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Salt Lake International Airport

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Salt Lake International Airport

For the Air National Guard use of this facility, see Salt Lake City Air National Guard Base.
Salt Lake City International Airport
Salt Lake City airport in 2010
Airport type Public
Owner Salt Lake City
Operator Salt Lake City Department of Airports
Serves Northern Utah area and beyond
Location Salt Lake City, Utah
 United States
Hub for Delta Air Lines
Elevation AMSL 4,227 ft / 1,288 m
Coordinates 40°47′18″N 111°58′40″W / 40.78833°N 111.97778°W / 40.78833; -111.97778Coordinates: 40°47′18″N 111°58′40″W / 40.78833°N 111.97778°W / 40.78833; -111.97778

FAA airport diagram
Location of airport in Utah
Direction Length Surface
ft m
16L/34R 12,004 3,659 Asphalt
16R/34L 12,000 3,658 Concrete
17/35 9,596 2,925 Asphalt
14/32 4,892 1,491 Asphalt
Number Length Surface
ft m
HB 60 18 Asphalt
HC 60 18 Asphalt
HF 60 18 Asphalt
Statistics (2010)
Passengers 21,016,686
Aircraft movements 389,321
Air Cargo (metric tonnes) 156,319
Source: SLC Airport Authority[1] and FAA[2]

Salt Lake City International Airport (IATA: SLCICAO: KSLCFAA LID: SLC) is a civil-military airport about 4 miles (6.4 km) west of Downtown Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. The airport is the closest commercial airport for more than 2.5 million people[3] and is within a 30 minute drive of nearly 1.3 million jobs.[4]

The airport is the fourth largest and westernmost hub for Delta Air Lines and a hub for Delta Connection carriers SkyWest Airlines and Endeavor Air with nearly 300 daily departures, accounting for a 73.76% market share in 2012. Following Delta and Delta Connection, the largest carriers are Southwest Airlines (12.15% market share), United Airlines and United Express (4.52%), American Airlines and American Eagle (2.91%), and US Airways and US Airways Express at (2.55%).[5]

20,096,549 passengers flew through Salt Lake City in 2012, 1.44% less than 2011.[5] The airport is the twenty-first busiest airport in the United States by passenger count.[6] There were 328,122 aircraft operations (takeoffs and landings) in 2012, about 900 per day. The airport is the fifteenth busiest airport in the United States and twenty fourth in the world by operations.[7]

As of April 2013 there were over 645 scheduled airline departures and arrivals per day to 89 nonstop cities in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, as well as a daily nonstop to Paris.[8]

Salt Lake City International Airport continues to rank high for on time departures/arrivals and fewest flight cancellations among major US airports. The airport ranked 1st for on time departures and arrivals in September 2012.[6]

The airport is owned by Salt Lake City Corporation and is administered by the Salt Lake City Department of Airports. The city owns and operates two nearby airports, South Valley Regional Airport and Tooele Valley Airport.[9] 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 debt.[10]

The airport has free Wi-Fi internet access.[11]


In 1911 a site for an air field was chosen on 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. 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.[12]

For several years the new field was used mainly for training and aerobatic flights. That would change in 1920 when the United States Postal Service (USPS) began air mail service to Salt Lake City. The airport expanded and hangars and other buildings began to appear. In the same year the airfield was given the name Woodward Field, named for John P. Woodward, a local aviator.[13]

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 a year later Western Air Express would begin flying passengers along the same route. Western Air Express later became Western Airlines, which had a large hub in Salt Lake City.[13]

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 another runway and would span over 400 acres (1.6 km2). In 1930 the airport was renamed Salt Lake City Municipal Airport.[14]

The first terminal and airport administration building was built in 1933 at a cost of $52,000. By then United Airlines had begun serving Salt Lake City on flights between New York City and San Francisco.[14][15]

As air travel became more popular and the

In 1968 the airport became Salt Lake City International Airport when non-stop service to Calgary, Canada was awarded to Western Airlines.

After airline deregulation in 1978 hub airports became prevalent. Western Airlines, with ties to Salt Lake City since its inception, chose the airport as one of its hubs and took advantage of its location to connect passengers throughout the country. Terminal 2 was designed by Montmorency Hayes & Talbot and built solely for Western and featured several murals by artist LeConte Stewart.[17]

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 be a major airline hub.

