CEO Gary Kelly described Denver as “definitely the quickest rising metropolis within the historical past of Southwest Airways” on the firm’s shareholder assembly Wednesday. Now, the airline’s goals to continue to grow right here shall be aided by the addition of almost $100 million upkeep hangar at Denver Worldwide Airport.
Kelly introduced the mission from a podium arrange in a basement convention room of the Renaissance Denver Downtown Metropolis Middle Lodge, kicking off the annual gathering with information positive to excite the airline’s 75 technical operations staff who do most of their work at DIA outdoors for now.
The 130,000-square-foot facility could have house inside for 3 Boeing 737 plane, Kelly mentioned, with parking outdoors for eight extra.
“Our funding right here has paid off very handsomely,” Kelly mentioned of Southwest’s choice to function a hub in Denver. “(This hangar) is additional proof, in fact, of our funding locally.”
Southwest, based mostly in Dallas, first got here to DIA in 2006, getting what Kelly described as a modest begin with simply 13 each day departures and three nonstop locations. The airline is now the largest passenger mover in Denver, based on Kelly. This summer season, it expects to supply 224 each day departures to 70 nonstop locations, he mentioned, with extra routes on the best way. The airline employs roughly 4,200 individuals within the Denver space, together with the 75 upkeep employees who will employees the hangar.
Work on the mission is anticipated to get underway within the coming months, with completion focused earlier than the top of 2020. The hangar would be the seventh in Southwest’s community, becoming a member of amenities in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix and Orlando, Fla.
“Southwest Airways is an important companion for Denver Worldwide Airport, and we’re proud the airline has determined to make this important funding in our metropolis,” Mayor Michael Hancock mentioned in a information launch distributed by Southwest.
Southwest additionally hopes to reap the benefits of concourse growth mission underway at DIA that may add 39 gates to the airport. The airline at present leases 24 gates in Concourse C, which can get 16 new gates as a part of the mission. Southwest needs all of these, a sentiment Kelly mentioned he has shared with the airport, the mayor, the governor and anyone “who will hearken to us.”
“With our productiveness, we might do a variety of flights with that,” Kelly mentioned.
Southwest isn’t the one airline with executives publicly lobbying for extra actual property on DIA concourses. United Airways officers final 12 months mentioned they’ve claimed 11 gates being constructed via the growth however need extra. In Kelly’s view, Denver is lucky to have three main airways — Southwest, United and Frontier Airways — all rising and jockeying for house at DIA. The ambiance just isn’t the identical in different markets across the nation, he mentioned.
“If you happen to take a look at the profit for the Denver group, it’s simply excellent,” Kelly mentioned. “We’re up for the competitors.”