New One-Day Record for Traffic at DEN

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DataBase Administrator
Dec 8, 2002
Controllers say they're pushed to the limit

Denver International Airport saw a record number of flights Friday, August 4, with 2,013 departures and arrivals.
It's the first time the airport's passed the 2,000-mark in its ten-year history, and it is now in the LAX and DFW league, right behind ORD and ATL.
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association says the achievement was even more notable because they managed the record traffic with 15 controllers and one Management Coordinator over the 24-hour period.
The reason for the dramatic increase is twofold, says Mike Coulter, President of the local chapter of NATCA at DEN. "First, we have the increase in flights with Southwest’s expansion being matched by United and Frontier Airlines. Plus, we no longer have as many Boeing 757’s and Boeing 777’s flying out of Denver. They have been replaced with much smaller regional jets. It takes a lot more
airplanes to move the same number of people."

In the past 12 months DIA has averaged over 24% more flights in and out per day as compared to one year ago.
Coulter says that. even as traffic is increasing at DEN, they are working with fewer controllers. When the airport opened in 1995, DEN had 49 Controllers working an average of 1350 departures and arrivals per day. That number is now down to 33.
Seven of those are eligible to retire and may do so at any time, and another nine will become eligible by the end of next year.
"It’s been a long time since DEN had an operational error," says Coulter. That, he says, is due to the
experience of these Controllers.

"We have had only one error in the past four years at DEN out of more than 3 million operations. That is an amazing record by anyone’s standard."
However, Coulter is worried about maintaining that record. " If the FAA does not start bringing in people soon, we will not be able to keep this record up. There are only so many airplanes you can work
with this number of controllers."


Premium Subscriber
Mar 27, 2004
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Awsome news! We have an arrival here at BZN every hour an a half from KDEN. Hope you get more controllers for that much volume.
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