Denver, Frontier Plan to Expand Regional Jet Concourse

Denver International Airport and Frontier Airlines are drawing up plans for an expansion of the regional jet facility on Concourse A, an indication that the proposed project is edging closer to becoming a reality.

Frontier Airlines has said it likely will need more space for new regional jets and a fleet of 10 turboprop planes for its new subsidiary, Lynx Aviation. It met with airport officials late last year about a possible expansion in what were termed "very preliminary discussions."

Talks have picked up this month, and officials from the two sides are determining the size, costs, a timeline and other details of an expansion, said DIA Manager Turner West.

"We're in the planning phase," West said. "Logically we're going to have to do some type of expansion."

The current facility - a ground-floor area on the east end of the A concourse that several airlines use to route passengers outside to smaller planes - is already crowded and will get even busier as Frontier grows, West said.

DIA officials said the project likely would be a "significant" expansion of the facility, which has nearly a dozen passenger-loading areas for airlines.

West said it's still too early to discuss costs but indicated the price tag would be much less than the $41.5 million DIA is spending to add a similar facility for United Airlines on the B concourse. The expansion likely would take two to three years to complete, he said.

Denver-based Frontier has some wiggle room in coming years to handle its growth, as the carrier is in the process of taking over six regular gates on the A concourse. United agreed to give up those gates in exchange for the regional jet facility on the B concourse.

"We realize that there is the potential for space needs down the road, and we're trying to get ahead of that," said Frontier spokesman Joe Hodas. "We've still got to figure out specifically what those needs are."

INFOBOX

Other concourse expansions at DIA

* Concourse B: $41.5 million regional jet facility for United Airlines under construction. Completion scheduled for April.

* Concourse C: Adding at least eight gates to accommodate future growth from Southwest Airlines and other carriers in a three-year project costing roughly $160 million.



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