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Southwest Airlines Community

Celebrating Fifteen Years of Serving the Mile High City


As the country embraces a New Year and turns the page to write a new chapter of world history, Southwest Airlines also is preparing to celebrate a service milestone: fifteen years of serving Denver International Airport (DEN)!



Our Purpose is to connect People to what's important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel. We’re proud to offer the Denver community nonstop ways to more than 70 destinations across 36 U.S. states and Mexico. The region, known for its 300 days of sunshine a year and view of 140 miles of western-facing mountains, saw our inaugural service on Jan. 3, 2006, with 13 daily departures to three destinations—Chicago-Midway (MDW), Las Vegas (LAS), and Phoenix (PHX). Today, Denver has grown to the largest operation in the entire Southwest network, averaging 174 departures a day in 2020.


Through these years we have shared our love for Denver through airport investments, marketing campaigns, and serving the community through partnerships and Employee volunteerism initiatives. In every community we serve, we believe community is more than a place—it’s at the Heart of what brings us together and our Heart has taken significant action throughout the Mile High City and even across Colorado.


Here’s a look into 15 milestones during our 15 years of Denver service:

  • Oct. 20, 2005: Southwest announces a return to Denver
  • Jan. 3, 2006: Southwest begins Denver service
  • Dec. 31, 2006: Southwest locally employs 711 Employees
  • May 2011: Southwest acquires AirTran Airways
  • 2011: Southwest becomes the largest domestic carrier in Denver
  • August 22, 2012: Colorado One is unveiled
  • Oct. 1, 2012: Southwest opens Crew bases for Pilots and Flight Attendants at Denver
  • Nov. 2014: Denver Concourse C expansion gives Southwest five new gates
  • March 11, 2017: Southwest becomes the first carrier to serve Belize (BZE) from Denver
  • May 2019: Southwest announces the construction of a 130,000-square-foot hangar in Denver
  • Feb. 2020: Southwest signs a lease for 16 additional gates in Denver
  • May 2020: Denver becomes Southwest’s largest Station
  • May, June, and July 2020: Southwest is Denver’s largest carrier by total passengers
  • Dec. 31, 2020: Southwest employs more than 4,000 Employees at the Denver Station
  • Jan. 3, 2021: Southwest celebrates 15 years of service at Denver
*Southwest served Stapleton International Airport from May 1983 through Sept. 1986.


The lease we signed in February 2020 for 16 additional gates (to be completed in 2022) will provide us the usage of 40 gates total at Denver through 2035. We are delighted to offer more destinations across the state including Montrose (Telluride), Steamboat Springs (Hayden), and Colorado Springs.


Since 2006 locally based Southwest Employees have logged more than 46,000 volunteer hours, supporting the Denver metro area. In 2019 alone, our Denver-based Employees volunteered close to 10,000 hours, which positively impacted more than 170 local Denver community organizations. Southwest has also supported nearly 600 Denver area organizations with more than $3.2 million in total giving since 2006. We are proud to support the mission of Denver based organizations including Junior Achievement Rocky Mountain, Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation, Denver Metro Chamber, Latin American Education Foundation, Martin Luther King Jr. Business Awards, Amp the Cause, B:Civic, Denver Start Up Week, Mexican Cultural Center, and Minds Matter.


It’s an honor to serve Denver. Our commitment to this community remains the same as it did when we first started service in 2006. It is one of the fastest-growing markets in our Company’s history and as we prepare for the future, we look forward to expanding our presence at Denver International Airport. To all Employees, Customers, and community partners who have supported our service and operation here in Denver, we thank you from the bottom of our Hearts. We applaud you for your steadfast commitment to Denver, allowing us to grow our presence in Denver, and expand across Colorado.