United Airlines Acquires Land Near DIA to Expand Pilot Training

United expands role as Denver's most flown airline. Photo credit: PR Newswire.

According to the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), United Airlines has purchased 113 acres of undeveloped land at 17671 E. 64th Ave. in Denver to expand its Flight Training Center. The project is expected to create 240 new jobs in Colorado. According to the Denver Post, United paid $33 million for the parcel of land.

The announcement comes just over a year after United shared it was investing more than $100 million to expand its Denver-based Flight Training Center. The expansion shared in 2022 was to construct a new four-story building and add 155,000 square feet to United’s 23-acre campus.

“The expansion of United Airlines’ Flight Training Center is an extraordinary continuation of United’s commitment to Denver,” said the President of the Metro Denver EDC, Raymond H. Gonzales. “It will serve as an exceptional pipeline for our region’s talent and a catalyst for growth within the already-thriving aviation industry in Colorado. Over the past five years, we’ve seen employment in Colorado’s aviation industry increase by almost 18%, and this expansion of United’s training center will help fill this growing market with talented pilots and professionals.”

The United facility expansion will be built on land provided by L.C. Fulenwider, Inc. “We at L.C. Fulenwider, Inc. are delighted to support the growth of United’s flight training operations in Denver and welcome them to our development at Pena Station. Our partnership with United Airlines, which is already the biggest employer in Denver, builds upon our history of successful projects with forward-thinking collaborators who bolster the economic base of the Denver Community,” said the Chairman and CEO of L.C. Fulenwider Inc., Cal Fulenwider.

The expansion of United’s Flight Training Center is projected to create 240 jobs with an average annual wage of $186,500, which is 208% of the average annual wage in Denver County. The new positions from this expansion would include flight instructors, simulation technicians and engineers to the training facility.

“By expanding flight training in Denver, United Airlines will create 240 new, good-paying jobs and continue a partnership that has benefited Colorado’s economy for decades. Through their longstanding commitment to our state, United employs 11,000 Coloradans and contributes to robust flight service in and out of Denver International Airport, making it the third busiest airport in the country. DEN and United Airlines provide unparalleled access to domestic and global markets alike for businesses and tourists, making Colorado an attractive destination for all travelers,” said Michelle Hadwiger, director of global business development at the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

United has shown repeatedly that it is invested in Colorado. In May of this year, the airline announced it would add 35 flights, six new routes, a dozen gates and three clubs to Denver International Airport as part of a $1 billion investment plan. This summer, United also stated it would double the total number of early morning departures and late evening arrivals in and out of Denver. United is the only U.S. airline with trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific service from Denver, offering destinations including London, Frankfurt, Munich and Tokyo.

“We are grateful to be home to United’s Flight Training Center – and we are absolutely thrilled about this expansion,” said J. J. Ament, president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. “United is not just connecting us to the world, but they give flight to our economic competitiveness through their investments in our people and our community. As one of United’s million-mile flyers, it makes me immensely proud to know that each United pilot, wherever I am in the world, received training right here in Denver.”

The Colorado Economic Development Commission approved up to $3,790,995 in performance-based Job Growth Incentive Tax Credits for United Airlines over an eight-year period. These incentives are contingent upon the company, referred to as Project Spectra throughout the OEDIT review process, meeting net new job creation and salary requirements.

The Metro Denver EDC and OEDIT are excited to have played a role in helping United choose Denver for this expansion.

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