United Airlines has negotiated an amended lease agreement with Denver International Airport that would allow it to reduce lease payments while potentially expanding service at the airport. The amendment is subject to local city council approval.
The airline would pay off outstanding debt against 220,000 square feet of unused baggage sorting and maintenance space underneath concourse B that the airport would remove from its lease obligation, according to documents filed with the city. The lease expires in February 2025.
United would also re-lease five gates on concourse B. The city made a $12.5 million payment for the gates and removed them from the airlines' lease for six years in 2009. They are currently used by US Airways.
The airport would also waive certain in lieu payments from the airline as long as it maintains at least 22.78 billion available seat miles in a calendar year. The airline would face financial penalties if its available capacity falls under this level.
United may have plans to expand its operations in Denver. The additional gates would allow it to increase the number of flights it operates to the airport, where it has decreased capacity during the past few years. It carried 41% of the airport's passenger traffic in January, according to the airport.
A United spokesman said that the airline is always working with airports to address "cost competitiveness." The airport did not immediately respond to questions.
The amended lease would go into effect on 1 July if it is approved. A Denver city council subcommittee is considering the proposal on 2 May.