Global Traveler: Denver has some of the most striking architecture of any airport in America. Can you comment on how this adds to the traveling experience, especially since your background is in architecture?
Kim Day: I think every airport in America, these days, is trying to achieve an image that reflects the locale, so you don’t go into some anonymous terminal. There’s no question that the architecture in Denver has become a landmark, and when you walk into that terminal and you walk into the tents, you know that you’re not in “Any State, USA”; you know you’re in Denver. I think that’s really a nice feature. I think architecture has the ability to make an experience much less stressful.
GT: Lufthansa added a flight from Denver to Munich about a year ago; what other international flights of note does Denver have scheduled?
KD: Right now we have a number of Lufthansa flights to Frankfurt, and United flies directly to London. For the last few years we’ve been working on a direct-to-Asia flight, so that would be our next goal.
GT: Can you also comment on how Denver compares to airports of a similar size in terms of congestion and speed of transfer?
KD: In terms of relative size, I believe it changes every day. We are either the fourth- or fifth-largest airport [in the U.S.], so in terms of the number of people we process, it’s huge. In fact, we are a large destination airport, so the majority of our passengers start and end their trips here. Again, the facility is new; we have a lot of space. I think, in general, the transfer here is a lot easier than many other airports. We have a great concessions program that makes transitions simple, and I would stack us against anybody in terms of speed and ease of transfer.
GT: Global Traveler has rated Denver as one of the top vacation spots in North America. How has Colorado’s increasing popularity as a vacation destination impacted the airport?
KD: We’ve grown! We continue to grow on an annual basis above the national growth level. There are a lot of good reasons that this city has become such a great destination. In the last 15 years the city has invested not just in the airport but in a beautiful museum, fabulous sports facilities and a new convention center. Plus, we’re only an hour or two from the best skiing.
This country has finally jumped on the environmental sensitivity/ sustainability bandwagon, and this city has led that effort. I think people who appreciate clean air and water really appreciate Denver.
GT: The 2008 Democratic Convention will be coming to Denver in August. What adjustments will be made to handle all the travelers, and how will security be affected?
KD: Certainly, when you have anything that high profile, security becomes heightened. But really for us, people are arriving on commercial air carriers, so it’s not like we’ll be handling 20 extra planes. In terms of the number of passengers, it will be normal summer traffic. However, there are special attempts to get the delegates off the planes as quickly as possible and to have their experience be as positive as possible. There will be a ground transportation system set up to ferry all the delegates and their families. In terms of security, I believe the entire city will be more alert during the convention.
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