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, which was designed by Gensler.[18] A new 328-foot-tall (100 m) control tower, new approach control facility, and a new fire station were opened in 1999.[14]

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 upgraded its access roads and parking facilities in preparation for a new terminal. The airport has made minor upgrades to the terminals and concourses including expansion of baggage claim facilities.[19]

International service

Delta Air Lines and Frontier Airlines have scheduled flights to cities in Canada, Mexico, 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 began on June 3, 2009,[20] the first nonstop from Salt Lake City to Asia. In 2010-2011 the flights to Tokyo were seasonal, May to October.[21]

Terminals, airlines and destinations

Three passenger terminals have five concourses with a total of 79 gates:

  • Terminal 1 has Concourse A (gates A1-A9) and Concourse B (gates B1-B22).
  • Terminal 2 has Concourse C (gates C1-C13), Concourse D (gates D1-D13), and Concourse E (gates E60-E85).
  • International Terminal is used for departing and arriving international flights at gates D2, D4, and D6.


Top 10 domestic destinations (February 2012 - January 2013)[22]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Denver, Colorado 700,000 Delta, Frontier, Southwest, United
2 Phoenix, Arizona 577,000 Delta, Southwest, US Airways
3 Atlanta, Georgia 517,000 Delta
4 Los Angeles, California 463,000 American, Delta, Southwest, United
5 Las Vegas, Nevada 445,000 Delta, Southwest
6 Seattle, Washington 380,000 Delta, Southwest
7 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 304,000 American, Delta
8 Portland, Oregon 277,000 Delta, Southwest
9 New York City, New York (JFK) 275,000 Delta, JetBlue
10 Minneapolis, Minnesota 244,000 Delta

Other airport information

The airport spans over 7,700 acres (3,116 ha) 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.[1]

Scheduled Cargo Operators:

General aviation

Despite being the nineteenth busiest airport in the world in terms of aircraft operations,[7] the airport still maintains a large general aviation presence. In 2008, 19% of aircraft movements at the airport came from general aviation traffic.[1] 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.[2] The airport has only one Fixed Base Operator, located on the east side of the airport which has been of debate between aircraft operators and the SLCDA. 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

Wingpointe, an 18 hole golf course, is located on the south end of the airport.[23]

Delta Air Lines' Sky Club, located between concourses C and D, is the only lounge at this airport.[24]

Salt Lake City International also houses a hangar and line maintenance facility for Delta Air Lines' primary maintenance, repair and overhaul arm, Delta TechOps.[25] 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.[26]

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 328-foot-tall (100 m) Air Traffic Control Tower, TRACON is also located on the airport with the Salt Lake Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) 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.[27]


Salt Lake City International airport is directly responsible for the employment of over 14,000 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.[4]

April 30, 2008 marked a significant date for the airport, as it became 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 Department of Airports in a better financial position for future expansion plans.[10]

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 15,100 feet (4,600 m). Plans for a fourth parallel runway west of 16R/34L are also shown, but is more than fifteen years away.[28]

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 extension of the Utah Transit Authority's (UTA) TRAX light rail system (Green Line) from the Downtown Salt Lake City to the airport began in October 2008, and began service on April 14, 2013.[29][30] The TRAX Green Line connects the airport with the rest of UTA's rail system, including the FrontRunner (a commuter rail train that connects Salt Lake City with Ogden on the north and Provo on the south)).[31] In addition to the rail network itself, the TRAX line also connects with Park and Ride lots of both TRAX and FrontRunner, which allow transit patrons to avoid having to pay for parking at the airport.[Note 1]

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.[33] 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.[34]

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 3, 1974 a Frontier Airlines Boeing 737 flight, mistakenly landed at South Valley Regional Airport (then call the Salt Lake City Municipal Airport II [U42]), 4 miles (6.4 km) south of its intended destination at Salt Lake International Airport.[35]
  • 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 International 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 August 31, 1988, Delta Air Lines Flight 1141, which was bound for Salt Lake City from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, crashed after takeoff. Two of seven crew members and twelve of 101 passengers were killed.
  • 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.[36]

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

  • PDF), effective May 29, 2014
  • FAA Terminal Procedures for SLC, effective May 29, 2014
  • Resources for this airport:
    • AirNav airport information for KSLC
    • ASN accident history for SLC
    • FlightAware live flight tracker
    • NOAA/NWS latest weather observations
    • SkyVector aeronautical chart for KSLC
    • FAA current SLC delay information
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