Salt Lake City International Airport

Coordinates: 40°47′18″N 111°58′40″W / 40.78833°N 111.97778°W / 40.78833; -111.97778
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Salt Lake City International Airport
SLC International Logo Main.png
SLC airport, 2010.jpg
Salt Lake City International Airport in 2010
Airport typePublic
Owner/OperatorSalt Lake City Department of Airports
ServesSalt Lake City metropolitan area and Wasatch Front
LocationSalt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
Opened1911; 112 years ago (1911)
Hub for
Elevation AMSL4,227 ft / 1,288 m
Coordinates40°47′18″N 111°58′40″W / 40.78833°N 111.97778°W / 40.78833; -111.97778
FAA airport diagram
FAA airport diagram
Direction Length Surface
ft m
16L/34R 12,002 3,658 Asphalt
16R/34L 12,000 3,658 Concrete
17/35 9,596 2,925 Asphalt
14/32 4,893 1,491 Asphalt
Number Length Surface
ft m
HB 60 18 Asphalt
HF 60 18 Asphalt
Statistics (2022)
Aircraft movements322,011
Cargo390,955,456 lbs.
Source: Salt Lake City International Airport[1]

Salt Lake City International Airport (IATA: SLC, ICAO: KSLC, FAA LID: SLC) is a civil-military airport located about 4 miles (6.4 km) west of Downtown Salt Lake City, Utah, in the United States. The airport is the closest commercial airport for more than 2.5 million people[2] and is within a 30-minute drive of nearly 1.3 million jobs.[3] The airport serves as a hub for Delta Air Lines and is a major gateway to the Intermountain West and West Coast. The airport sees 343 scheduled nonstop airline departures per day to 93 cities in North America and Europe.[4] It is by far the busiest airport in Utah.

Salt Lake City International Airport continues to rank high for on-time departures/arrivals and the fewest flight cancellations among major US airports. The airport ranked first for on-time departures and arrivals and first for the percentage of cancellations as of April 2017.[5] The airport is owned by the City of Salt Lake City and is administered by the municipal Department of Airports.[6]


1900 to 1940[edit]

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, where a cinder-covered landing was subsequently created. 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 that had never been demonstrated to the public. Curtiss took off from the nearby Great Salt Lake, awing the 20,000 spectators and making international headlines.[7]

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 city bought a 100-acre tract around Basque Flats for $4,000 and built a field, hangar and other facilities. In the same year, the airfield was given the name Woodward Field, named for John P. Woodward, a local aviator. The first transcontinental air mail flight landed at Woodward Field on September 8.[8]

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.[8]

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.[9]

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.[9][10]

World War II Salt Lake City Army Air Base postcard

As air travel became more popular and the United States Army Air Forces established a base at the airport during World War II, a third runway was added (Runway diagram for 1955). The April 1957 Official Airline Guide (now OAG) shows 42 weekday departures: 18 on Western, 17 United and 7 Frontier. United had flown nonstop to Chicago since 1950, but nonstop service to New York did not start until 1968. The first jets were United 720s in September 1960.

1960 terminal[edit]

A new terminal was needed and work began on the west side of the airport on Terminal 1, designed by Brazier Montmorency Hayes & Talbot and dedicated in 1960 after seven years of work and a cost of $8 million.[11] In 1968, the airport became Salt Lake City International Airport[12] when a non-stop route to Calgary, Canada was awarded to Western Airlines.

After airline deregulation in 1978, hub airports appeared. Western Airlines, with ties to Salt Lake City since its inception, chose the airport as one of its hubs.

Terminal 2 was designed by Montmorency Hayes & Talbot and built solely for Western and had several murals by artist LeConte Stewart.[13]

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 for Delta.

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.[14] A new 328-foot-tall (100 m) control tower, new approach control facility, and a new fire station were opened in 1999.[9]

In 2001, Concourse E was expanded for additional gates and SkyWest Airlines opened its new maintenance hangar and training facility. In 2002, the airport saw heavy crowds as Salt Lake City welcomed over one million visitors for the Winter Olympics.

