An important gateway to the western US has a lot to celebrate as Salt Lake City’s beautiful new terminal, dubbed “The New SLC,” has opened in the midst of a global pandemic. Salt Lake City (SLC) unveiled the first phase of its new 4-million square-foot terminal complex in September with a second concourse opening a month later to great fanfare. Construction for the new airport began in 2014. When all phases of the facilities are complete, the airport will be able to accommodate 34 million travelers annually as SLC sets its sights on future growth far beyond the world of COVID-19 and the outmoded 50year old facility it replaces.
SLC is an important hub for Delta Air Lines, and this significant upgrade over the airport’s original facilities – most of which will soon be demolished – was a much-needed enhancement even before the days of coronavirus. Part of the old terminal complex required passengers traveling on regional jets to walk outside to the plane exposing them to cold temperatures and precipitation in chillier months. Now, all gates have jet bridges (although there are some gates for regional aircraft where a shuttle drives travelers from the terminal to the plane).
On opening day, Bill Wyatt, the airport’s executive director, said, “To say we are excited to be here today is an understatement. After six years of construction and many more years of planning, we are proud to open the first new US hub airport in the 21st century.”
As the first entirely new hub airport facility to open, SLC is already prepared for the next stages of growth. Additional phases in the airport’s development, which will be implemented based on demand, include the option to add more gates to the concourse buildings for further expansion.
The airport was built without using any local tax dollars, and instead relied on the airport’s own revenue as well as funding from passenger facility charges (fees typically tacked onto an airline ticket), bonds and federal grants.
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