Denver International Opens 16 New Southwest Gates

Construction on the gates and supporting facilities started in 2019.

Credit: Denver Airport

Denver International (DEN) opened 16 new gates on its C Concourse for Southwest Airlines, part of a $2.3 billion program to construct 39 new gates at the airport.

Southwest has leased all 16 gates and will begin operating out of the new 530,000-ft.2 section of the C Concourse in late May or early June, according to a DEN statement. 

Denver mayor Michael Hancock led a May 5 ribbon cutting ceremony for the new gates, construction of which started in 2019. “Denver International Airport is our region’s and Colorado’s largest economic engine, and these investments are critical to keeping that engine running to support our entire city and state,” Hancock said. “These new gates will bring more flights, jobs and economic opportunities to our region, while making even more destinations accessible for our residents, and making Denver even more accessible to travelers from around the world.” 

DEN noted that two of the 16 gates will remain closed for several months “to allow alignment and tie-in with existing gates and new [passenger] holdroom construction.”

In addition to the 16 new gates, the expansion includes 20 passenger waiting areas. “Passenger amenities include an outdoor patio, comfortable seating options, charging stations, new restrooms, nursing rooms, pet relief areas and so much more,” DEN said. “There is also space for eight new shopping and dining options that will open in 2023.”

The C Concourse expansion is the second of four expansion areas to be completed at DEN. Two more will be finished in the 2022 autumn. United Airlines, which has a hub at DEN, has leased a large portion of the new gates in other concourses. The 39 gates will increase the airport’s gate capacity by 30%, according to DEN.

“The gate expansion program is just one way we are growing our infrastructure to ensure we are prepared [to serve] 100 million [annual] passengers in the next eight to 10 years,” DEN CEO Phil Washington said. “These new gates will not only allow one of our largest carriers [Southwest] to expand at DEN, but provide our passengers with more options and an improved experience.” 

DEN is anticipating handling around 73 million passengers in 2022; it handled 69.5 million passengers in 2019.

Southwest VP-airport affairs Steve Sisneros said: “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.”

Southwest carried more passengers on the DEN-Houston Hobby (HOU) route than on any other route in its system in 2021.

The new section containing the Southwest gates includes a rooftop solar system. “The project was designed with energy efficiency in mind and is projected to reduce energy use of the facility by 30% over conventional design,” DEN said. “Low-flow fixtures, toilets and urinals are projected to reduce water use in the facility by approximately 47%.”