Expanded airline service[edit]

In June 2008, Delta Air Lines began daily nonstop service to Paris–Charles de Gaulle. 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,[15] the first nonstop from Salt Lake City to Asia. Between 2010 and 2011, the flights to Tokyo were seasonal, May to October.[16] Delta has not operated the flight since October 2011.

On May 5, 2016, KLM began new, twice weekly nonstop service from Salt Lake City to Amsterdam, and increased service to three times weekly on July 4, 2016. It is the first transatlantic route from Salt Lake City served by a European-based airline. The service is intended to supplement the existing daily flight between Salt Lake City and Amsterdam operated by Air France KLM's Transatlantic Joint Venture partner Delta Air Lines.[17]

New terminal[edit]

Inside the new terminal

The Airport Redevelopment Program broke ground in 2014, initiating construction of the New SLC terminal complex.[18][19] This began the process of replacing the existing, aging facilities with all new facilities, including a rental car facility, a parking garage, a consolidated terminal, two linear concourses (similar to Washington Dulles International Airport) with 93 gates, two tunnels, and an elevated roadway. The construction was funded by airport funds, passenger and customer facility charges, bonds, and federal grants.[20]

The Airport opened Phase 1 of the new terminal in 2020.[21] This consisted of concourse A, which opened with 25 gates while Concourse B opened with 21 gates. The concourses are connected by a mid-field underground tunnel. After Concourse B opened, the old terminals and concourses were demolished, and then construction on concourses A and B east began.[22] With the opening of the new airport, Delta Air Lines opened a brand new Sky Club in concourse A, which at the time was the largest in their network.[citation needed] The original plan called for phase 2 to be completed by December 2024.[23] The east portion of concourse A is still considered phase 2, and scheduled to open in increments through 2023. The completion of the central tunnel was moved to phase 3 of the rebuild, and is scheduled to open in October 2024.[24] The easternmost gates of concourse B are now part of a fourth phase to be completed in 2027, and the plans now call for adding a tram to the central tunnel when a future concourse C is eventually built.[24][25] All told, phase 2 through phase 4 are planned to add 48 new gates to the airport.[25]


The airport covers 7,700 acres (3,116 ha) and has four runways.[26][27] The runways are generally oriented in a NNW/SSE magnetic direction due to consistent prevailing winds in this direction.


SLC has a single terminal with two concourses connected by an underground tunnel for a total of 51 gates. There is a single security check point with 16 lanes and eight baggage carousels.[28]

  • Concourse A has 30 gates, with 17 more opening by the end of 2023.[28][29]
  • Concourse B has 21 gates, with 26 more opening in phases beginning in 2024.[28][29]

Ground transportation[edit]

The airport is accessible from I-80 at exit 115 B or from I-215 at exits 22 and 22 B, with the GA terminal accessible from I-215 exit 23 The airport can also be accessed from North Temple Street and Utah State Route 154 (Bangerter Highway), both of which terminate and merge into the airport's Terminal Drive.

The Airport TRAX station, prior to being moved to the new terminal

Rail and bus services that connect the surrounding region to Salt Lake City International Airport include TRAX light rail service from the Airport station, UTA bus service (via TRAX), and FrontRunner commuter rail (via TRAX).

Ground transportation is available from the airport to ski resorts and locations throughout Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, and Summit counties. Many Salt Lake taxis, limousines, and shuttles accommodate ski equipment.

Cargo operations[edit]

The airport handled 156,319 metric tonnes of cargo in 2008.[30]

General aviation[edit]

View of the east side of the airport from an airplane on the tarmac

Despite being the 28th busiest airport in the world in terms of aircraft operations,[31] the airport still maintains a large general aviation presence. In 2008, 19% of aircraft movements at the airport came from general aviation traffic.[30] 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 that generally do not hinder the normal flow of arriving or departing commercial aircraft.

