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United Airlines announced today that it is purchasing 113 acres of land in Denver for $33 million to expand its pilot training and other operations. The Chicago-based carrier is acquiring two parcels of land, including one outside of Denver International Airport (DEN) with access to its Flight Training Center.
United is Denver’s largest employer. It has around 10,000 employees and flies over 400 daily flights from Denver, which is the most of any airline (despite the marketing efforts of Southwest Airlines to claim otherwise). Reuters reports that United was asked about a potential move for its corporate headquarters and the airline was coy in its reply.
Per Reuters, United said:
The land in Denver gives us options for the future as we implement our big plans to grow. Beyond that, it’s prudent for any large company to take advantage of opportunities to buy land in its key cities when the opportunity arises – so we didn’t want to miss this opportunity in Denver.”
United’s CEO has homes in both Texas and Colorado, so a potential move would make it easier for him to work on-site. Denver has been a key part of United’s growth with tons of flights added and investments made to United Clubs℠, the airline’s United Club℠ Fly grab-and-go lounge concept (review here), and a Polaris® lounge in the near future. If United Airlines left Illinois, it would not be the first company to recently depart the Windy City. Boeing announced it was moving its headquarters to Arlington, VA in May 2022 and Caterpillar also recently shifted operations from Deerfield, IL to a Dallas, TX suburb.
Anthony’s Take: It will be interesting to see what United does with its land purchase and if it does someday move operations to Denver.
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