Did you know that DIA airlines pay a Florida company $3 million to lobby for their interests?

Now you do.
2 min. read
Planes taxi at Denver International Airport, July 19, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Maybe it seems weird that Denver International Airport would hire a company to lobby on behalf of its airlines, but DIA officials say the airlines pick up the tab and that it's necessary to keep things operating smoothly.

On Monday, the Denver City Council approved a $3 million contract with AvAirPros, a Florida-based consultancy, to represent the collective interests of its 26 airlines. AvAirPros will bill DIA for the duration of the contract, which is a little under three years, but the airlines will cover the costs with gate fees and other charges.

The liaisons keep an open line between DIA executives and airlines, said George Karayiannakis, vice president of airline affairs at DIA. AvAirPros is responsible for a long list of tasks, according to the contract, from monitoring DIA projects like its gate expansion and Great Hall renovation tasks to making sure bathrooms are being cleaned often enough if that's what a given airline needs.

Major airports typically have a point person to rep its airlines, even if the airports don't have massive projects going on like the Great Hall makeover or the gate expansion.

"I think the liaison is always necessary," Karayiannakis said. "I think airports that have large capital projects typically have these technical resources, and I think even if we didn't have the Great Hall, we would still have this liaison officer."

AvAirPros does not necessarily speak for the companies in the event of a dispute between DIA and the airlines, Karayiannakis said. While liaisons are privy to those things, the airlines will let DIA know how they feel with or without a middleman.

DIA has paid AvAirPros about $1.3 million over the years, starting in 2013, according to city finance records. The contract more than doubled because more capital projects are being carried out at the airport, like the Great Hall renovation.

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