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DIA's Often-Busted Escalators Are Contractor's Fault, Airport Says

DENVER (CBS4) - Officials blamed the often-broken escalators at Denver International Airport on a contractor who didn't meet expectations.

As many as 40 escalators at DIA have been out of service at once. Another one went out of service when CBS4 was investigating the problem on Friday.

"(The contractor) didn't have the same level of performance expectations, and just wasn't meeting the standard that we would expect to keep all these different parts and pieces of equipment up and running," DIA spokeswoman Stacey Stegman said.

That contractor, KONE, had serviced the escalators since DIA opened in 1995.

She also said the age of some of the escalators, at 20 years old, is to blame, too.

"What we're finding now is some of the parts weren't available. We're actually having to custom-make and fabricate parts so that we can make these repairs," Stegman said.

The contractor, KONE, in a statement said: "KONE worked diligently to maintain more than 280 elevators, escalators and autowalks, keeping the equipment in good working order and minimizing disruption to customers."

The delays are frustrating some frequent fliers, especially since stairs are available only for emergencies.

"The security here moves very slow. So it doesn't matter how much time you give to get to your gate, you're constantly rushing. So when the escalators are down or moving walkways are down, it adds a lot of stress," Paul Kocel said.

Stegman said she is optimistic the new company, which started Sept. 1, will fix the problem.

"It's not an ideal situation, and we know that we have to get it handled quickly," she said.

DIA said the new company should have the replacement parts in place in about two weeks. By then, they think they will have a permanent fix.


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