After two and a half months, Denver International Airport resumed on Tuesday its first international flight for essential travel, between Denver and Guadalajara.
Volaris, a low-cost airline based in Mexico, is now operating service two days a week between the two cities through the rest of the year, DIA announced in a news release Tuesday. The company expects to resume nonstop flights from Denver to Mexico City and Chihuahua as public health conditions improve.
“We are excited to welcome back our first foreign-flag carrier, Volaris, as air travel begins to increase following impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic,” airport CEO Kim Day said in a statement. “It is an important milestone in our recovery process. We have implemented a number of measures to keep passengers and employees safe and look forward to welcoming international passengers once again.”
In addition to the airport requiring all passengers and employees to wear face masks, and installing two face mask vending machines to help with compliance, DIA has also implemented several other precautionary measures in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
More than 100 hand sanitizing stations have been installed in the “high-traffic” areas throughout the terminal, and disinfecting wipe dispensers have been placed at each gate for passengers to wipe down their space when boarding.
Additionally, TSA lines have been reconfigured to ensure safe distances between passengers, and plexiglass shields are currently being installed at TSA screening podiums to allow space between security officers and passengers. Other safety measures implemented include using floor tape where necessary to indicate safe distances to stand, disabling air hand dryers in the restrooms to reduce spreading germs, and closing food court seating on all three concourses.
Volaris last operated at DIA on March 31 with a flight to Mexico City. The airport’s last nonstop international flight was an Air Canada flight to Vancouver on April 1. The airport has not connected nonstop with another country for the past 75 days.
Non-essential travel to Mexico is suspended through July 21. As more international governments lift restrictions and demand for travel picks up, DIA officials anticipate resuming service to additional airlines.
Passenger volume at the airport has increased slightly in recent weeks, DIA reports. Compared with a similar period in 2019, passenger traffic was down by about 86% the week of May 18. The week before, traffic was down by nearly 90%.