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Salt Lake City International Airport

A Delta Air Lines commemorative 2002 Winter Olympics Boeing 777-200 at Salt Lake City International Airport during the winter.

Salt Lake City International Airport is a major public airport in Utah. A joint civil-military facility, it is located in western Salt Lake City, approximately four miles from the central business district. It is currently the only airport with commercial airline service in the Wasatch Front and its surrounding counties, except for a single daily commercial flight to and from Denver at the Provo, Utah airport, and is the closest commercial airport for more than 2.5 million people living in the area.[1] Additionally, the airport is within a 30 minute drive to nearly 1.3 million individual jobs.[2]

The airport is the fourth largest and westernmost hub for Delta Air Lines and a major hub for Delta Connection carriers SkyWest Airlines and Compass Airlines with over 300 daily departures, accounting for a 74.02% market share in 2011. Following Delta and Delta Connection, the remaining of the top five largest carriers serving the airport are Southwest Airlines (12.58% market share), United Airlines and United Express (4.55% market share), American Airlines and American Eagle (2.82% market share), and Frontier Airlines at (2.08% market share).[3]

A total of 21,016,686 passengers flew through Salt Lake City International Airport in 2010, representing a 2.81 % increase from 2009.[3] The airport currently ranks as the twenty-first busiest airport in the United States in terms of total passengers.[4] There were 362,654 recorded aircraft operations (takeoffs and landings) in 2010, representing approximately 994 operations per day. The airport currently ranks fifteenth busiest airport in the United States and twenty fourth in the world based on aircraft operations.[5]

As of June 2009, there were over 450 scheduled airline departures per day to 109 nonstop destinations throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico, as well as daily nonstop service to Paris. The airport currently has nonstop service to all of the top 45 destinations based on the U.S. Department of Transportation origin and destination survey.[6]

Salt Lake City International continues to be highly ranked for on time departures/arrivals and fewest flight cancellations among major US airports. The airport ranked 3rd for on time departures and 1st for on time arrivals as of October 2011.[4]

The airport is owned by Salt Lake City Corporation and is administered by the Salt Lake City Department of Airports. In addition, the city owns and operates two nearby airports, South Valley Regional Airport and Tooele Valley Airport.[7] The airport is financially self-sustaining with revenue generated from airline and passenger fees, concessions, vehicle parking, fuel, and leases for office and hangar space. It is the only major airport in the country with no outstanding debts.[8]

The airport began offering free Wi-Fi internet access in 2009.[9]



In 1911, a site for an air field was chosen in a location known as Basque Flats, named for Spanish-French sheep herders who worked the fields in the then desolate area of the Salt Lake Valley. A cinder-covered landing strip was created, far better than the small fields at the Utah State Fairpark, which had previously been used by aircraft visiting the city. The Great International Aviation Carnival was held the same year and brought aviation pioneers representing Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company and a team representing the Wright Brothers to Salt Lake City. World-famous aviator Glenn H. Curtiss brought his newly-invented Seaplane to the carnival, a type of airplane which had never been demonstrated to the public before. Curtiss took off from the nearby Great Salt Lake, awing the 20,000 spectators and making international headlines.[10]

For several years after its creation, the new field was used primarily for training and aerobatic flights rather than economic purposes. That would change in 1920, when the United States Postal Service began air mail service to Salt Lake City. The airport was expanded and hangars and other buildings began to appear. During the same year the airfield was given the name Woodward Field, named for John P. Woodward, a local aviator.[11]

In 1925, the postal service began awarding contracts to private companies. Western Air Express, the first private company to carry U.S. mail, began flying from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles via Las Vegas. Less than one year later, Western Air Express would begin flying passengers along the same route. Western Air Express later evolved into Western Airlines, which operated a large hub in Salt Lake City.[11]

Charles Lindbergh visited Woodward Field in 1927 drawing many spectators to see The Spirit of St. Louis. During the next few years, the airport would gain an additional runway, and would span over 400 acres (1.6 km ). In 1930, the airport was renamed Salt Lake City Municipal Airport.

The first official terminal and airport administration building was built in 1933 at a cost of $52,000. By then, United Airlines had also begun serving Salt Lake City as one of its stops between New York and San Francisco.

As air travel became more popular and the United States Air Force established a base at the airport during World War II, a third runway was added. The April 1957 OAG shows 42 weekday departures: 18 on Western, 17 United and 7 Frontier. A new terminal was needed and work began on the west side of the airport to build Terminal 1, which was dedicated in 1960 after seven years of work and a cost of $8 million.

In 1968, the airport was given its current name of Salt Lake City International Airport, when non-sop service to Calgary, Canada was awarded to Western Airlines.

Once airline deregulation occurred in 1978, the need for hub airports became prevalent. Western Airlines, which had ties to Salt Lake City since its inception, naturally chose the airport as one of its hubs and took advantage of its geographical location to connect passengers throughout the country. Terminal 2 was built solely for Western and featured several murals by artist LeConte Stewart.

