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New Salt Lake City International Airport opens for business


Today at 4am local time, Salt Lake City Department of Airports (SLCDA) turned the key and opened the first phase of The New SLC Airport.

As the lights dimmed on the existing airport, the lights brightened on a new parking garage, gateway centre, central terminal and Concourse A-west.

Delta Air Lines will occupy the 25 gates in Concourse A-west, including six international gates.

In six weeks, Concourse B-west will open with 20 gates for Alaska, American, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest and United airlines.

“This day has been years in the making,” said Bill Wyatt, SLCDA executive director. “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.”

The need to build a new SLC airport became apparent as passenger numbers grew and facilities became outdated. Prior to the pandemic, SLC recorded more than 26 million passengers in 2019, in an airport that was built for 10 million passengers.

The advantages of building an entirely new airport is that the architects were able to design for the future to create a more efficient and more sustainable facility.

The new concourses are designed in a parallel configuration – compared to the current pier layout – which will eliminate aircraft bottlenecks and idling, so airlines are able to get their planes to the gate and back in the air quicker.

SLCDA also built the new facilities with LEED Gold Certification from the US Green Building Council in mind. The airport achieved this certification through a variety of ways, such as converting all airline ground service equipment to electric. Plus, the use of natural light will also help to achieve the airport’s energy goals.

Additional highlights of the $4.1 billion airport include the following:

– A two-level roadway system with an elevated road designated for departures.

– A parking garage with 3,600 parking stalls and a camera-based sensor system that uses lights to indicate where open spots are located. Plus, 56 places to charge electronic vehicles.

–  16 security screening lanes with automatic return bins to aid in touchless travel.

– 7 miles of luggage conveyor belts to accommodate oversized bags, such as skis, snowboards, bike boxes and golf clubs.

–  The Greeting Room – a large area that can accommodate 300 to 400 individuals – where friends, families and others can wait to pick up passengers once physical distancing measures are no longer in place.

– Large-scale art installations by artist Gordon Huether – The Canyon, The Falls, The Plates and Benches— to represent Utah’s natural beauty and provide a sense of place.

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