Denver International Airport set a passenger record in 2008 with 51,245,334 passengers. An amazing feat for such a young facility. Even after the economy began to fray at the edges in 2009, they were still able to move massive numbers of freight and travelers through the state.
A total of 47,784 flight operations were recorded at DIA in November 2009, an increase of 1.0 percent from the same month of 2008. Through November, operations totaled 560,329, still 2.5 percent below the 574,496 in the same period of the previous year.
Since opening on February 28, 1995, Denver International Airport has become the world’s 10th-busiest airport and the 5th-busiest airport in the United States. With 51.2 million passengers in 2008, DIA is one of the busiest domestic hubs in the world’s largest aviation market, the United States, and is the primary economic engine of the state of Colorado, generating more than $22 billion in annual economic impact.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) outlined the new security rules Sunday, but initial reports from several European countries indicated that they were still scrambling to digest and implement the new rules.
This could cause quite a stir considering that Denver International Airport is twice the size of Manhattan Island, and is larger than the city boundaries of Boston, Miami, or San Francisco. DIA is the largest airport site in North America and the second-largest in the world, partly because it’s 16,000 foot long Runway 16R/34L, is the longest commercial runway in the United States. One of the major reasons they have received I C A O certification to handle Airbus 380 operations.
In the last month, dozens more people have been added to the government’s terrorist watch list and no-fly list. People on the watch list get additional checking before they are allowed to enter this country; those on the no-fly list are barred from boarding aircraft in or headed for the United States.
The review of the National Counter Terrorism Center’s massive Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) database was prompted by the attempt to bring down a Detroit-bound jetliner. That incident also spurred enhanced security screening that took effect Monday for people traveling to the United States from or through Yemen, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and 11 other countries.
The time it takes to implement new screening procedures depends on where airlines are operating, said Steve Lott of the International Air Transport Association. “It can happen in a matter of hours or it can happen in a day or two.”
Many other passengers who are not from those 14 countries or traveling through them will continue to see additional screening measures, according to a senior TSA official. For instance, in another refinement of measures put in place after the Christmas incident, it is now up to the plane’s captain whether to require passengers to put away electronic devices during the flight and to remain seated for the final hour before landing. The official was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.
David Castelveter, spokesman for the Air Transport Association, said he would not discuss any new TSA measures because doing so might compromise security. “We are not having discussions about the measures or how they work or do not work,” He said the measures are being implemented with the least amount of customer inconvenience possible. TSA also said Sunday that all passengers on U.S. bound international flights will be subject to random screening and airports were directed to increase “threat-based” screening of passengers acting in a suspicious manner.
People who are from or traveling from or through these countries are supposed to have full-body pat-downs and have their carry on luggage checked: Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Syria, Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, and Yemen.
The U.S. has designated Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria to be state sponsors of terrorism. The other 10 countries are considered “of interest,” based on the latest terrorism intelligence. People from those countries or traveling through them could also be subject to full-body scanning and explosive detection technology as part of their screening.
If the security measures are not followed, the TSA can penalize the airlines, according to another TSA official who was not authorized to speak about the enforcement rules. The penalties could include warnings, fines and recalcitrant airlines could ultimately be barred from flying to the U.S.
Passengers are subjected to special screening, including full body searches, in a designated area of the departure lounge, said the spokesman, Sultan Hasan. The airline has run advertisements in newspapers to advise passengers of the stepped-up security.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that full body scanners would soon be in British airports and Amsterdam said last week they would begin using the scanners on passengers bound for the U.S. A spokesman for Pakistan International Airline said the company has also instituted new security screening for U.S.-bound passengers. Security personnel at the San’a airport in Yemen were ordered to apply strict measures, including careful baggage examinations and patting down travelers, especially those departing for the United States as the final destination, an official said.