2019 data shows that there are 331 general aviation aircraft based at the airport.[26] The airport has three fixed-base operators; TAC Air, Atlantic Aviation, and Menzies Aviation located on the east side of the airport. 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 operations[edit]

The Utah Air National Guard operates what was previously named the Salt Lake City Air National Guard Base on the east side of the airport. In November 2014, the installation was renamed the Roland R. Wright Air National Guard Base after Brigadier General Roland R. Wright, USAF (Ret).[32]

The base occupies approximately 140 acres as a U.S. Government cantonment area leased from the airport. In addition to flight line, the installation comprises 65 buildings: 3 services, 13 administrative, and 47 industrial. There are 255 full-time Air Reserve Technician and Active Guard and Reserve personnel assigned, augmented by 1,343 part-time traditional air national guardsmen. 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.

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Aeroméxico Connect Guadalajara [33]
Air Canada Seasonal: Toronto–Pearson [34]
Alaska Airlines Portland (OR), San Francisco, Seattle/Tacoma
Seasonal: Anchorage, San Diego
American Airlines Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Phoenix–Sky Harbor
Seasonal: Miami, Philadelphia
American Eagle Chicago–O'Hare, Los Angeles, Phoenix–Sky Harbor [36]
Delta Air Lines Albuquerque, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Billings, Boise, Boston, Bozeman, Burbank, Calgary, Cancún, Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Cincinnati, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Detroit, Eugene, Fort Lauderdale, Glacier Park/Kalispell, Honolulu, Houston–Intercontinental, Jackson Hole, Kansas City, Las Vegas, London–Heathrow, Los Angeles, Memphis, Mexico City, Miami, Milwaukee (resumes July 1, 2023),[citation needed] Minneapolis/St. Paul, Nashville, Newark, New Orleans, New York–JFK, Oakland, Ontario, Orange County, Orlando, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Philadelphia, Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Portland (OR), Puerto Vallarta, Raleigh/Durham, Redmond/Bend, Reno/Tahoe, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose (CA), San José del Cabo, Seattle/Tacoma, Spokane, St. Louis, Tampa, Toronto–Pearson, Vancouver, Washington–Dulles, Washington–Reagan National
Seasonal: Anchorage (resumes June 5, 2023),[citation needed] Kahului, New York–LaGuardia (begins July 1, 2023),[37] Omaha
Delta Connection Albuquerque, Billings, Bozeman, Burbank, Butte, Calgary, Casper, Cedar City, Colorado Springs, Elko, Eugene, Fresno, Glacier Park/Kalispell, Great Falls, Helena, Idaho Falls, Lewiston, Long Beach, Medford, Missoula, Moab, Oakland, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Ontario, Palm Springs, Pocatello, Redmond/Bend, Reno/Tahoe, Sacramento, San Jose (CA), Spokane, St. George (UT), Sun Valley, Tri-Cities (WA), Tucson, Tulsa, Twin Falls, Vancouver
Seasonal: Jackson Hole, West Yellowstone
Eurowings Discover Seasonal: Frankfurt [39]
Frontier Airlines Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix–Sky Harbor
Seasonal: Atlanta
JetBlue Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, New York–JFK, Orlando [41]
KLM Seasonal: Amsterdam [42]
Southwest Airlines Austin, Baltimore, Burbank, Chicago–Midway, Dallas–Love, Denver, Houston–Hobby, Las Vegas, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Nashville, Oakland, Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose (CA), St. Louis
Seasonal: Orlando, Tampa
Spirit Airlines Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Newark (begins July 5, 2023),[citation needed] Orlando [44]
Sun Country Airlines Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul [45]
United Airlines Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, Newark, San Francisco
United Express Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, Los Angeles, San Francisco [46]


