Image courtesy of slcairport.com
Whether you’re visiting Park City for Spring Break, or planning a vacation after the resorts close, you’re cleared for takeoff at the new SLC International Airport.
Stunning architecture, museum-quality artwork, couture shopping, and five-star dining. These amenities likely conjure thoughts of London, Paris, or New York City — not commercial air travel. But believe it or not, they’re also fitting ways to describe the new Salt Lake City International Airport.
Lauded as a “cathedral to transportation,” Phase I of the country’s newest airport opened in September of 2020 after 25 years of planning and over three years of construction. Topping out at over four million square feet and a $4 billion price tag, it’s the largest public works project in the history of Utah. And unlike most airport projects, SLC didn’t opt for a remodel or piecemeal addition. Instead, it’s a new construction project that completely replaces the old airport — which was built over 50 years ago and designed to handle only 13 million travelers a year — half of the 26 million flyers it had been serving in recent years.
The new SLC International Airport is more efficient, sustainable, modern, and safer (think earthquake-proof). The linear design — with one central terminal and two concourses that run parallel to each other — is considered the gold standard for hub airports, allowing different sized aircraft to arrive and depart throughout the day. As a bonus, the linear design also allows for easy future expansion at the ends of the concourses; a buildout that would accommodate over 34 million travelers a year.
Other noticeable improvements include:
- A grand area called “The Plaza” that boasts 50-foot, floor-to-ceiling windows ushering in views of the Wasatch Mountains
- Parking garage featuring 3,600 stalls, twice the number available in the old space
- All-electric baggage system featuring over seven miles of conveyor belts built to accommodate skis, snowboards, bicycles and other large items
- 31 escalators, 32 moving walkways, and 58 restaurants and shops
- Six dual-use international gates, all with jet bridges
- A 28,000-square-foot Delta Sky Club and an outdoor SkyDeck
- Countless art installations, including the centerpiece “The Canyon,” an installation in the central terminal roughly the size of a football field
While the new airport was designed to be more efficient for incoming and outgoing flights, keep in mind that one person's perfect terminal is another's endless walkway. The new design means longer distance to your gate, new passenger pickup and drop off locations, and figuring out how to navigate the new layout.
Here are some tips for making sure you make your flight:
- It can take 30 minutes just to walk to your gate, and if you’re not flying Delta, chances are you’ll be leaving from terminal B, which is even further. So plan to arrive a minimum of two hours before your flight.
- Wear comfortable shoes for all that walking!
- Upon landing, remember that walking to baggage claim will take a bit longer than before. Pickups should be planned for 20-30 minutes after your flight lands.
- If you are dropping someone off at the airport, head to the upper deck.
- If you’re picking someone up, arrivals can be met on the lower deck of the terminal.
- Download the SLC Airport app, which provides walking distance, time estimates, and directions to your gate.
Phase II of the project is slated for completion in late 2024. It will include an underground tunnel, which will cut down on the time it takes to walk (or run) to the B Concourse. But until then, it’s a sure bet you’ll get your steps in before you settle into your seat.
Sean Matyja - Realtor® / Associate Broker
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