DENVER -- The addition of 39 gates to the Denver International Airport would mark the biggest expansion since it opened in 1995, according to spokesperson Heath Montgomery.
“I think people should know that Denver is growing and that means that their airport has to grow at the same time," said Montgomery.
Denver City Council signed off on a series of contracts for design, construction and oversight of the project on Monday night. The grand total is around $1.5 billion; this is on top of another major project to renovate the terminal's Great Hall.
The additional gates will be added by the year 2021 and will be divided among the existing concourses. Here's the breakdown:
Concourse A West, 12 gates
Concourse B West, 4 gates
Concourse B East, 7 gates
Concourse C East, 16 gates
Montgomery said the extra space is needed to accommodate an airport that is projected to serve more than 60 million people this year. He said the original design allowed for the expansion of the existing concourses to the east and west.
"That’s a direct result of the airlines coming to us with those requests to grow. They’ve said that they want to continue to make significant investments here in Denver, so one way we can support that growth is by having the infrastructure in place that allows them to do that," said Montgomery.
He added that the new gates had not been designated to any specific airline yet, but it's likely some will go to existing hubs like United, Frontier and Southwest. He said it's also possible to see new airlines, routes and destinations with the completion of this project.
Council member Kevin Flynn said no taxpayer dollars would be used for the gate expansion. He reviewed 760 pages comprising several contracts for the project.
"If you never fly out of the airport then you’re not paying a penny toward it, but these are some needed expansions," said Flynn.
Back in August, council approved a $1.8 billion project to renovate the Great Hall. Airport officials say the significant investments go hand-in-hand to increase capacity at the gates and the terminal.
"So we do think that the more flights we get, the more destinations we get, the more competitive and ultimately the lower price it will be for you as a consumer," said Montgomery.