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Aviation - Denver shows the Way

Airports everywhere have suffered and continue to suffer greatly from the dramatic downturn in traffic, with passenger flights almost coming to a complete halt not just within the USA but worldwide. Denver International Airport Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kim Day says that, at least in Colorado however, things are beginning to look up.

'As the world continues to grapple with the impacts of COVID-19 and understanding the ways we can keep one another safe while we wait patiently to return to “normal,” Denver International Airport (DEN) is also looking toward the future. While the outlook for our industry is uncertain, DEN has good news to share in terms of our recovery to date. We remain focused on providing the best and safest experience for our employees and for those who have a need to travel today or will again in the future.

Despite the industry-wide impact of COVID-19, DEN is recovering stronger than most large U.S. airports and our financial strength coming into the pandemic is helping immensely. By entering the pandemic with 700 days of operating cash on hand, DEN was well positioned to adapt to the sharp decrease in passenger traffic. By taking aggressive action to reduce $50 million of our operating costs, plan for a slow recovery and use our federal assistance money to help cover our debt service, we quickly developed a conservative and nimble plan on which to rely during this uncertain time. Fortunately, our traffic has been more robust than we predicted, and we are now performing ahead of our original financial projections. We received good news recently when S&P affirmed DEN’s A+ long-term rating despite most large U.S. airports being downgraded by them.'

The Jeppesen Terminal's spectacular roof

'Specifically, S&P noted that “DEN’s overall financial risk profile is unchanged at strong,” in part due to DEN’s “extremely strong management and governance, reflective of a management team that has a steady track record of successfully managing the airport.”