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Salt Lake Takes Off

Located just 4 miles west of its namesake’s downtown, Salt Lake City International Airport is the closest commercial airport for more than 2.5 million people. The airport is the 21st largest in the U.S. by operations but the fourth-largest hub for Delta Airlines. After years of planning, the debt-free airport launched its $1.8 billion redevelopment plan July 18.

The current International Terminal is one of three at Salt Lake City International Airport. The airport earned its “international” credential in 1968 when Western Airlines began flying to Calgary, Alberta. Delta Airlines, which merged with Western, now provides nonstop service to Paris from the terminal.

Salt Lake City International Airport plans to complete its new terminal in stages, reaching the halfway point in 2019 and completion in 2022. The new terminal is designed to eliminate airplane parking bottlenecks and allow faster turnaround times. The new terminal will operate on three levels, with one designated exclusively for customs and international travel.

Salt Lake City International Airport’s Terminal 1 houses all airlines except Delta. Under the redevelopment plan, three terminals will be combined into one, improving the airport’s function as a Delta hub.

Architects envision a design for the new Salt Lake City Airport terminal that reflects the state’s natural surroundings, including wood, stone and copper with tall walls and large windows providing views of the mountains. Readily available electrical outlets, USB ports and Wi-Fi are also important elements.

Concourses at the new terminal at Salt Lake City International Airport will be designed for easier connections between flights. The design features natural elements and lighting. The new terminal will also be built to withstand earthquakes.

Utah Transit Authority’s Trax light rail depot at the airport began service April 14, 2013. Under the $1.8 billion plan to redevelop the airport, the Trax station will have to be relocated.

Salt Lake City now has three terminals that were developed before the airport became a major hub. The reconfiguration of the current three terminals into one is designed to make Delta’s hub operations more efficient, airport officials say.

The layout of the new terminal is designed to reduce turnaround times for aircraft and ease connections for passengers.

The Federal Aviation Administration estimates that between 2013 and 2017 projects eligible for federal Airport Improvement Projects funds will amount to $42.5 billion. That represents about a 19% decrease from the projection two years earlier.

Airport executive director Maureen Riley (center) joins officials and business leaders at groundbreaking for the $1.8 billion redevelopment on July 18. Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker (third from right) said the redesign of the airport will improve operational and environmental efficiency.

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