Denver International Airport opened in 1995 and was state of the art, moving passengers quickly and baggage, well, not so quickly. Passengers loved the airport and its wide open spaces and it quickly became the fifth busiest airport in the country. Less than seven years after it opened, however, the attacks of September 11th rocked the nation and forever changed airport security. At DIA, this meant eliminated the open promenade on the main floor to make room for tight crowds and long security lines. DIA has put forth a plan to speed up security lines and bring back the open space, and it has city council approval. Oddly enough it involves former NBA star Magic Johnson, who is an equity partner in one of the firms involved in the renovation.
Denver International Airport plans to completely remodel the 1.5 million square foot terminal and bring the open space back to the terminal floor. First, check-in counters will be consolidated on the South end of the terminal. While this could mean heavier traffic in the [assenger drop-off areas, this will make room for TSA lines on the North end of the top floor of the terminal. After clearing security on either the East or West side of the terminal, passengers will then have access to the bridge to Concourses A or the trains to all concourses. While part of the main floor will still be cordoned off for passengers who have already cleared security, this will open up a large area by the Westin Hotel and Conference Center and the A Line to Union Station. Baggage claims will not be affected.
What will all this new space be used for? So far, no specifics have been announced, but we should expect to see shops, restaurants, and even a few more unusual items, possibly a climbing wall or even a zip line. Although DIA has selected Spanish-based Ferrovial Airports as the contractor for the project, no renderings or timelines have been released for the project, nor has the cost of the renovation.
The great hall project is not the only major change that is happening at DIA, although it is the only one that the public will notice. In January 2017, DIA awarded a $120 million contract to renovate their underground baggage handling areas. Between these two projects, DIA travelers will be seeing construction for the next several years.