SLC Airport is expected to break a passenger record in 2023

The airport’s top executive says the facility is on track to fully recover from the global health crisis.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Passengers walk between waiting areas at Salt Lake City International Airport Monday, June 19, 2023.

Salt Lake City International Airport is on track to record passenger numbers this year.

Airport officials said Monday that the airport saw more passengers in fiscal year 2023 than any previous fiscal year, with about 26.4 million people passing through the airport from July 2022 to June 2023. The record for the previous financial year was 26.2 million passengers and was set in 2019.

“We are on track for a full recovery from the pandemic,” said Bill Wyatt, executive director of the Salt Lake City Department of Airports, in a press release. “At the height of the pandemic a few years ago, that didn’t seem possible.”

While the airport set a passenger record in fiscal year 2023, it failed to break its passenger record in a 12-month period. This record was set in 2019 when 26.8 million passengers passed through the old airport from January to December.

Airport officials expect to break that record this calendar year.

International travel also increased in the past fiscal year from nearly 1.1 million passengers in fiscal 2019 to over 1.3 million in fiscal 2023 – an increase of 22%. Airport officials attribute the surge to pent-up demand for travel to Europe following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s remarkable that domestic travel is recovering so quickly,” Wyatt said, “but the double-digit increase in international travel is astounding.”

Delta Air Lines, the airport’s sole hub carrier, responded to increased demand by switching non-stop flights between Salt Lake City and London from seasonal to year-round. Eurowings Discover, in turn, entered the Salt Lake City market last year with seasonal non-stop flights to Frankfurt, Germany.

The new airport opened in 2020 and will be able to accommodate 34 million passengers after the completion of the fourth phase of the project. This phase, which includes an expansion of Hall B by 16 gates, is expected to be completed by the end of 2026.

In May, the airport gave travelers a first taste of the east expansion of Concourse A when five new gates opened. Another four gates in the east wing of the hall are expected to open on August 22nd, with the remaining 13 gates scheduled to open on October 31st.

Justin Scaccy

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