Why we're adding 24 gates at Denver International Airport
As Vice President of United Airlines' team at Denver International Airport and a Colorado native, I am incredibly proud of our latest milestone here in the Mile High City. This morning, United CEO Oscar Munoz and Mayor Michael B. Hancock signed an agreement to increase our footprint at Denver International by 24 gates over the next two years.
Denver is our fastest growing hub and a focal point of our efforts to expand United's unmatched route network – one that connects Coloradans to more places than any other airline in the world. This means easier opportunities to go to more destinations, both domestically and internationally, than ever before. Last year alone we introduced service to Frankfurt, added direct flights to London and surpassed 500 daily departures – a record for United in Denver. And now, thanks to overwhelming support from the city, community leaders and our customers here in Denver, United will be able to offer more opportunities than ever for our customers to get to that important business meeting, family wedding or home to loved ones.
Just four years ago, United was operating approximately 400 flights from Denver. Since then, that number has climbed 22% and could reach as high as 700 daily flights by 2025 – growth that will continue to be fueled in large part by local demand for domestic and international service. Take our highly successful London, Frankfurt and Tokyo flights, for instance. In June, United will start flying larger aircraft – the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner – on these routes, adding nearly 100 daily seats each way to these popular destinations. Additionally, with more than 4,000 premium seats available on United, our customers have the most options to travel in comfort from Denver.
But at United, we also know that it takes more than comfort, convenient flights and global reach to earn the trust and loyalty of local travelers. It takes excellent service and reliability as well. And for the past 59 straight months, United beat out our top competitor in on-time departures from Denver. Moreover, despite operating twice as many flights, United had fewer cancellations the last two years than Denver's second-largest airline.
United is also proud of the more than 7,000 local employees who are deeply committed to delivering an exceptional travel experience to every one of our customers, on every flight, every day. That employment presence extends to our Denver flight training center as well – the largest facility of its kind in the Western Hemisphere that hosts more than 12,000 of United's aviators each year.
At United, there is a shared purpose that drives us to create the best airline for everyone we serve: Connecting people, uniting the world. We feel privileged to pursue that purpose here in Denver, and we take pride in the positive role United will continue to play in our great city, and in the lives of the customers here we so proudly fly.
Vice President Denver Hub, United Airlines
In the midst of mobilizing our cargo operations, our teams at New York/Newark (EWR) and Jacksonville (JAX) stepped in to assist Roche Diagnostics with transporting a vital component for an instrument being used for COVID-19 testing.
The component was stuck at EWR en route to the Mayo Clinic in Florida after another airline's flights were cancelled. A Roche employee contacted us asking for help and, within a few hours, our teams had the piece loaded onto a Jacksonville-bound aircraft, with arrangements in place to deliver it to the Mayo Clinic.
The item we shipped will allow the Mayo Clinic in Florida to process hundreds of COVID-19 tests per day. Mayo Clinic Laboratories has been on the front lines of increasing testing capacity to expedite caring for patients at this critical time and working to ease the burden being felt at test processing laboratories in a growing number of areas.
We are going above and beyond to find creative ways to transport fresh food and produce, as well as basic essentials from the U.S. mainland to military and their families in Guam/Micronesia. On Saturday, March 28, we operated an exclusive cargo-only B777-300 charter to transport nearly 100,000 pounds of food essentials to Guam to support our troops.
In addition, we move mail year-round all over the world. In response to COVID-19, and in support of the military members and their families overseas, we implemented a charter network, transporting military mail to Frankfurt, which is then transported all over Europe and the Middle East. Since March 20, we have flown 30,000+ pounds of military mail every day between Chicago O'Hare (ORD) and Frankfurt (FRA). On the return flight from Frankfurt to Chicago, we have carried an average of 35,000 pounds of mail to help families stay connected.
"Connecting products and mail to people around the world is the United Cargo mission," said United Cargo President Jan Krems. "Keeping our military families connected with the goods they need, and keeping them connected with loved ones to feel a sense of home, is of critical importance. As a company that has long supported our military families and veterans, our teams are proud to mobilize to lend a hand."
On average, we ship more than 1 billion pounds of cargo every year on behalf of domestic and international customers. For more information, visit unitedcargo.com.
To our customers,
I hope this note finds you and your loved ones healthy and well.
It is safe to say these past weeks have been among some of the most tumultuous and emotional that any of us can remember in our lifetimes. The impact of the coronavirus outbreak has been felt by individuals and families, companies and communities, across the United States and around the world.
The response to this crisis has been extraordinary; as much for what it has required from our society as for what it has revealed of us as a people.
Far from causing division and discord, this crisis and the social distancing it has required, has allowed us to witness something profound and moving about ourselves: our fond and deeply felt wish to be connected with one another.
The role of connector is one we're privileged to play in the moments that matter most in your life – weddings and graduations, birthdays and business trips, events large and small – and it's that responsibility that motivates us most to get back to our regular service, as soon as possible.
That is why it is so important our government acted on a comprehensive relief act to ensure our airline – and our industry – are ready and able to serve you again when this crisis abates.
I want to relay to you, in as deeply personal a way I can, the heartfelt appreciation of my 100,000 United team members and their families for this vital public assistance to keep America and United flying for you.
This support will save jobs in our business and many others. And it allows us time to make decisions about the future of our airline to ensure that we can offer you the service you deserve and have come to expect as our customers.
While consumer demand has fallen, we have seen the need for our service and capabilities shifted. And, we've adapted to help meet those needs.
Right now, aircraft flying the United livery and insignia, flown by our aviation professionals, have been repurposed to deliver vital medical supplies and goods to some of the places that need it most. We're also using several of our idle widebody aircraft to use as dedicated charter cargo flights, at least 40 times per week, to transfer freight to and from U.S. locations as well as to key international business locations. At the same time, we are working in concert with the U.S. State Department to bring stranded Americans who are trying to return home back to their loved ones.
While much remains uncertain right now, one thing is for sure: this crisis will pass. Our nation and communities will recover and United will return to service you, our customers. When that happens, we want you to fly United with even greater pride because of the actions we took on behalf of our customers, our employees and everyone we serve.
Stay safe and be well,
Together, we are facing an unprecedented challenge. United Together, we rise to meet that challenge.