Alpine Air Express Boise, Cedar City, Idaho Falls, Jackson Hole, Pocatello, Rexburg, Rock Springs, St. George (UT), Sun Valley, Twin Falls
Ameriflight Billings, Boise, Elko, Ely, Jackson Hole, Price, Rexburg, Rock Springs, Vernal, Winnemucca
DHL Aviation Cincinnati, Sacramento–Mather
FedEx Express Boise, Indianapolis, El Paso, Kansas City, Memphis, Oakland, Ontario, Phoenix-Sky Harbor
FedEx Feeder Idaho Falls, Pocatello, Sun Valley, Twin Falls
Northern Air Cargo Newark, Chicago–Rockford
UPS Airlines Boise, Chicago–Rockford, Denver, Kansas City, Louisville, Oakland, Ontario
Western Air Express Boise, Denver–Centennial


Passenger numbers[edit]

Annual passenger traffic at SLC airport. See Wikidata query.

Top destinations[edit]

Busiest domestic routes from SLC (March 2022 – February 2023)[47]
Rank Airport Passengers Carriers
1 Colorado Denver, Colorado 768,000 Delta, Frontier, Southwest, United
2 California Los Angeles, California 686,000 Alaska, American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, United
3 Arizona Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Arizona 572,000 American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest
4 Nevada Las Vegas, Nevada 564,000 Delta, Frontier, Southwest, Spirit
5 Georgia (U.S. state) Atlanta, Georgia 513,000 Delta, Frontier
6 Texas Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 505,000 American, Delta
7 Washington (state) Seattle/Tacoma, Washington 464,000 Alaska, Delta
8 Florida Orlando, Florida 350,000 Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit
9 New York (state) New York–JFK, New York 339,000 Delta, JetBlue
10 California San Diego, California 323,000 Alaska, Delta, Southwest
Busiest international routes from SLC (October 2021 – September 2022)[48]
Rank Airport Passengers Carriers
1 Netherlands Amsterdam, Netherlands 194,244 Delta, KLM
2 Mexico Cancún, Mexico 159,937 Delta
3 Mexico Mexico City, Mexico 118,639 Delta
4 Mexico San José del Cabo, Mexico 109,735 Delta
5 Mexico Puerto Vallarta, Mexico 93,633 Delta
6 France Paris–Charles de Gaulle, France 88,651 Delta
7 Mexico Guadalajara, Mexico 59,637 Aeroméxico
8 United Kingdom London–Heathrow, United Kingdom 47,652 Delta
9 Canada Calgary, Canada 42,444 Delta
10 Canada Toronto–Pearson, Canada 37,826 Air Canada, Delta

Airline market share[edit]

Airline market share
(January 2022 - December 2022)[49]
Rank Carrier Passengers Share
1 Delta Air Lines 13,502,000 57.12%
2 SkyWest Airlines 4,438,000 18.77%
3 Southwest Airlines 2,640,000 11.17%
4 American Airlines 1,030,000 4.36%
5 JetBlue Airlines 547,000 2.31%
6 Other Airlines 1,481,000 6.27%

Accidents and incidents[edit]