During the 1980s, the airport saw further expansion to both terminals as well as runway extension. In 1987, Western Airlines merged with Delta Air Lines. Salt Lake City would continue to serve as a major airline hub and would continue to grow.

In 1991, the airport opened a new short-term parking garage. The airport opened a new runway in 1995 along with the International Terminal and E concourse for SkyWest Airlines. A new control tower, new approach control facility, and a new fire station were opened in 1999.

Concourse E was expanded in 2001 for additional gates. SkyWest Airlines opened its new maintenance hangar and training facility during the same year. In 2002, the airport saw heavy crowds as Salt Lake City welcomed over one million visitors for the Winter Olympics.

Recently, the airport has completed upgrading its main access roads and parking facilities in preparation for a new terminal. Additionally, the airport has completed several minor upgrades to the current airport terminals and concourses including the expansion of baggage claim facilities.

International service

In addition to domestic flights, Delta Air Lines and Frontier Airlines operate scheduled flights to cities in Canada, Mexico, Japan, and France. From 2006 through 2007, Air Canada operated by Air Canada Jazz offered nonstop service to Toronto. Aeromexico offered service from Salt Lake City to Hermosillo and Mexico City from 2002 through 2005. In November 2008, Aeromexico resumed nonstop service to Mexico City though service was once again unsuccessful. In June 2008, Delta Air Lines began daily nonstop service to Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport. This marked the first scheduled transatlantic route from Salt Lake City. In November 2008, Delta announced nonstop service to Narita International Airport near Tokyo, Japan, mostly as a result of Delta's merger with Northwest Airlines. The service commenced on June 3, 2009.[12] The nonstop service makes Tokyo the first city in Asia to receive nonstop service from Salt Lake City. From 2010 through 2011, the flights to Tokyo were seasonal from June 1 to October 23.[13] Delta currently has no plans to resume the route from Salt Lake City to Tokyo for Summer 2012.

Terminals, airlines and destinations

There are two passenger terminals at the airport consisting of five concourses with a total of 90 gates:

  • Terminal 1 houses Concourse A (gates A1-A8) and Concourse B (gates B1-B22).
  • Terminal 2 consists of Concourse C (gates C1-C13), Concourse D (gates D1-D13), and Concourse E (gates E60-E85). Facilities for the handling of international flights are located at gates D2, D4, and D6.

Various stores and restaurants are located throughout the terminals.[14][15]

A Delta Air Lines Boeing 767 in front of the Delta Hangar at Salt Lake City International Airport.

Top 10 domestic destinations (March 2011 - February 2012)[16]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Denver, CO 709,000 Delta, Frontier, Southwest, United
2 Phoenix, AZ 583,000 Delta, Southwest, US Airways
3 Atlanta, GA 508,000 Delta
4 Las Vegas, NV 478,000 Delta, Southwest
5 Los Angeles, CA 452,000 American, Delta, Southwest, United
6 Seattle, WA 380,000 Delta, Southwest
7 Dallas/Fort Worth, TX 309,000 American, Delta
8 Portland, OR 281,000 Delta, Southwest
9 New York, NY (JFK) 256,000 Delta, JetBlue
10 Minneapolis, MN 246,000 Delta

Other airport information

The airport spans over and has four runways. The runways are generally oriented in a NNW/SSE magnetic direction due to consistent prevailing winds in this direction.

Cargo operations

The airport handled 156,319 metric tonnes of cargo in 2008.[17]

Scheduled Cargo Operators:

General aviation

Despite being the nineteenth busiest airport in the world in terms of aircraft operations,[5] the airport still maintains a large general aviation presence. In 2008, 19% of aircraft movements at the airport came from general aviation traffic.[17] This is in contrast to most large airports, which encourage general aviation aircraft to use smaller or less busy airports in order to prevent delays to commercial traffic. The airport is able to effectively handle both commercial and general aviation traffic largely in part to the airport's layout and airspace structure. Nearly all general aviation operations are conducted on the east side of the airport, away from commercial traffic. Additionally, smaller and relatively slower general aviation aircraft arrive and depart the airport in ways which generally do not hinder the normal flow of arriving or departing commercial aircraft.

2007 data shows there are 388 general aviation aircraft based at the airport.[18] The airport has two Fixed Base Operators, both located on the east side of the airport. The airport has facilities for Air Ambulance, Law Enforcement, as well as state and federal government aircraft. Additionally, the airport is home to several flight training facilities, including one operated by Westminster College.

Military facilities

The Utah Air National Guard operates Salt Lake City Air National Guard Base on the east side of the airport. The host wing for the installation is the 151st Air Refueling Wing (151 ARW), an Air Mobility Command (AMC)-gained unit operating the KC-135R Stratotanker.

Additional facilities

An aerial view of Salt Lake International Airport and Wingpointe.
An aerial view of Salt Lake International Airport and Wingpointe.

