New Salt Lake airport expected to be complete by 2024

by Jenniffer WARDELL

BOUNTIFUL—Utah is getting a new way to fly the friendly skies.

Visitors to the Salt Lake Airport may have noticed the construction occurring next door, but they might not know that it’s a brand new, completely redesigned airport set to be completed in 2024. Jasen Asay, public relations manager for the Salt Lake City Department of Airports, recently gave the Bountiful Rotary a look at the plans for the airport’s new home.

“Our airport was built about 50 years ago to handle 10 million passengers,” said Asay. “Last year, we had more than 24 million passengers. Utah’s long overdue for a new airport.”

The department has been planning for this new building for several years, and is paying for it through a combination of savings, bonds, money from fees and a grant from TSA. There is one element, however, that didn’t make the list.

“No taxpayer money is being used,” he said.

The airport will be completed in phases, with the first set to be completed in 2020 and the second by 2024. When it’s completed, the new airport will be able to handle both more passengers and more flights. The total number of gates will be increased, and all gates will have jet bridges (which is not the case at the current airport). There will also be more international gates, and the parking garage will be much larger.

“We’ll have 3,600 stalls,” he said. “That’s twice the size of the current garage.”

The format of the terminals will change, moving from a more hand-like positioning to two side-by-side terminals connected by moving walkways. The change, said Asay, should reduce the amount of times landed planes have to wait before they can taxi to the gate.

“It will give the planes more room to maneuver,” he said.

The entrance of the airport will now be three levels high, and will be designed to ease the flow of both those arriving at and leaving the airport.

“You’ll drop people off on the third floor, and pick them up on the ground floor,” he said. “The security checkpoint will be on the second floor.”

Also included in the new airport will be a meeter-greeter room, where families can wait for loved ones returning home. Officials designed the room in order to improve the flow of traffic to the baggage claim, and avoid situations like the recent traveler who heard screaming coming from the arrivals area and became concerned.

“She ran to the police area thinking it was an active shooter,” he said. “The police told her it was just a family welcoming their missionary back.”

All of the buildings will be energy efficient, and there will be large banks of windows that lets visitors look at the mountains. The entire aesthetic of the building will also reflect the state’s great outdoors.

“We were told by a lot of people that they wanted the beauty of Utah to be reflected in the airport,” said Asay. “We want people who walk into our airport to know they’re in Utah.”

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