Passengers spent more than $300 million last year on Denver International concessions. Why it matters.

Concessionaires at Denver International had a record-setting revenue year in 2015. Photo: Denver International Airport. 

Concessionaires at Denver International had a record-setting revenue year in 2015. Photo: Denver International Airport. 

Concessionaires at Denver International Airport made $335.7 million in gross revenue in 2015, or about $12.43 per departing passenger, the airport said earlier this month. 

Why should we care?

While this is not a huge deal for passengers, it may affect them indirectly. Denver is one of many airports investing in its concessions program, and it is doing it for a couple of reasons. First, it wants to be passenger friendly. And second, it wants to increase its revenues and make more money. 

The making more money thing is important. Airports are not your typical for-profit businesses, so it's not like Denver International is returning its portion of the increased revenues to shareholders. When airports make money, they usually do one of two things. They invest it back into the facility. Or they lower rates and charges for airlines. And if an airline is paying less money in rent, Denver hopes that carrier will be more willing to drop ticket prices, or perhaps more willing to start new flights. 

Denver International said its cut of the revenues from last year was about $57.6 million. An additional $12.3 million in sales tax revenue went to the city and county of Denver. 

In the future, Denver International CEO Kim Day said last year, the airport is going to try to make even more revenue from passengers. The goal is to for the airport to come up with more ways get travelers to spend money.

"Our goal is to empty our pockets and to do that we are going to surprise and delight you," she said. 

What do you think of Denver's strategy?