United Airlines Continues Denver Expansion With New Heartland Routes

Sep 3, 2019

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United Airlines continues to expand its hub in Denver with new service to Riverton and Sheridan in Wyoming from January.

The Star Alliance carrier will offer 17 weekly flights to Riverton (RIW) and Sheridan (SHR) in a circle pattern from Denver (DEN) beginning Jan. 12, according to Diio by Cirium schedule data. United regional partner SkyWest Airlines will operate the flights with Bombardier CRJ200 aircraft.

In addition, United will move flights between Denver and Williston, North Dakota, to the new Williston Basin International Airport (XWA) on Oct. 10. United’s existing schedule of four daily round-trip flights currently operates to Williston’s Sloulin Field (ISN).

Williston Basin will address operational issues at Sloulin Field when it opens. The latter has fallen behind current FAA design standards standards for the larger regional jets Delta Air Lines and United operate to Williston, and for the larger business jets that frequent the airport, according to the Williston Basin project website.

Related: The 8 Best Credit Cards for Flying United


Construction of the terminal at the new Williston Basin International Airport that opens on Oct. 10. (Photo courtesy of Williston Basin International Airport)
Construction of the terminal at the new Williston Basin International Airport that opens on Oct. 10. (Photo courtesy of Williston Basin International Airport)


Williston is the primary airport serving the Bakken Formation, which is a major driver of North Dakota’s oil and gas boom in recent years.

Delta will also move to the new Williston airport on Oct. 10, airline spokeswoman Susannah Thurston tells TPG. Flights to the airport will go on sale this weekend.

Riverton and Sheridan are the latest in a long line of subsidized destinations United has added from Denver since 2017. The cities are part of the US Department of Transportation’s Essential Air Service program.

Since 2017, United has added subsidized service to nearly a dozen destinations from Denver. Cities include Flagstaff in Arizona, Moab in Utah, and Pueblo in Colorado.

Related: Snapshot: A Look at United Airlines by the Numbers

United is growing its Denver hub to boost higher-revenue connecting traffic. The airline is on-track to operate an average of 450 daily departures from the airport this year, compared to an average of 409 daily departures in 2018, Diio data shows.

Based on daily departures, Denver is United’s third largest hub after Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and Houston Intercontinental (IAH).

United plans to grow system capacity by 3-4% year-over-year in 2019, and by 4-6% in 2020.

Featured image by Shutterstock.

Related: Bye, Bye Continental: United Officially Drops Continental Name


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