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As you can see in the airport diagram the runways are very separated from the terminals: denverint'l

I've found a similar question about Schiphol runways and one of them is very separated because of the noise. But at Denver Airport there are no towns or cities near the runways so, what could be the reason?

Source

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FAA has published Advisory Circular 150/5300-13A, Airport Design, which includes recommendations for parallel runway separation for US airports.

It summarises:

Quadruple simultaneous precision instrument approaches are currently under study by the FAA. In the interim, the FAA, on a case-by-case basis, will consider proposals utilizing separations down to a minimum of 5,000 feet (1524 m). Quadruples may require special radar, monitoring equipment, etc.

Simultaneous non-radar departures require a parallel runway centerline separation of at least 3,500 feet (1067 m), and Simultaneous radar departures at least 2,500 feet (762 m).

Back to the case, Denver airport is one of the busiest airports in terms of aircraft movements. It needs 6+ runways to support 550K aircraft movements every year. However, the more runways an airport has, the higher the chance air routes will interfere with each other. More separation between runways (and thus the terminals) can reduced distributions.

In fact the airport masterplan (PDF) shows that the operator is planning to build runways further separated from the terminals.

PS1: Denver is not the only case. Many mega airports have been built or are planned to be built with runways far from the terminal buildings, including Dallas/Fort Worth, Washington Dulles, Houston George Bush, as well as Dubai Al Maktoum Airport, Seoul Incheon airport and Shanghai Pudong airport.

PS2: Even though built in less populated area, Denver airport still have noise issues. More details can be seen here and there.

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    $\begingroup$ The 34's don't have the separation to do simultaneous ILS approaches to both of them at once (simultaneous visual approaches, yes), so DEN is currently limited to triple simultaneous ILS's -- to 35L, 35R, and one of the 34's. (Same limit landing south.) Which is still a pretty nice capability. LAX can only do 2 ILS's simultaneously, for instance. $\endgroup$ – Ralph J Feb 15 '16 at 3:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Him and what happens with airports that have their runways very close to each other, like Gatwick? $\endgroup$ – kepler22b Feb 17 '16 at 20:05
  • $\begingroup$ @kepler22b You can see #fooot comment. I am not sure VMC but for IMC only one runway can be used, mainly 08R/26L in Gatwick. If Gatwick airport expansion project were approved, 08L/26R would be likely downgraded to taxiway. $\endgroup$ – Him Feb 18 '16 at 0:26

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