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New All-Time Passenger Traffic Record for Denver International Airport

DEN traveler numbers surpass previous high in 2019.

By Beth Buehler

Denver International Airport (DEN) and The Westin Denver International Airport CREDIT DEN.

Denver International Airport (DEN) has released passenger traffic statistics for the full year of 2022, and the news is impressive. It’s one of those before COVID-19 and after COVID-19 “recovery” moments, a timeframe that has witnessed DEN soar into the position of No. 3 busiest airport in the world and the meetings and events industry return to business.

In 2022, the airport served 69,286,461 million passengers, an increase of 17.8% when compared to 2021 and 0.4% when looking at 2019 numbers. Despite a major winter storm that impacted overall passenger traffic at the end of 2022, DEN surpassed pre-COVID-19 numbers. Previously, DEN’s busiest year ever was in 2019 with 69,015,703 passengers.

One of the surprises was the fact that October 2022 was the busiest month of the year with over 6.5 million passengers, ranking it the most active month ever at DEN.

Highlights from 2022

For the year, 58.8% of DEN’s passengers were origination and destination (O&D), meaning they began or ended their trip in Denver. This nearly matched DEN’s O&D percentage for 2021 of 58.7% but is 5.6 points lower than the 64.4% O&D passengers handled by DEN in 2019.

Connecting passengers made up 41.2% of total passengers in 2022, representing the highest percentage of connecting passengers since 2014.

It was the busiest year for international passenger traffic at DEN, with volume reaching more than 3.3 million, 74.7% above 2021 and 4.6% more than 2019. July 2022 now ranks as DEN’s busiest month ever for international passenger traffic.

DEN’s largest carriers by market share, as measured by total passenger volume, were United (46%), Southwest (31%), Frontier (10%), Delta (5%), and American (4%). It was the busiest year on record at DEN for both United and Southwest.

Planes flying in and out of DEN don’t just carry people. In terms of cargo, 2022 marks the first year since 2003 that the airport’s annual cargo volume exceeded 700 million pounds. The 2022 volume totaled nearly 725 million pounds, up by 7.5% when compared to 2021.

DEN continued to rank as the third-busiest airport in the world, behind only Atlanta (ATL) and Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), based on information available through October 2022. Global airport statistics for the full year should be available this spring.