Denver International Airport officials Tuesday said that they expect high passenger volume at the airport this week but that traffic will be lower than a year ago.
Airlines that serve DIA expect 991,730 travelers to pass through the airport from Tuesday through Monday, according to a release issued by DIA . That's down slightly from 1,013,313 passengers during Thanksgiving week 2011.
Airport officials noted that the holiday brings a type of passenger different from the one who typically passes through the airport — the leisure traveler.
"Over the holidays, we see a dramatic shift from business to leisure passengers, and many of them are relatively inexperienced travelers," said DIA aviation manager Kim Day in a
Those who have not been to DIA recently — and those dropping off and picking up travelers — may experience a shock as they try to navigate airport roads for the first time since work on the South Terminal construction project began this fall.
As a result of the airport expansion — which will feature a light-rail station, a hotel and a plaza on the south side of the main terminal — the bridges connecting Peña Boulevard to the west parking garages have been removed during construction.
Passengers flying aboard airlines located on the Jeppesen Terminal's west side will find themselves weaving around the airport grounds — whether they are self-parking, riding a shuttle or being dropped off.
During Thanksgiving week, Tuesday and Wednesday are the busiest departure days, while Sunday is the busiest day for returning traffic. Airport officials say that most families and individuals traveling for the holiday won't park in the garages, but the parking
"The economy lots fill up first, and then Pikes Peak and Mount Elbert (lots)," said DIA spokeswoman Laura Coale. "A lot of people like to pull over on Peña Boulevard, and we really don't want to see that for their safety."
Travelers parking at DIA can check the parking vacancy for each lot at flydenver.com or by calling 303-DIA-PARK while on the road. For those parking at Pikes Peak or Mount Elbert, shuttles are supposed to come every 10 minutes, but airport officials recommend allowing an additional 30 minutes for those lots.
Daily passenger totals for the holiday week are:
Tuesday, Nov. 20: 149,311
Wednesday, Nov. 21: 167,725
Thursday, Nov. 22: 94,331
Friday, Nov. 23: 121,205
Saturday, Nov. 24: 150,391
Sunday, Nov. 25: 157,189
Monday, Nov. 26: 151,578
Source: Denver International Airport