Accident history for SLC at Aviation Safety Network

  • On May 1, 1942, United Airlines Trip 4, a Douglas DC-3 impacted the side of a hill after deviating off course 3.8 miles (6.1 km) NE of Salt Lake Municipal Airport, all 17 on board were killed.[50]
  • On January 17, 1963, a West Coast Airlines Fairchild F-27 on a training flight out and back to SLC crashed west of the airport into Great Salt Lake simulating an emergency descent, all three occupants perished.[51]
  • 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 (then named Salt Lake City Municipal Airport), killing 43 of the 91 people on board.
  • On December 16, 1969, an Aero Commander 1121 Jet Commander operated by American Smelting and Refining Co. lifted off prematurely, stalled and crashed. Both occupants died.[52]
  • 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 January 15, 1987, Skywest Airlines Flight 1834, a Fairchild Metro, collided with a Mooney M20 at 7000 feet while the Metro was on a runway 34 approach. Both aircraft fell and crashed to the ground. All eight on the Metro and two on the Mooney were killed.[53]
  • 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 22 people who were on the aircraft at the time, five sustained minor injuries. While all passengers and crew evacuated, the aircraft was destroyed. An investigation determined the fire started due to a malfunction with the passenger oxygen system.[54]
  • On March 2, 1997, a Beechcraft Super King Air operated by Coast Hotels and Casinos impacted terrain 1.5 miles (2.4 km) south of SLC. One passenger out of the four on board died.[55]
  • On November 16, 2015, three days after the 2015 Paris terror attacks, an Air France Airbus A380 traveling from Los Angeles to Paris was diverted to Salt Lake City International Airport due to a bomb threat on the aircraft.[56] The aircraft was the largest plane to ever land at the airport. The airport workers had only 15 minutes to get ready for the emergency landing.[57]
  • On January 18, 2016, two people died when their Cessna 525 private jet crashed shortly after take-off from Salt Lake City International on their way to Tucson International Airport in Tucson, Arizona.[58]
  • On March 30, 2021, a chartered Delta Airlines Boeing 757 carrying the NBA's Utah Jazz to Memphis International Airport in Memphis, Tennessee for a game against the Memphis Grizzlies made an emergency landing at SLC after suffering a bird strike shortly after takeoff. The plane suffered damage to an engine but there were no injuries among its occupants.[59]

In popular culture[edit]

In the 1974 film Airport 1975, Captain Alan Murdock (played by Charlton Heston) lands a crippled Boeing 747 at SLC which was involved in a midair collision with a Beechcraft Baron which crashed into the cockpit of the 747, killing most of the flight crew. After landing, the aircraft exited the runway but eventually came to a stop. The movie ends with an emergency evacuation of all passengers and crew at the airport. A good portion of the movie was filmed on location at SLC.

Other notable films with scenes shot on location at SLC:

See also[edit]


Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

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  2. ^ 2006 population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau Archived December 27, 1996, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on March 5, 2008.
  3. ^ "Utah Continuous Airport System Plan – Executive Summary" (Press release). Salt Lake City: Utah Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on October 4, 2013. Retrieved September 30, 2013.
  4. ^ "SLC Fast Facts". Salt Lake City Department of Airports. Archived from the original on October 30, 2015. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  5. ^ "Salt Lake City, UT: Salt Lake City International (SLC)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics, United States Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on May 9, 2012. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
  6. ^ "Department of Airports 2008–2009 budget" (PDF). Salt Lake City Corporation. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 9, 2011.
  7. ^ "Curtiss Flies at Salt Lake". The New York Times. New York City. April 9, 1911. Archived from the original on November 11, 2012. Retrieved March 4, 2008.
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  31. ^ World's busiest airports by traffic movements
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  33. ^ "Aeromexico announces its itinerary updates for August". Transponder1200 (in Spanish). August 2021. Retrieved August 6, 2021.
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  42. ^ "View the Timetable". Archived from the original on February 27, 2017. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
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  44. ^ "Spirit® Airlines Kicks off 2022 with a Salt Lake City Debut".
  45. ^ "Sun Country Airlines Extends Booking Schedule Through Mid-December 2023".
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  50. ^ Accident description for NC18146 at the Aviation Safety Network
  51. ^ Accident description for N2703 at the Aviation Safety Network
  52. ^ Accident description for N403M at the Aviation Safety Network
  53. ^ Accident description for N163SW at the Aviation Safety Network
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  55. ^ Accident description for N117WM at the Aviation Safety Network
  56. ^ Alberty, Erin (November 18, 2015). "Air France plane diverted to SLC after bomb threat is cleared to leave for Paris". The Salt Lake Tribune. Archived from the original on June 25, 2016. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  57. ^ "Air France plane — diverted to SLC after bomb threat — is cleared to leave for Paris". Archived from the original on August 9, 2018. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  58. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Cessna 525 CitationJet N711BX Cedar Fort, UT".
  59. ^ Haroun, Azmi (March 30, 2021). "NBA team's charter plane lost an engine after it struck a flock of birds and had to make an emergency landing". MSN.

External links[edit]