Denver International Airport (DEN) in the US has reported a 55% surge in passenger traffic in the first half of 2021 compared to the prior year when it witnessed its lowest passenger traffic due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The airport managed nearly 24 million passengers in the first half of this year, which is a 25% slump compared with the first half of 2019.

However, strong demand for travel to and from Denver, along with high connecting passenger traffic, were said to be key factors driving a recovery.

The airport ranked as the second-largest US airport for domestic travel demand in the first quarter of 2021, compared to a fourth ranking in the same quarter of 2019.

During the first six months of this year, connecting passengers constituted 42.3% of the airport’s total travellers. This is an almost seven-point increase compared to the first half of 2019.

In addition, DEN ranked as the largest station for three airlines, Frontier, United and Southwest, in the first half of 2021.

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In June, the airport welcomed Southern Airways Express while in July, Air France joined as DEN’s newest airline partner.

The airport stated that its air service network ‘continues to not only recover but also grow’.

In a statement, DEN said: “To close out the first half of the year, DEN’s domestic network included nonstop flights to 183 destinations in 45 states and ranked as the second-largest domestic air service network in the US.

“International passenger traffic and air service are also recovering, but at a slower rate due to ongoing border closures and travel restrictions.”

The airport’s international passenger traffic in the first six months of 2021 dropped 54% from the same period in 2019.

Despite this decline, few airlines have experienced growth during this period such as Aeromexico, Frontier and Volaris.

After a period of 75 days last year with no international flights from 2 April to 15 June, the airport restored 17 international routes by the end of June.

British Airways, Cayman Airways, Copa Airlines, Edelweiss and WestJet, who have not yet resumed services at the airport, are also planning to do so.

DEN CEO Phil Washington said: “The acceleration of DEN’s recovery in the first half of the year is welcome news after the steep decline in passenger traffic in 2020.

“Due to DEN’s strong financial position, we have been able to keep costs down for our airlines, which has meant the addition of new routes and airlines even during the pandemic.”

In June, the airport achieved a milestone in Great Hall Project’s phase one by starting to move construction walls in the middle of the Jeppesen Terminal on Level 5.