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Sugar House Journal

Airport reconstruction project on schedule for 2020

Jul 30, 2018 15h34 ● By Travis Barton

Airport officials say the new airport design will allow for easier access to passengers. (Photo courtesy Salt Lake International Airport)

By Lana Medina | [email protected]

Just two years from now, Utahns will see a brand new Salt Lake International Airport opening.

A construction project that has been decades in the making is underway at the airport, as crews are working to build a new parking garage, central terminal and a new north and south concourse. 

“One of the biggest milestones was in May,” said Nancy Volmer, the airport public relations director. “That’s when one of the final steel beams went up.”

Why build a new airport?

When the Salt Lake International Airport was first built in the 1960s, it was designed for 10 million passengers per year. But now, more than 60 years later, the airport serves more than 24 million passengers annually, and that number is increasing.

Volmer says with the current design, only one plane can take off at a time, and the airport wasn’t built for a hub operation.

“There’s congestion on the curb side, there’s congestion on the gate side,” Volmer explained. “There’s not enough seating for passengers waiting for their flights.”

Who is paying for the new airport?

“No local taxpayer dollars are being spent on the airport,” Volmer said.

For the $3.6 billion reconstruction project, the airport is relying on several major areas of funding:

41.3 percent - Future bonds to pay for the remaining cost

23 percent - 2017 revenue bonds issued by the airport

14.8 percent - Airport savings

11.5 percent - Passenger facility charges

4.9 percent - Rental car facility charges

4.5 percent - Federal grants

Volmer says one of the primary reasons why the Salt Lake International Airport is able to fund the reconstruction project without local taxpayer assistance is because the airport has been saving for this project since the 1990s. 

“People who use the airport are helping pay for this redevelopment. Passenger user fee, the airlines, the car rental user fees,” Volmer said. 

Future Changes

One of the biggest changes that will push the Salt Lake International Airport into the spotlight is security. The new airport will have state of the art equipment for security screening to help cut down on wait times and limit the hassle as passengers try to make their flights.

The entire design of the airport is focused on making it easier for passengers, Volmer explained.

“You can check your bag, print your boarding pass, go through security, and you won’t have to go up and down levels. It (will be) convenient for passengers,” Volmer said.

Some other major improvements include:

·      A larger parking garage able to fit up to 3,600 vehicles, with separate areas for drop off and pick up.

·      Separate arrival and departure levels

·      On-site car rental pick-up and drop-off counters

·      Tech friendly with more locations to plug in electronics

·      More shopping and dining

What is Phase 2?

Phase 1 is expected to be completed by Fall 2020, and then construction will begin on Phase 2, which includes building the north and south concourses on the east side, the demolition of concourses B, C and D, and the demolition of the International Terminal. 

For more information about the Airport Reconstruction project, visit