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DIA is seeing 500 fewer flights a day because of COVID-19

There are typically 1,700 flights a day at Denver International Airport, but that's changed due to decreased demand.

DENVER — Denver International Airport is seeing 500 fewer flights a day due to the decreased demand that has accompanied the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

DIA spokesperson Alex Renteria said the airport typically has around 1,700 flights a day – meaning a dip of nearly 30%.

“Airlines have adjusted their operations to the steep decline in demand,” Renteria wrote in an email to 9NEWS.

> Watch the video above for an explanation of the importance of social distancing to "flatten the curve" amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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She said it is too early to speculate on a decrease in overall passenger volumes “due to the volatility the industry is currently experiencing.”

Colorado had its first confirmed COVID-19 case in early March. Passenger data for March will not be released to DIA until mid-April, Renteria said, and the airport likely won’t release that until the end of the month.

President Donald Trump has advocated for a bailout for the airline industry. The CEO of United Airlines said “massive layoffs” could be on the horizon without some sort of help from the federal government.

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DIA told 9NEWS that it has cash on hand for 500 days of operations, and that it has implemented a “variety of cost-saving measures” to address the decline in daily flights and revenue.

Though restaurants are closed for everything but takeout and delivery in the rest of the city of Denver, DIA is exempt because the airport said workers and visitors don’t have other options to pick up food.

The airport said it is working on implementing proper social distancing measures.

On this topic, we wondered what it would take to completely shut down an airport like DIA during a crisis, like the current pandemic, for example.

9NEWS aviation expert Greg Feith said that to would take the president imposing a travel ban, or a ban on domestic flight operations.

The order would come from the president and be enforced by the Federal Aviation Administration. Feith said the biggest impact this would likely have would be on the country's supply chain, because without cargo planes moving products, trucking and rail industries would become overloaded.

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