Denver International Airport (DEN) in the US has opened 16 new gates on Concourse C, which will be leased by Southwest Airlines.

The airline will begin operating from the new gates later this month or in early June.

Southwest Airlines airport affairs vice-president Steve Sisneros said: “Our Mile High Heart is beaming with pride as we introduce our customers and employees to this exceptional expansion, which gives us the ability to continue growing and serving our Denver customers.

“With the opening of the gates, we continue partnering with DEN to design and build larger and modern facilities to support our long-term vision in Colorado, which includes our recently opened Maintenance Hangar complex, and buildings for our Provisioning, Cargo and Ground Support Teams, and a larger People Department to support our robust recruiting efforts.”

The addition of the new gates is part of DEN’s Gate Expansion Programme, which will see the construction of 39 new gates across all three of its concourses, increasing the airport’s gate capacity by 30%.

The programme’s original budget was $1.5bn for the construction of 39 new gates.

The Concourse C expansion includes 16 new gates, 20 holdrooms and 530,000ft² of additional airline support areas.

Other passenger amenities include an outdoor patio, seating options, charging stations, new restrooms, nursing rooms and pet relief areas.

The new expanded space will also feature eight new shopping and dining options, which are expected to open next year.

DEN CEO Phil Washington said: “The Gate Expansion Programme is just one way we are growing our infrastructure to ensure we are prepared for 100 million passengers in the next eight to ten years.

“These new gates will not only allow one of our largest carriers to expand at DEN but provide our passengers with more options and an improved experience.”