Big passenger gains from Salt Lake City makeover.

by Jerome Greer Chandler
1006
September 04, 2018
Salt lake city airport recdevelopment
A rendering of the airport redevelopment. Image: SLC.

It’s been 50 years—five full decades—since Salt Lake City International Airport got more than a mere makeover.

Now, that’s about to change.

Delta Air Lines’ pivotal western hub is getting a full-blown $US3.6-billion blitz of a rebuild.

Phase One is set for a 2020 debut. The last of the massive project is set to come online four years later.

The terminal layout will be the soul of simplicity: a large central terminal connected via an underground passenger terminal to a pair of linear concourses. This arrangement will replace the present geriatric terminal.

The new facility is set to move both passengers and aircraft about more efficiently. A case-in-point is that most up and down movements via escalator will be eliminated, making the terminal easier and quicker to navigate.

The efficiency theme carries through to the tarmac. Salt Lake City airport (SLC) says the new concourses will eliminate aircraft parking bottlenecks, allowing airlines to get their aircraft to the gate and back into the air faster than they’re able now. The bottom line for passengers is fewer delays.

The Salt Lake City Department of Airports says the US$3.6-billion rebuild is being paid for entirely through user fees, primarily by the airlines. Salt Lake City International contends, “Even after the project is complete, SLC will have a significantly lower cost per passenger than other major US .” This matters much to continually cost-conscious carriers.”

READ: Luggage fees soar as airline bagmen strike.

A bit of context: SLC as we know it today is the product of the 1987 merger of Delta and Western Airlines, a classy major airline that fell prey to the merger mania that swept the airline industry in the late 1980s.

Currently, Delta commands some 70 percent of the 370 daily scheduled departures. The airport lofts nonstop flights to almost 98 cities.

Delta can fly you nonstop from Salt Lake City to London and Paris. KLM flies nonstop to Amsterdam.

When the airport’s spacious new terminal and complex become a reality (workers recently “topped out” construction of the project’s first phase) international market access should get a boost, opening up even more connections alternatives—especially for flyers used to arch-rival Denver International.

DEN lies a mere 391 air miles to the East, over the Rocky and Wasatch mountain ranges.