DIA has Plans to Expand
Denver International Airport is looking to expand by adding additional gates to all three concourses by 2021. It will cost $1.5 billion to add a total of 39 gates giving the airport a total of 145 upon its completion.
According to the airport, passenger volume is expected to exceed 60 million this year which is 20% above its design capacity. There are a few reasons for this as Denver has evolved into more of an origination-destination airport rather than a connection city. Also, airlines that service in and out of Denver are adding flights, including Southwest Airlines who have designs on making DIA one of their "mega" stations by 2018.
When the airport was designed and built, it was done with expansion in mind. There is a little over 52 square miles of land the airport sits on with room to move. Word has it that a fourth concourse could be added just north of concourse C (near the United and Frontier airplane hangers) and the tunnels used for the train and other transportation already extend that far. Rather than going that route at this time, the airport and city have decided to expand what they've got.
What does this mean to us, the traveler? The airport is already busy and it will be expanded to get busier. Getting through security could take a bit longer. On-site parking, which can be a nightmare depending on what day and time of year you're traveling, could be more challenging. The line to get a delicious cup of Dunkin' Donuts coffee could get even longer (Sorry. That's my lament.) But it seems that all of this is inevitable as the state, and especially the eastern corridor continues to grow. Keep in mind that although Colorado Springs and Cheyenne both have airports, the better options remain at DIA despite the travel it takes to get there.
As for delays and other travel issues as they construct the new gates, I wouldn't worry about that. I was working out there when they added five new gates on concourse C last year. That construction did not slow down nor hinder aircraft coming and going.