This column typically focuses on Utah companies that are growing internationally, but we couldn't help but express congratulations to the Salt Lake City International Airport for its record-setting year.
It's the first time the airport has served more than 24 million passengers in a 12-month period. Overall, the passenger count grew 4.5 percent in 2017, totaling nearly 24.2 million people. However, international passengers increased by more than 20 percent, totaling 913,628 for 2017.
Salt Lake City International Airport serves nine major airlines. The airport is a major hub for Delta Air Lines, which offers non-stop service from Salt Lake City to Amsterdam, London, Paris and Toronto.
According to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2016 the busiest international routes from Salt Lake City were: Amsterdam, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Cancun, Toronto, Mexico City, Vancouver, London-Heathrow, Calgary, San Jose del Cabo, Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara.
Salt Lake City International Airport is not only the gateway to the Crossroads of the West but also the 25th busiest airport in North America and the 85th busiest in the world, according to SLC airport data. More than 330 flights depart daily from Salt Lake City to 95 non-stop destinations.
The airport is currently undergoing a massive, $3.6 billion redevelopment that is one of the nation's largest air travel infrastructure projects. It will include a new main terminal, South Concourse and North Concourse. Together, they will feature 78 full-service gates to facilitate more flights and more choices for travelers. The redevelopment project also includes a five-level, short-term parking garage with 3,600 stalls and 14 miles of new roads.
The first phase will be completed in 2020. The project is being funded through FAA grants, significant funding from Delta Air Lines, gate fees, parking fees, rental car fees and passenger facility charges, with little, if any, taxpayer dollars involved. Every day some 750-1,000 construction workers are on site. Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines employs between 3,000 and 4,000 Utahns.
Truly, the new airport will be another jewel in the crown of Utah's extraordinary economy.