Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014

Delta plans to expand at Salt Lake City International Airport

By Andrew Adams, Deseret News

Published: Wed, Jan. 15 6:50 p.m. MST

 Delta jets taxi and park at Salt Lake City International Airport, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014.

Delta jets taxi and park at Salt Lake City International Airport, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014.

(Ravell Call, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Delta Air Lines plans to expand operations and services at Salt Lake City International Airport in the coming years, airline executives told the Salt Lake City Airport Board on Wednesday.

Over the next five years, Delta plans to increase its Salt Lake City capacity by 8 percent, increase departures by 1 percent to 2 percent and make the airport an “all 2-class operation” by 2017, according to the airline's formal presentation.

Delta President Edward Bastian went before the board to outline the plans.

Newly minted Salt Lake City Airport Board Chairwoman Natalie Gochnour, also the chief economist at the Salt Lake Chamber, suggested the move would only serve to improve the city and state’s business prospects by making Utah that much more accessible and easy to visit.

Already, Salt Lake City International Airport is considered to be one of Delta’s primary hubs and a “gateway” to the Intermountain West.

“I was shared data (Wednesday) that shows that we have a level of service that’s much more like a San Diego or a St. Louis, and we are a much smaller metropolitan area,” Gochnour said.

The schematic design for the airport’s rebuilding is close to completion, she said, and construction is expected to begin on the project by June, beginning with the new rental car facility.

That would be a later start than a timetable released previously by the Salt Lake City Department of Airports, which called for the construction of that structure to begin in 2013 and conclude in 2014.

Gochnour said the formation of the new one-terminal alignment will take place over 10 years, and she doesn't expect anyone to begin using any of the new facilities until 2019.

“We’re going to have a brand-new crown jewel of an airport,” Gochnour said. “It’s going to be great for our state.”

Travelers seemed optimistic about the changes.

Peter Vandenboom, of Winter Haven, Fla., applauded the plan for the new design, as well as for Delta’s plan to give all flights in and out of Salt Lake City a first-class option.

“I would welcome that because I was just cramped because we booked last-minute tickets,” Vandenboom said. “I sat in the back, and usually I like to sit up front.”

Email: aadams@deseretnews.com

Twitter: AndrewAdamsKSL

1. bshelt
Jan. 15, 2014

Please someone tell me why it's going to take almost 10 years to rebuild? With advancements in construction why 10 years? Seems underwhelming.

2. BYUalum
South Jordan, UT,
Jan. 15, 2014

I would imagine that the air traffic from thousands of LDS missionaries plus all the Church leaders' trips would necessitate the increase. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has to be a huge account for Delta Air Lines!

3. toosmartforyou
Farmington, UT,
Jan. 15, 2014

Ten years is probably required to provide funding.

I hope they incorporate four things:
1) Passenger ability to go from Trax to Airline Gates easily without walking a country mile as some folks have limited capacity for long walks in a short time frame;
2) Separate areas for groups to welcome guests, such as returning missionaries, away from the main traffic flow picking up the bags;
3) A couple good restaurants where a family can eat together before one of them catches a flight. Many folks drive a long way to get to this airport and an opportunity to dine together without everyone needing a boarding pass would be superb; and
4) Wide concourses and cross-connectors that are NOT reduced in width by everyone selling trinkets.

Go going.....we need it!! (signed, A Delta Gold Medallion Flyer)

4. Shamal
Happy Valley, UT,
Jan. 16, 2014

The design looks very similar to the Indianapolis airport which was the first built post 9/11 and most who been through it, rave about it. It was completed in about 4 years because they built it across the runway from the existing airport.
It will take Salt lake 10 years because they are going to rebuild it in place, one piece at a time.

We should be doing this from scratch either north of the current terminal on the Westpoint side or on the northwest side and reclaim a bit more salt marsh. It would be done in half the time and not likely cost more.

5. Pilot70
Orem, UT,
Jan. 16, 2014

10 years does seem to be a long time. I can think of three reasons why it would take so long:

1. The airport is a huge project. Remember, it will be larger than the current one.
2. An airport is a specialized project. It's not like cranking-out another WalMart. In addition to the buildings themselves, the airport will need to be outfitted with new infrastructure (roads, tech, security, service equipment for aircraft, parking, etc.)
3. They are building it to last. Re-building an airport is a huge investment in time and money. They'll need to get it right, and take the time to get it right. Rush-jobs don't last very long. I imagine they're building this to last many, many decades.
4. They'll have to do it in stages. They can't shut-down the airport for construction. They can't even reduce capacity by very much without ruffling feathers. They'll only be able to do this one piece at a time.