DIA slips from 11th to 13th on busiest airports list as Dreamliner dream team heads to Japan

Souvenir sake cup.
"This new nonstop flight will be a gateway into Colorado for Japan and other Asian countries," said Governor John Hickenlooper at yesterday's send-off for the inaugural United flight direct from Denver International Airport to Japan. And then, after a sake toast, a dream team of Denver boosters (who's running the city this week?) boarded the Dreamliner and headed off on a trade and tourism mission to Tokyo, leaving from DIA, the eleventh busiest airport in the world. Oops, make that thirteenth.


Just four days earlier, at the opening of the Elway's restaurant at DIA, Mayor Michael Hancock, who's leading the almost-seventy-member delegation to Japan, had delivered the glowing statistics on the airport: 53 million passengers passing through in 2012, the fifth busiest airport in the U.S, the 11th busiest in the world. And those stats have been repeated in numerous stories about DIA.

But DIA's status recently hit some turbulence, and has actually dropped to the 13th busiest airport in the world -- ironically, because of travel growth in Asia! According to DIA spokeswoman Stacey Stegman, the information is still preliminary; the numbers will be final in July.

But already the change has been made in DIA's official announcements. Just a month ago, the airport was still touting its 11th-busiest title in official announcements. Here's the updated description it switched to in June:

Denver International Airport is the 13th-busiest airport in the world and the fifth-busiest airport in the United States. With more than 50 million passengers traveling through the airport each year, DIA is one of the busiest airline hubs in the world's largest aviation market. DIA is the primary economic engine of the state of Colorado, generating more than $22 billion for the region annually.
By the way, Hickenlooper -- who would go to the opening of an envelope when he was mayor -- skipped the Dreamliner trip.

More from the Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "John Elway and Michael Hancock showering together and other tales from Elway's DIA."

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Why can't we be like civilized countries and have a working passenger-rail system?

Doesn't even need to be any sort of fancy "high-speed" rail line either - 120-160 KPH operating speed is perfectly acceptable for most trips. Make it electric-drive to allow for flexibility in power sources such as wind, solar, etc. Add in on-board power and Internet connectivity to make it possible to get work done during the trip, and I'd pick that in a heartbeat over the current nightmare of air travel.

Andrew Malouff
Andrew Malouff

Personally, I hate DIA. I can’t stand the way it’s set up. Seems like it maximizes delays with the one big security area, then the weird, dungeon like underground tram you have to ride forever to get to your gate. Not to mention the airport is practically located in Kansas, making visitors who fly in ask the age old dumb and dumber question “shouldn’t the Rocky Mountains be a little rockier? That John Denver is full of shit man!”… AND you almost have to take the toll roads to get there if your flying out, which is expensive and still takes forever and amazingly, are heavily patrolled for speeders. Then when you get there, the parking situation sucks and takes forever too. I always dread having to fly in or out of DIA. Which is why I will gladly pay a few hundred more to fly out of Springs. You suck DIA!

michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@Andrew Malouff Definitely didn't hold back in this post, Andrew. We're going to make it a future Comment of the Day. Thanks.


@Andrew Malouff Yeah, all that just to fly.  In the air.  Like a bird.  And in less than a day you're eating ramen (the real kind).  In Asia.

Life sucks, doesn't it?


@Cognitive_Dissident So do the airlines.

Simple fact of the matter is that since deregulation, no domestic airline has been profitable on an overall long-term basis, with the possible outlier of Southwest.

Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@RustyShackleford ...and if they didn't, and got just as popular as air travel, the real problem, the TSA, would expand into that space. They've already been stationed at some train and bus stations. Frankly, the government should have never been invited into any of it.


@Cognitive_Dissident The TSA is a minor nuisance at worst. The bigger culprit is deregulation, which caused the airlines to move from being focused on service to a one-way race to the bottom...

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