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Flying out of DIA? The long security lines are real. And ‘the holiday season will be tough’ – Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado 2021-10-22 16:41:42 –

Phil Washington, CEO of Denver International Airport, sought patience during the surge in passengers, saying the airport was struggling to meet demand due to capacity limits and labor shortages in almost every sector. rice field.

Hart Vandenberg / CPR News

Lizzie Johnson describes her recent trip through Denver International Airport as “stressful to say the least.” She has been in and out of the airport for decades, but this time it wasn’t.

When a Denver resident arrived at DIA with her husband and two children on October 15, she said the TSA security line had been wrapping around the baggage claim and beyond. At some point, she and her husband were separated in the crowd and had to call each other to make a link.

“There were people everywhere confused with the lines,” Johnson said. “I have never seen it packed.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, passenger traffic has recovered sharply with DIA, leading to record long security wait times and bottlenecks for parking at airports. According to DIA leadership, the airport is currently seeing the fastest recovery of any US hub.

According to flight records, more than 24 million passengers passed through the airport between January and June. The numbers are still high and are projected to exceed pre-pandemic levels by early next year.

Phil Washington, CEO of Denver International Airport, said the new airline's check-in area will officially open in the last week of October. Washington held a press conference on Friday, October 22, 2021 to talk about long lines, crowded gates and security areas, and construction areas. He likened the situation to remodeling a house while living.
Hart Vandenberg / CPR News

At an extensive press conference on Friday, CEO Phil Washington sought patience during the surge, saying airports are struggling to meet demand due to capacity limits and labor shortages in almost every sector.

“We’re going to make things better,” Washington said. “But there is a lot to do.”

Washington, who took office as CEO three months ago, outlined some immediate changes to meet expected demand during the next holiday season. This includes reopening the parking lot, building four new TSA security lines, and adding an information kiosk with workers called “purple shirts” to help passengers navigate the terminal.

According to Washington, airport staff will shoehorn the new TSA line to the existing security infrastructure as soon as possible. He did not provide a clear timeline for the project.

Starting this weekend, the Pikes Peak Shuttle Parking Lot will be temporarily open. This space has been closed for several months due to a continuing shortage of bus drivers.

Washington said it is considering waiving a commercial driver’s license requirement as an employment condition to support recruitment. This solution requires the driver to use a small van to ferry passengers from the parcel to the airport.

“I think it should be permanent,” he said. “This is a continuing problem as the number of passengers increases.”

Since its opening in 1995, the number of DIA visitors has skyrocketed to about 70 million each year.

Although the number plummeted in 2020 due to the pandemic, the airport is projected to reach 80 million by 2025 and 100 million by 2035.

Many of the current challenges, according to Washington, are due to the fact that the facility is built to serve approximately 50 million passengers each year. Several long-term construction projects are underway to expand capacity, but some have encountered obstacles in recent years.

“The holiday season will be tough,” Washington said. “But next year and after vacation, we see light at the end of the tunnel.”

Inside the terminal on Friday, the security line meandered nicely to the baggage claim. Passengers said they were surprised by the congestion at the airport, but some well-known premium options like the TSA PreCheck helped us arrive on the flight in time.

Passengers rush into the halls of Denver International Airport while waiting to pass the South Security Checkpoint on Friday, October 22, 2021.
Hart Vandenberg / CPR News

Jim Obermeier drove from Congress Park to the airport to pick up two friends who came to town for a concert. He said it took 15 minutes to find the parking lot.

Then he got lost in a maze on the construction wall of the terminal.

“This is crazy,” he said. “But I understand that they are doing what they have to do to stay relevant.”

Next week, the airport will begin the first phase of the Great Hall expansion after a series of delays. Washington said the extra space would open the main terminal and allow for better foot traffic.

He emphasized that passengers should plan to give themselves at least two hours of cushioning when they plan to board the plane in the coming months.

Flying out of DIA? The long security lines are real. And ‘the holiday season will be tough’ Source link Flying out of DIA? The long security lines are real. And ‘the holiday season will be tough’

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