DIA sees its lowest passenger levels since 1997.

The pandemic grounded the airline industry in 2020, with statistics still coming in, we are just starting to understand how much of an impact it had. 

Denver International Airport was on a major growth trajectory for the past several years, ranking among the busiest airports nationally and in the top 16 internationally in 2019. 

Then COVID-19 hit, and everything changed. From 2019 to 2020, total passenger traffic at Denver International Airport dropped 51 percent. The nearly 34 million people that used DIA's services last year made up the lowest number of passengers it has seen since 1997. 

This follows national numbers, but DIA actually came out of the pandemic slow down better than most airports in the nation. 

As travel starts to ramp up again, DIA officials have hope that what was a decent back half of 2020 for airports will continue to strengthen. Throughout the summer,  DIA was often the No. 1 ranked airport in the U.S. for TSA throughput. According to a press release, air travel began meaningful recovery in June, and for the 31 weeks from June 1 through December 28; DIA ranked as the No. 1 or No. 2 U.S. airport in TSA throughput for 22 of 31 weeks. Strong domestic demand made up the majority of the increase in travel since international travel was minimal through most of 2020.

Also, mail, freight, and cargo operations at DIA were able to almost maintain numbers year over year. Pounds of cargo transport in 2020 was only down 1.6 percent in 2019.  

“2020 was a year like we’ve never seen before in the aviation industry,” said DEN CEO Kim Day in a statement. “After starting the spring with a precipitous 96% plunge in passenger traffic, DEN’s traffic has rebounded better than we predicted and finished 2020 ahead of our projections. As we look to the future, DEN is positioned well financially and has a strong domestic network that will help us continue our recovery. In the meantime, we remain focused on the health and safety of our passengers and employees and we’re ready when you’re ready to travel.”

Have you traveled through DIA lately? Let us know in the comments.