Denver International Airport Archives - Colorado Politics
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Parking is the second-largest revenue driver for Denver International Airport, but according to City Auditor Timothy O’Brien, lax oversight with Lyft and Uber could be letting money slip through the cracks. In a report released Thursday, O’Brien found the airport charges Lyft and Uber $2.60 for each pickup and drop off at DIA. But the […]

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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirFebruary 13, 20182min5170

She made a name for herself these past four years as the No. 2 at the Denver City Attorney’s Office. Now, Cristal Torres DeHerrera is moving over to Denver International Airport (which the airport’s marketing mavens insist on calling “DEN”) to become its chief of staff.

She’ll run the high-profile airport’s external affairs business unit, which means, according to a news release from the DIA press office:

“…DeHerrera will lead development of the airport’s strategies, policies and plans related to legislative and regulatory activities at the local, state and federal levels. DeHerrera will also be working closely with the airport executive team on a number of priority initiatives, including the public-private partnership to renovate DEN’s Great Hall with the Great Hall Partners, a team of local and international companies led by Ferrovial S.A.”

The news release included high praise from Denver Mayor Michael Hancock for DeHerrera’s tenure at the City Attorney’s Office:

“Cristal will be a phenomenal addition to the airport team … During her four years as deputy city attorney, she has grown to become a trusted advisor to my administration, a strong collaborator with our regional partners and a dedicated listener to our community, and she will remain a close and steadfast advisor. I am so pleased she will be staying with the city team and helping to lead the airport into its next great era.”

Her touted accomplishments as deputy city attorney have included leading the development of the governance structure for the National Western Center, for which she, “worked to ensure the governance structure fostered ongoing partnership, collaboration and engagement with the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods and that the National Western Center directly benefits the surrounding neighborhoods and residents for the foreseeable future.”


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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 10, 20184min339
Travelers through Denver International Airport at lunchtime Friday saw something unusual: security officers protesting instead of protecting. According to a press release, they marched through the Jeppsen Terminal demanding the city of Denver require its contractors to pay officers the same as such airport workers as custodians and parking attendants. “In a city so robust […]

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Adam McCoyAdam McCoyFebruary 5, 20183min2510

In recent years, airline fees have made up roughly half of Denver International Airport’s operating revenue. That’s why DIA needs to improve its efforts to ensure airlines pay what they owe.

That’s the gist of a new review from Denver City Auditor Timothy O’Brien’s office. The report looked at progress made on 14 recommendations from a 2016 audit. That earlier review found what O’Brien’s office characterized as “weakness” that affected the airport’s ability to effectively collect some revenue from airlines flying out of DIA.

“Airlines are one of the largest sources of revenue for the airport,” O’Brien said in a statement. “It’s essential to make sure the money is managed efficiently and effectively.”

In fact, O’Brien’s office noted independently audited financial statements for DIA show in 2014, 2015 and 2016, airline revenue represented 54 percent, 50 percent and 47 percent respectively of the total airline operating revenues.

In the recent audit, O’Brien’s office outlines that DIA often receives money from airlines but doesn’t properly document the payments in invoices, or they are misapplied. Airport staff then have to reconcile disputed transactions, which could otherwise result in disputed accrued interest penalties.

DIA has improved, as recommended in the 2016 audit, on its billing process for airlines changing their use of space in the terminal, concourses and/or hangars, but “there are still flaws in the timely billing of these changes, identifying new rates and generating new invoices,” O’Brien said.

“We found airline space changes that occurred between January 2017 and June 2017 that had not been billed to airlines as of Nov. 1, 2017,” the auditor’s office said in a statement, adding some change bills weren’t processed for as much as eight months. “The goal is to get space change billing updated within 30 days.”

The audit also found flaws in DIA’s training of staff to ensure there were no gaps in billing duties and tracking airport space inspections.

DIA did improve in areas, O’Brien’s office said, including DIA’s senior vice president of airline affairs now reviewing airline use and lease agreements twice a year, with new controls in place to monitor airline compliance with the agreements.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningDecember 9, 20175min14180

State Rep. Steve Lebsock, the Thornton Democrat facing complaints he sexually harassed a fellow lawmaker and a former lobbyist, on Friday chastised social media denizens who've been heaping criticism on state Rep. Lori Saine, the Firestone Republican arrested and jailed this week at Denver International Airport for bringing a loaded handgun to a security checkpoint.


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Adam McCoyAdam McCoyNovember 27, 20173min4070

You’d be hard-pressed to find a public place that welcomes smokers nowadays in Denver. The city has even recently moved to ban smoking and vaping along the 16th Street Mall.

However, like a relic from another era, Denver International Airport still has a dedicated indoor space, the Smokin’ Bear Lodge Smoking Lounge on concourse C, where passengers can light up before their flight.

Three DIA smoking lounges have already closed, and the Smokin’ Bear space will shutter when its lease expires in 2018, according to the Denver Business Journal, but DIA still landed on a health list that some call the smoky list, compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC study looked at the smoking policy of the 50 busiest airports in the world, and Denver was one of just three in the U.S. (and 27 worldwide) without a smoke-free facility. McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta were the other two U.S. airports to join DIA as smoking facilities.

To be considered a smoke-free airport, a facility must “completely prohibit smoking in all indoor areas,” the study said. Even though smokers are separated, in designated or ventilated smoking areas, from non-smokers, “studies have documented that secondhand smoke can transfer from designated smoking areas into nonsmoking areas in airports, where nonsmoking travelers and employees can be exposed,” the study read.

“In addition to subjecting nonsmoking travelers who pass through these areas to involuntary secondhand smoke exposure, designated or ventilated smoking areas can also result in involuntary exposure of airport employees who are required to enter these areas or work near them,” the study said.

“Smoke-free policies substantially improve indoor air quality and reduce secondhand smoke exposure among nonsmokers.”

DIA has plans to eventually become a smoke-free facility, the Denver Business Journal reports.


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Adam McCoyAdam McCoyNovember 16, 20172min3000

Denver International Airport will grow to address surging passenger traffic after city officials approved a $1.5 billion gate-expansion project earlier this week.

The Denver City Council OK’d a series of design and construction contracts associated with the project Monday night. The 39-gate expansion across the airport’s three concourses is expected to be complete by 2021.

“I think people should know that Denver is growing and that means that their airport has to grow at the same time,” DIA spokesperson Heath Montgomery told Denver7.

DIA officials say the airport must expand to meet climbing passenger traffic. When the airport first opened more than two decades ago, it was designed to accommodate 50 million passengers a year. But DIA passenger traffic has perpetually swelled, exceeding airport capacity last year. The airport set a passenger traffic record last year with 58.3 million traveling through its gates last year.

The new gate expansion is akin to another project recently approved by the city. The $1.8 billion Great Hall Project will overhaul security screening checkpoints and concessions and boost the Jeppesen terminal’s capacity to 80 million passengers a year. Through a 34-year, private-public partnership with Spanish transportation infrastructure behemoth Ferrovial, the project was controversial, in part, because of the City Council’s loss of oversight of new concessions.

DIA’s concourses were initially designed to allow for growth and additional gates, according to the airport. In 2014, five new gates were completed on DIA’s C concourse in a $46 million expansion project to bring the airport’s current gate count to 107.