The Concourse C-East expansion at the Denver international airport involves the addition of 16 new gates. Credit: Photograph provided courtesy of Denver International Airport.
Topping-out of Concourse B-West expansion was completed in October 2019. Credit: Photograph provided courtesy of Denver International Airport.
Concourse C at the Denver airport features new seating areas. Credit: Photograph provided courtesy of Denver International Airport.
Concourse C-East will feature 20 new holdrooms. Credit: Photograph provided courtesy of Denver International Airport.

The ongoing gate expansion project at the Denver International Airport is a five-year plan that is aimed at increasing the gate capacity at the airport by 30%.

Opened in 1995, the Denver International Airport in Colorado, US, was the third busiest airport in the US, and the world in 2021, with passenger traffic of 69 million.

The gate expansion project will enable the airport to meet the needs of passengers and existing airline partners while also accommodating new airlines.

The expansion project, which involves an estimated investment of $1.5bn, began in 2018 and is expected to be completed in 2022.

It is part of the airport’s Vision 100 strategy that is aimed at achieving the target of 100 million annual passengers between 2030 and 2035.

Denver Airport gate expansion project details

The gate expansion programme involves the addition of 39 new gates and expansion of the holdroom space across the three concourses of the airport.

The Concourse A-West expansion involves the addition of 12 gates, 16 new waiting areas, and space for support functions. It will add 530,000ft² (49,238.61m²) of new space, including 10,000ft² (929m²) of new concessions space.

Expansion at Concourse B-West included the development of four new gates, six new waiting areas, and a support area. The expansion works increased the concourse area by 89,247ft² (8,291m²), including 5,000ft² (464.51m²) of new concessions space.

Concourse B-East expansion will feature seven new gates, including three that will replace the existing three regional size gates. In addition, the expansion will add 12 new holdrooms.

Concourse C-East is being expanded through the addition of 16 new gates and 20 new waiting areas. It will expand the concourse area by 530,000ft² (49,238.61m²), including a new concessions space of 30,000ft² (2,787m²).

Furthermore, amenities such as outdoor seating areas and firepits, as well as pet areas, are being created at the concourses as part of the project.

United Airlines leased all new gates in Concourse A-West, Concourse B-West, and Concourse B-East. Southwest Airlines was awarded the lease for all new gates in Concourse C-East.

Construction of Denver Airport

The four new gates at Concourse B-West were the first to be opened in November 2020 as part of the gate expansion programme.

Construction of the outer walls on Concourses A-West, B-East, and C-East was completed in May 2021. All three expansion areas were completely enclosed through glass curtain wall systems.

The expansion works at Concourses A-West and B-East are scheduled to be completed in Fall 2022 while the Concourse C-East expansion will be completed by mid-2022.

Sustainability initiatives at Denver Airport

The Concourse B-West expansion achieved the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification in December 2021. It became the fifth building at the airport to obtain a LEED certification.

The expansion project incorporated an energy-efficient design that is estimated to result in energy savings of up to 20%, compared to a typical concourse. More than 90% of the waste generated onsite during the construction was recycled. The project reduced interior lighting by 40% and water demand by 45% through efficient plumbing installations.

Energy recovery systems have been installed to efficiently use exhaust air and outdoor air. Sensors have been installed in office spaces to reduce electricity use based on occupancy. Furthermore, a solar photovoltaic array has been installed on the rooftop.

The concourse also features glass technology to decrease solar heat gain.

Contractors involved

A joint venture (JV) between Holder Construction and FCI Constructors was appointed to implement the expansion of Concourse B-East and Concourse C-East. Holder Construction is a construction management services provider while FCI Constructors is a general contracting and construction management services provider.

Turner Construction (Turner), in partnership with sister company Flatiron Construction (Flatiron), was selected to execute the Concourse A-West and Concourse B-West expansion works. Turner and Flatiron operate as subsidiaries of Hochtief, a global construction service company.

HNTB, an infrastructure solutions firm based in the US, and Jacobs Engineering, an international technical professional services firm, were appointed to provide design services.

WSP, an engineering professional services firm based in Canada, serves as the programme manager for the project.

Programme management and construction management firm JWI was appointed by WSP to provide project management services.

Ambient Energy, a Mead & Hunt Company, received a contract to provide sustainability consultancy services for the Concourse B-West expansion.

Shen Milsom & Wilke, a technology and acoustical design solutions provider, provided acoustical consulting and design services for the Concourses A-West and B-East.

Apollo Mechanical Contractors, a mechanical construction and pre-construction services firm, installed heating and water systems at the Concourse B-West.

Seating at the Concourse B-West gates was designed Zoeftig, an airport seating designer and manufacturer.

Project benefits

The gate expansion project is expected to help the airport in meeting the increasing passenger demand. The airport’s facilities were designed to accommodate 50 million passengers and its capacity has been overrun due to the rebound in passenger traffic in 2022, following two years of slowdown caused by Covid-19 travel restrictions.