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United Airlines will launch a Denver-to-Frankfurt flight on May 2. The route will be operated on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, pictured at Denver International Airport above. (Provided by Denver International Airport)

United Airlines is building out its international offerings from Denver, adding a year-round, daily flight to Germany beginning in May. 

The afternoon flight to Frankfurt will be operated on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner and begins May 2, pending government approval.

The route will be the third to Germany from Denver International Airport. Lufthansa already flies daily to Frankfurt and Munich. 

Both United and Lufthansa are part of the Star Alliance air-service partnership, which means they code-share flights. 

Lufthansa’s daily flight from Denver to Frankfurt leaves at 5:45 p.m. and is operated on a Boeing 747-400. The United flight will leave at 3:45 p.m. 

A Lufthansa Boeing 747-400 at Denver International Airport. (Provided by Denver International Airport)

Between the two flights, hundreds of passengers will be able to travel between the two cities each day and branch off into the extensive Star Alliance bank of destinations offered at each end.

“The key is there is two huge Star Alliance hubs on either end,” said Laura Jackson, Denver International Airport’s vice president of air service development. “If you look at the passenger profile of the Denver-Frankfurt flight today on Lufthansa, only 12 percent are traveling between Denver and Frankfurt.”

The rest, she said, are traveling onto another European destination, Africa or India.

The new United flight will also carry a slightly different passenger than the Lufthansa one, catering more to travelers connecting in the western U.S. from one of United’s domestic routes. 

“United is committed to expanding our global network for our customers and our employees and we are excited to continue this growth with the addition of new service between Denver and Frankfurt,” Patrick Quayle, United’s vice president of international network, said in a written statement.

United had for months been rumored to be considering an additional international destination from Denver. Within the past year it also added seasonal international service to London’s Heathrow Airport. 

The expansion can be attributed in large part to the 787, which has made long-haul travel more economical for airlines.

The new United route comes amid rapid growth in international service at DIA. This is the 10th international route added since September 2017.

MORE: How Denver International Airport lands international flights — and which destinations might be next

The new Frankfurt service included, DIA has 26 nonstop flights to international destinations.

Tickets for the new flight are available now on United’s website.


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Jesse Paul is a Denver-based political reporter and editor at The Colorado Sun, covering the state legislature, Congress and local politics. He is the author of The Unaffiliated newsletter and also occasionally fills in on breaking news coverage.

A Colorado College graduate, Jesse worked at The Denver Post from June 2014 until July 2018, when he joined The Sun. He was also an intern at The Gazette in Colorado Springs and The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware, his hometown.

Jesse has won awards for long form feature writing, public service reporting, sustained coverage and deadline news reporting.

Email: Twitter: @jesseapaul