Wingpointe, an 18 hole golf course, is located on the south end of the airport.[19]

Delta Air Lines has a maintenance facility at the airport where heavy-duty maintenance and inspections are performed. Delta also operates a call center for reservations and sales as well as regional corporate offices.

SkyWest Airlines opened a new maintenance and training facility at the airport in 2001 where the company has its largest maintenance base. It is also where training is conducted for pilots, flight attendants, and other employees.

United Airlines operates a call center located near the airport.

Boeing Aircraft Company operates a manufacturing plant at the airport which manufactures vertical stabilizers and horizontal stabilizers for the Boeing 787 as well as components for the Boeing 737.[20]

The airport and Salt Lake City Fire Department operate an Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) training facility located on the airport. The training facility has been used to train and certify thousands of fire fighters from departments all over the world, including Antarctica.

In addition to the Air Traffic Control Tower, TRACON is also located on the airport with the Salt Lake Air Route Traffic Control Center located adjacent to the airport. The Salt Lake ARTCC covers the largest geographical area in the continental United States and controls airspace as far north as the Canadian border.[21]


Salt Lake City International airport is directly responsible for the employment of over 13,000 people and indirectly provides over 100,000 jobs generating a $2.7 billion payroll. The airport contributed a $5.34 billion economic impact in 2004.[2]

April 30, 2008 marked a significant date for the airport, as it is now the only large hub airport in the U.S. to be debt free, having retired its remaining bonds, for a payout of nearly US$50 Million. This was done in response to spiking interest rates, but also put the Salt Lake Dept. of Airports in an excellent position for future expansion plans.[22]

Airport expansion

A revised master plan was released in May 2006 for the airport and is available for the public to view at the airport's website. Future plans call for runway 17/35 to be realigned to more precisely parallel runways 16L/34R and 16R/34L. Plans also call for runway 16L/34R to be lengthened to . Plans for a fourth parallel runway west of current 16R/34L are also shown but is more than fifteen years away.[23]

In addition to runway reconfigurations, the airport will construct a new terminal and two new concourses. Plans call for a single terminal with an attached concourse consisting of 31 mainline gates and an additional paralleling satellite concourse consisting of 15 mainline gates and 44 regional jet gates. The two concourses would be attached with an underground automated train. The existing terminal and concourses would be demolished and would leave room for additional expansion onto the two new concourses in the future.

Other plans call for a new parking garage and expanded cargo facilities. Construction of the Airport Line of the UTA TRAX light rail system from the airport to downtown began in October 2008, completion expected in 2013.[24]

In June 2010, the airport asked for public comments on the airport expansion as well as announcing the start of an environmental study of the master plan which had public hearings in the summer of 2011.[25] In February 2012, the airport announced that construction would likely begin in 2013, with completion slated for 2022. The expansion's details are deliberately being kept flexible to better adapt to changing conditions in the airline industry and are likely to change over the next 8-10 years. A top priority of the expansion will be to greatly increase airport buildings' resistance to earthquakes.[26]

A fire truck at Salt Lake City International Airport.

Notable incidents

  • On November 11, 1965, United Airlines Flight 227, operated with a Boeing 727, crashed just short of the runway at Salt Lake City International Airport, killing 43 of the 91 people on board.
  • On December 17, 1977, United Airlines Flight 2860, a cargo flight operated with a Douglas DC-8 crashed into a mountain near Kaysville while in a holding pattern prior to landing at Salt Lake City Int'l Airport. The crew was trying to figure out an electrical problem, and did not realize they were adjacent to a mountain. All three people on board were killed in the accident.
  • On October 14, 1989, Delta Air Lines Flight 1554, operated with a Boeing 727, caught fire during the boarding process for a flight to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada while the aircraft was parked at a gate. Of the twenty three people who were on the aircraft at the time, five sustained minor injuries. All passengers and crew evacuated, however the aircraft was destroyed. An investigation determined the fire started due to a malfunction with the passenger oxygen system.[28]

Popular culture

The 1974 film Airport 1975 was filmed at Salt Lake City International Airport.

In the 1994 comedy film Dumb and Dumber, Lloyd Christmas, portrayed by Jim Carrey, is seen running to gate B2 and falling off the jetway at Salt Lake City International Airport. Lloyd is also seen sliding across the floor to recover the brief case.

The airport was used for filming the scenes of the fictional Chicago Hoover International Airport in the 2006 film Unaccompanied Minors.

See also


External links

ar: de:Salt Lake City International Airport es:Aeropuerto Internacional de Salt Lake City fr:A roport international de Salt Lake City ko: id:Bandar Udara Internasional Salt Lake City it:Aeroporto Internazionale di Salt Lake City ja: pl:Port lotniczy Salt Lake City pt:Aeroporto Internacional de Salt Lake City ru: - - ( ) sr: sv:Salt Lake City International Airport vi:S n bay qu c t Th nh ph Salt Lake

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