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Southwest Airlines seeks 16 more gates at Denver International Airport

Southwest Airlines has put its Denver International Airport growth plans in writing. Now it’s up to the City Council to decide if the budget carrier will be granted rights to 16 more gates at the growing airport after last month approving a 24-gate lease expansion for competitor United Airlines.

Southwest officials with join representatives from DIA at a City Council committee meeting Wednesday afternoon where they will lay out the airline’s request. If the committee approves, the proposal will go before the entire Council sometime in the coming weeks.

The Dallas-based budget carrier leases 24 gates on DIA’s Concourse C. It is seeking to absorb all 16 new gates being built on that concourse, upping its DIA footprint to 40 gates.

The proposed lease amendment would also extend Southwest’s agreement with the city through Feb. 28, 2035. The airline’s current DIA lease expires at the end of this year, airport officials say.

“This will support our long-term growth plans,” Southwest spokesman Dan Landson said Tuesday.

The airline has not been shy about its desire to be part of DIA’s big growth spurt. CEO Gary Kelly said last spring it was his company’s aim to take on all of the new C gates at DIA. Southwest is in the process of building a $100 million maintenance hangar at the airport.

The airline launched operations at DIA in 2006 with 13 daily departures, according to the airport. Today, Southwest offers about 250 departures per day to more than 69 destinations.

On Monday, Southwest announced plans to launch a winter seasonal flight out of DIA to Yampa Valley Regional Airport, later this year, bringing service to the Steamboat Springs market.

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