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  • Writer's pictureBret & Amber Tueller

Denver International Airport

DIA replaced Stapleton Airporton February 28, 1995, 16 months behind schedule and at a cost of $4.8 billion, nearly $2 billion over budget

Conspiracy theorists love Denver International Airport. Ever since its conception there have been plenty of oddities that have fueled the fire of conspiracy, and those fires burn as bright as ever today. Even the airport officials have jumped on the bandwagon and feed the fun themselves. From signs during construction hinting at hidden agend as to a talking gargoyle statue, there is no shortage of mystery and intrigue. Some of the most popular theories include secret tunnels, clues to Nazi secret societies, horrifying harbingers of doom “hidden” in public artwork, being headquarters for the Illuminati, hidden bunkers,and "Blucifer" (the blue broncoat the airport entrance) being a nod to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

With due respect to all the theories and conjecture, we providefor you here with some of the facts of our beloved airport. And only the facts.

• Denver International Airport is the 20th-busiest airport in the world and the fifth-busiest in the U.S.

• DIA’s land covers 53 square miles, or 34,000 acres, making it larger than the cities of Manhattan, San Francisco, Boston,and Miami.

• The four airports busier than Denver - Atlanta,Chicago, Los Angeles,and Dallas/Fort Worth - could all fit onto DIA’s property.

• The airport's water bill is $115,000 per month.

• The airport’s roof is covered in white tents made of fiberglass “as thin as a credit card.” There are 34 peaks total, meant to resemble the snow-capped mountains in Colorado and “[evoke] the early history of Colorado when Native American teepees were located across the Great Plains.”

• 35,000 people work at DIA.

• Medics believe only one baby has been born inside of the airport in the 26 years it's been open.

• DIA goes through 400 cases of toilet paper per week, and there are 96 rolls a case. That’s 38,400 rolls of toilet paper per week.

• The first flight to depart DIA was United Airlines Flight 1062 to Kansas City International Airport.

• The first flight to arrive at DIA was United Flight 1474 from Colorado Springs. The first passenger to get off the plane? Elrey Jeppesen.

• DIA's busiest day ever was on July 19, 2019. 227,497 passengers traveled through the airport that day.

• When DIA launched, it tried to implement a new, automated baggage system that involved 22 miles of tracks and conveyor belts. But it didn’t work as planned, and instead, “chewed up and spit out bags.” The setup of the defunct system still exists underground at the airport.

• Utah ski resorts thought DIA would be a failure based on the highly-publicized issues with the baggage system and sent out advertisements that said: "In Denver, you could lose your luggage. In Utah, you could lose yourself."

• Actor Macaulay Culkin called DIA “the scariest place I’ve ever been in my life.”

• There are three concourses at the airport, and you have to take a train that runs inside the building to get from concourse to concourse. Each train makes 120 round trips per day and transports 100,000 people per day.

• You can skip the train to the A concourse if you prefer. There’s a pedestrian bridge from the main terminal.

• There are around 1,600 flights per day at DIA. Technically, the airport could handle 4,608 flights.

•DIA's 327-foot FAA control tower is one of the tallest in America. There are 548 stairs from bottom to top, and the average walkingtime is 20 minutes. It's engineered to sway 1/2 inch in up to 86-mile-per- hour winds.

• The DIA bathrooms have a fan club. People on Twitter and Reddit have posted about loving their smell. The bathroomscent is called “Black Bamboo.”

• The airport has 30 acres of parking lots with more than 44,255 public parking spaces.

• There are cameras that take pictures of license plates as cars drive into airport parking facilities. The airport will help people find their cars if they forget where they parked.

• About 48,000 items end up in the airport lost-and-found every year.Found items have included teddy bears, a big screen TV, a chainsaw, and a 6-foot-tall stuffed banana.

• Historically, 9 a.m. is the busiest hour for security checkpoints, with TSA screening more than 4,700 passengers each day at that time, on average.

• Mustang "Blucifer" weighs 9,000 pounds.

• You can travel to more than 215 destinations worldwide from Denver.

• The busiest restaurant at DIA is Elway's.

• There are 67 total restaurants at DIA.

• The floors at DIA are vacuumed every night.

• The moving walkways inside the terminals travel at 130 feet per minute (or roughly 1.46 mph).

• There's a time capsule buried at DIA that won't open until 2094. It contains columns critical of the airport, a copy of the Stapleton neighborhood lawsuit against DIA, Black Hawk casino tokens, and Rockies memorabilia.

• DIA's airfield contains a total of 6 million square yards of concrete.

• If you call DIA, you won't get hold music. Instead, you'll get fun facts about the airport.

• Denver has six runways, five of them being 12,000 feet long.

• At 16,000 feet, Denver’s sixth runway is the longest commercial runway in North America. According to the airport, planes sometimes need the extra length for take-off because of Denver’s summer heat and the city's elevation.


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