going to take them quite a while to build up to 700 flights coming out of this.

WN maybe able to capitalize if they can bring back their capacity sooner.


One thing to keep in mind is that WN will receive their gates Q4 2021/ Q1 2022, and UA not unitl Q1/Q2 2022. I hope that things have returned somewhat by 2022. UA will get 4 gates on the West side of B this fall, but this should allow them to condense more of their Ops back to only B concourse as they were using both A and C.
 
FlyHossD
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Re: Denver airport seeks to accelerate concourse projects by up to $560 million

Tue May 19, 2020 3:57 pm

CALMSP wrote:
jhsusman wrote:
Makes sense - they have the balance sheet, the need and the empty gates to make a push to modernize / expand the concourses during this crisis. No mention of the rumored additional gate expansion beyond the 39 currently under construction. I wonder if DEN will lose or gain additional international service once things normalize in 2021. . .

https://www.denverpost.com/2020/05/18/d ... -projects/


I don't think we're gonna see the likes of DY/WK coming back, which certainly took up space on the wide body gates on A. On top of that, there really is no real reason why we'd see any new service unfortunately.


It's my understanding that on the current pilot bid at UAL, that the DEN 787 base wasn't reduced. So I'd read that as an expectation - at least for now - that DEN-NRT, LHR and FRA will return (who knows when though?).

ytib wrote:
Bummer to see the Pena Blvd expansion construction will most likely be pushed out. It was already taking a good amount of time to complete the needed upgrades all the way to I-70 and this will just make it longer.


I spoke with an engineer who's involved in this project just a few days ago. The expectation was that the inbound lanes (inbound to the terminal) would be expanded starting this summer, but the return or outbound lanes would not. Of course, that's all subject to change and apparently has many times already.
My statements do not represent my former employer or my current employer and are my opinions only.
 
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SuseJ772
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Re: Denver airport seeks to accelerate concourse projects by up to $560 million

Tue May 19, 2020 4:27 pm

FWAERJ wrote:
FWA is doing something similar - doing a ramp rebuild now to accelerate Project Gateway (the terminal upgrade plan).

And fittingly, UA to DEN is on FWA’s priority list for the rebound.


Having grown up in Fort Wayne and family still there and in Denver. I would love this. No time like "downtime" to poise yourself for the future. Hopefully it works out for both airports.
Currently at PIE, requesting FWA >> >>
 
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SuseJ772
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Re: Denver airport seeks to accelerate concourse projects by up to $560 million

Tue May 19, 2020 4:31 pm

lightsaber wrote:
A city builds wealth off transportation. In my opinion it is time to employ people and stop the payments for no work.

During the great depression, my grandfather grabbed a shovel and went out to build roads. For Kaiser in fact. An amazing thing about road work, people scramble to get any other employment. By employing them, the people create more jobs. I would personally rather expand an airport.

The doom will end. Travel will return. I have purchased airline tickets.

We need to invest in infrastructure. The fact one project can self fund is a good thing.

Lightsaber

This is very well said.
Currently at PIE, requesting FWA >> >>
 
Pi7472000
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Re: Denver airport seeks to accelerate concourse projects by up to $560 million

Tue May 19, 2020 4:54 pm

NWADTWE16 wrote:
its amazing how our society burns money with such uncertainty, yet cannot find adequate funds to take care of each other, the public infrastructure (ie roads/utilities) or most important, the only planet we can exist on. Certainly this time in human history should we survive as a people, will go down as the most studied because of our stupidity in the face of all the facts.



Have you been to Denver? Def. one of the better designed cities! Good to see cities spending money on infrastructure!! Have not been to many other U.S. cities the size of Denver that are as nice or modern. Denver will bounce back quicker if it has a great transportation network. They do need to do something about their I70 to the mountains that is a mess!!!
 
Bradin
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Re: Denver airport seeks to accelerate concourse projects by up to $560 million

Tue May 19, 2020 5:22 pm

This is a smart move by DIA. Given that the economy has suddenly come to a halt, a change order to accelerate timings would be a minimal cost unlike pre-COVID-19 economy. There's probably a good chance they DIA can expand the scope of the project with and stay well within budgeted overages they have. Architecture and Engineering Firms will likely slash their rates to get any kind of work they can to keep their lights and doors open.

Additional indirect benefit - The size of the capital project would probably be big enough to inject a much needed cash fusion into the Denver economy.

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