Salt Lake City International Airport to Be Demolished and Rebuilt in Phases

The proposed plan for the reconstruction of Salt Lake City International Airport, superimposed over a photograph of the current airport. Graphic courtesy of Salt Lake City Department of Airports.

Plans have been announced recently to demolish Salt Lake City International Airport and rebuild it to address potential earthquake issues, accommodate growth, improve the customer experience, and redevelop it into a more appropriate facility to handle the greater than 21 million passengers it serves per year, as it was not originally built to be an airline hub airport.

The demolition and reconstruction of the airport — to begin sometime in 2013 and planned to take place in phases — is expected to take between eight and ten years at a cost of $1.8 billion.

The airport is currently the westernmost hub in the United States for Delta Air Lines, whose flights account for almost three-quarters of the traffic at the airport.

Interestingly, the remodeled airport would have only one terminal and twelve fewer gates than it does now. Portions of the current airport — such as Terminal 1 and Concourses A and B — have been around as long as 50 years.

I have mixed feelings about the demolition and reconstruction of Salt Lake City International Airport. Sure, the airport itself is nothing special, and it does have a dated look and feel to it. However, any time I have ever had to connect from one flight to another, I found the airport incredibly easy to navigate. I have connected from one flight to another in as few as five minutes — and this was not just a fluke, as that has happened to me on a number of occasions.

Then again, I have only left the airport once despite being at this airport many times, and that was only to stay at a nearby hotel property overnight.

I hope that when the reconstruction of Salt Lake City International Airport is complete, the connections from one flight to another will remain as easy as they are today while substantially improving the airport overall.

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