DIA officials estimate the back-to-back snowstorms cost the airport an extra $6.7 million in contractor services, employee overtime, equipment and deicing chemical costs and other expenditures.
Denver International Airport, closed for 45 hours on Dec. 20-22, also had to forgo about $4.6 million in lost concession revenues, including parking fees, as well as uncollected landing fees and passenger facility charges on tickets, said Stan Koniz, DIA's chief financial officer.
"These are preliminary, rough, approximate numbers," he counseled. "They will change."
On Wednesday, other airport officials told a Denver City Council committee that they plan to seek another $8 million for the airport's contract with a private snow-removal company because the storms nearly depleted funds in the original contract.
DIA had a $3 million contract with the contractor for removing piles of snow on the airfield during storms, but the airport used up to $2 million in snow-removal services since the first storm hit Dec. 20.
"It's a multi-year contract, and we burn through it pretty quickly in storms like these," Koniz said.
DIA also has hired a consultant to study the airport's snow-removal plans and see if improvements can be made.
In recent days, the airport tested a snow-melting device that accepts dumped loads of snow and reduces them to water that can be funneled to a storm drain. However, those machines may be impractical because of the size of the job.
DIA officials said one challenge in the recent storms was to remove huge amounts of snow from ramp areas between the concourses. Snow on airport ramps can't merely be plowed aside, since frequent aircraft movements mean there is no room to store large mounds. Snow on the ramps must be loaded on trucks and dumped elsewhere.
Officials say some of the revenues lost during the storm will be recouped since landing fees charged to airlines, for instance, are based on what is needed to run the airfield. They could be raised slightly to account for the reduction in flights due to the storms.
Some air travelers have complained they were forced to pay parking fees to DIA for days when the airport was shut down and their vehicles were imprisoned in snow-clogged parking lots.
DIA associate aviation manager Alan Ochsenbein told City Council members on Wednesday that the airport was re-examining its policy on parking during such emergencies.
"If you feel you have an issue with parking, call 303-342-4083," Ochsenbein said, referring to the airport's parking office. Each case will be evaluated separately, he said.
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