Salt Lake is known for its accessibility and the remarkable speed and ease with which visitors can get from the airport to downtown, or onto the ski slopes to click into boots within 90 minutes of touching down on the tarmac. And as soon as next Fall, getting to Utah’s capital city will be even faster, easier and sleeker with the opening of the new Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) next September, the first new hub airport to be built in the U.S. in the 21st century.
Salt Lake already offers a rare combination of a dynamic dining and nightlife scene, a thriving downtown arts core with dance, classical music and Broadway-style theater, as well as the Utah Jazz. It’s also just a 40-minute drive from downtown Ski City to Alta, Brighton, Snowbird and Solitude, four of the greatest resorts in the country, each one averaging 500” or more of “The Greatest Snow On Earth” each winter.
It’s important to note that Salt Lake City International Airport is not simply being redeveloped. Rather, SLC is in the midst of a complete $3.6 billion rebuild, paid for by the airport’s self-sustaining fund that uses no taxpayer dollars. Developed by the Salt Lake City Department of Airports with a design by HOK architects, Phase One—the South Concourse—is scheduled to open one year from now, on September 15, 2020. Phase Two—the North Concourse—is set to open in 2024.
The new airport promises to be a game changer for a growing and thriving Salt Lake. Not only will the New SLC offer efficient arrivals and departures, the expansive light-filled terminal will offer dramatic views of the towering Wasatch Mountains, great food and cutting-edge retail, making the airport an extension of the overall Salt Lake, and Utah, experience. And the new Utah Transit Authority TRAX station at the South Concourse terminal will make it a breeze to get into downtown Salt Lake.
SLC currently serves more than 25 million passengers a year, relying on facilities that were designed 50 years ago to serve half as many travelers (yet it still ranks as one of the most on-time airports for arrivals and departures every year). Security requirements have radically changed, buildings must now meet rigorous earthquake safety standards, and SLC has become an increasingly busy hub for both domestic and international flights. The 25.5 million passengers that arrived in 2018 represented a 6 percent increase from the year before, with more than one million of those passengers on international flights. International flights are expected to increase and the new facility will have six international gates and an expanded customs area.
The New SLC Airport began redevelopment in July of 2014 and will encompass 296.7 acres, amidst a total acreage of 7,800. The new terminal will have four million square feet of new footage and a 45-foot floor-to-ceiling glass wall with views of the surrounding mountains. It will house both the North Concourse and the South Concourse, which tunnels will connect. The baggage system will be six miles long and each of the 78 gates will have jet bridges, making departures and arrivals much faster. The new parking garage will be the size of three football fields and have 3,600 parking stalls, twice the current number, and all rental car facilities will remain on site.
Dining options at the New SLC will include existing eateries such as Cafe Rio, Market Street Grill, Smashburger and Squatters as well as newcomers like Fillings & Emulsions, Granatos, Pago, Panera Bread, Silver Diner and Shake Shack. All restaurants will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. There will be 29 stores opening in the first phase, including Coach, Frye, King’s English, Hip & Humble and MAC.
Visit Salt Lake City International Airport for more details.