Is the Denver airport called DIA or DEN?

Go to the website of any major airline. Type in the name of our airport — you know, D-I-A.

Denver International Airport's iconic demonic horse, known as Blucifer. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)dia; denver international airport; blucifer; public art; denver; denverite; colorado; kevinjbeaty

Go to the website of any major airline. Type in the name of our airport — you know, D-I-A.

What do you get? NOTHING. Southwest, United and Delta have no idea where DIA is.

That’s because the official abbreviation of Denver International Airport is DEN. It’s all over their official branding.

See? (Please don't sue me DEN)
See? (Please don’t sue me, Denver International Airport)

But I’m not going to say that DIA is *not* the airport’s name. Locals have called it that for decades — I found examples in the Denver Post archive as far back as 1991, two years before the airport was opened.

I asked Heath Montgomery, airport spokesman.

DIA has “been part of our brand identity for a long time. I think it started when the airport was under development,” he said.

But also: “Our official brand is DEN, because our airport code forever has been KDEN. Really, the only people who call us DIA are the local audience.”

But with that being said, you’ll still catch the letters D-I-A on some marketing material, and they really don’t mind if you call them DIA.

Says the website: “At home, you can still call us DIA or you can choose to call us DEN, whichever you prefer.”


Andrew Kenney

Author: Andrew Kenney

Andrew Kenney writes about public spaces, Denver phenomena and whatever else. He previously worked for six years as a reporter at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. His most prized possession is his collection of bizarre voicemail. Leave him one at 303-502-2803, or email