Tuesday was a smooth takeoff for the first phase of the new airport that is called a “cathedral of transportation” and the state’s largest-ever public works project.
It is the first completely new hub airport build in the 21st century and it will serve the needs of Salt Lake City through the rest of the century. The old airport was designed to handle 10 million people a year, but had been serving 26 million before the pandemic.
The new airport includes higher-tech security screening that is estimated to be up to 30% faster. The new garage is twice as big. Elevated roadways now provide more room for passenger drop-off and pickup — including larger areas reserved for Uber and Lyft.
Waiting areas have far more seats, each with personal power plugs and two individual armrests.
Over seven miles of conveyor belts have been built or upgraded to whisk checked luggage from multiple areas like the parking garage, curbside drop-off, and the ticketing counters. This simply means less lugging for those with oversize bags, which is always the first concern upon airport arrival. These improvements streamline travel for those with skis, bikes, boards, or other sporting equipment.
Far more food and retail options will be available — eventually 58 of them in the first phase that by contract will offer “street pricing,” without airport markups.
Passengers will never be farther than 150 feet from a restroom, each with far more stalls. And the airport now has the largest-in-the-world Delta Sky Club at 28,000 square feet to enhance Delta Air Lines’ hub operations here.