The country's top "on-time airport" is getting a facelift. In fact, it's getting a new face entirely. Salt Lake City is building a new airport in the current location of its 50-year-old Salt Lake City International Airport. The new airport is being built in two phases, the first to be completed in mid-2020, and the second to be done in 2024.
The New SLC International Airport features one central terminal and security checkpoint with separate arrival and departure levels, easy wayfinding and moving walkways, spacious gate areas with plenty of seating, more shops and restaurants, areas to charge and connect devices via Wi-Fi, baggage claim on the same level as the parking garage entrance, onsite car rental pickup and return, and the UTA Airport TRAX line (light rail) adjacent to the terminal entrance, according to Dee Brewer, executive director at Salt Lake's Downtown Alliance. In addition, the concourses’ gates can accommodate larger planes, enabling more non-stop service to long-haul international destinations. The new airport is being built with the ultimate goal of attaining LEED Gold Certification, Brewer adds.
"The SLC International Airport served more than 25 million passengers in 2018 in facilities designed to handle half that number of passengers and was constructed 50 years ago," says Brewer. "In addition, security needs are vastly different from when the airport was originally constructed, and the buildings no longer meet earthquake safety standards."
The only aspect of the current airport to remain upon completion are the existing runways. The airport is six miles from downtown Salt Lake City and a 10-15 minute drive from Salt Palace Convention Center, which will have a new convention hotel adjacent to it. With the new hotel and airport, Salt Lake City is anticipating a great increase in demand for meetings and events.
"Every planner, whether focusing on a small meeting or massive citywide convention, needs a destination that provides the basics: easy accessibility, proven venues, great value, and interesting activities, dining and nightlife within walking distance. Salt Lake excels in all those regards," says Senior Vice President of Sales for Visit Salt Lake, Mark White.
White says SLC International Airport serves all major U.S. airlines, and for more than 10 years, they have been the nation's #1 on-time airport. The Salt Palace is one of the west's largest, most sustainable and most technologically advanced centers, and it served as the media headquarters for the 2002 Olympic Games, he adds.
"The Corporate Travel Index consistently ranks Salt Lake as the most affordable major destination in the western U.S.," White says. "Forbes Magazine has ranked Utah the best place to conduct business numerous times in recent years."
With more than 200 restaurants, bars and brewpubs all within walking distance, it's no wonder Salt Lake City is getting so much attention. White says there's admission-free historical and cultural attractions within a few blocks of the convention center, too.
"But what gives Salt Lake our soul is the jaw-dropping mountain scenery that surrounds the city and the extraordinarily friendly people who welcome and serve the visitors," White says.