United is working toward a substantial expansion of its Denver hub. 

The carrier and Denver International Airport have reached preliminary agreement on a lease amendment that would allow United to expand from its current 66 gates to 90 gates. Final approval of the lease must come from the Denver City Council. The council’s aviation committee is scheduled to consider the amendment Wednesday. 

The airport is currently undergoing a $1.5 billion, 39-gate expansion across its three concourses. The project is scheduled for completion by spring 2021. 

Under the proposed amendment, United would continue to operate primarily in the airport’s Concourse B, where it would have 67 gates. It would also use 12 new gates and 11 existing gates in Concourse A. 

Last summer, United operated 503 peak-day departures in Denver, chief commercial officer Andrew Nocella said at the carrier’s media day in October. Peak-day departures are slated to increase to approximately 550 daily this coming summer.

Southwest, Denver’s second-largest carrier, said in August that it expects to make use of the 16 gates the airport will add to Concourse C. That would give the airline 40 total Denver gates. 

Southwest offered 219 peak-day departures in Denver last summer. The carrier plans to expand its Denver operation by more than 100 flights per day assuming it secures those gates, chief revenue officer Andrew Watterson has said. 


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