Denver International Airport has second-busiest year ever

Denver International Airport recorded its second-busiest year ever in 2009, despite a predicted 2 percent decline resulting from the sagging economy and capacity reductions by the airlines.

December passenger traffic at DIA totaled 4,003,422, a 1.7 percent drop from the 4,073,246 travelers recorded in the same month of 2008. The monthly figure pushed DIA’s yearly passenger total to 50,167,485. That was 2.1 percent below the record 51,245,334 travelers who used DIA in 2008.

It was only the second time in DIA history that December passenger traffic topped the 4 million mark, and the second time that the airport’s yearly total exceeded 50 million.

"This is exactly where we had expected to end the year, based on the airlines’ cuts in capacity in response to the decline in air travel," Denver Aviation Manager Kim Day said Thursday. "But some airlines have already reported traffic increases for January, and given the strength of the Denver market, we are optimistic of a turnaround in the near future."

Another indication of the economy’s effect in 2009 was a yearly decline of 10.6 percent in cargo handled. That came despite a 7.8 percent increase in cargo activity at DIA in December.

Flight operations in December dipped slightly, 0.6 percent, to 51,648. For the year, 2009 operations declined to 611,977, down 2.2 percent when compared with 2008.