City officials, a gubernatorial aspirant and area business leaders gathered Wednesday to unveil a scale-model of the Salt Lake International Airport as it would be in the year 2006 under a new master plan.
The plan calls for a new 12,000-foot runway, parking facilities and an expanded terminal at what officials called Salt Lake City's "world-class" international airport.The airport, serving 13 air carriers, is in the mostly undeveloped northwest quadrant of Salt Lake City, an "untapped resource" for the city, Salt Lake Mayor Palmer DePaulis said.
"This is where we believe the future of Salt Lake City will be," he told a crowd of roughly 50 onlookers at the airport's main terminal.
City officials expect the northwest quadrant population to balloon to 65,000 by the next century and DePaulis said he wants airport planning and related planning efforts to be done "absolutely right."
Lt. Gov. Val Oveson praised the city for developing a "world-class" airport, even lauding his boss' opponent in the race for governor, Ted Wilson, who served as Salt Lake mayor during some of the airport's expansion.
Wilson, who formed the Airport Authority Board in 1986 to oversee development there, said "this airport has come so far since I left (City Hall) over 3 years ago, it's just amazing."
Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce President Fred Ball said he once was "ashamed" of the state's airport, but after years of concerted effort, the airport has become a "great front door for the state of Utah."
The airport offers flights from 13 air carriers, one of which, Western Airlines, made Salt Lake City its hub in 1981. Delta Airlines merged with Western in 1986 and is considered the bulwark of the airport.
Delta Senior Vice President Tom Roeck applauded the city's development efforts at the airport and praised the airports on-time record _ best in the nation for the last 5 months, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
"We think that this is a tribute to the hard work at the airport," Roeck said.
The most important feature of the master plan is a new $60-$75 million runway slated to be open in 1995 on the east side of the airport, Airport Director Louis Miller said.
The Salt Lake City Council has approved issuance of a $30 million bond for a new parking complex to meet projected parking needs for the next seven years, Miller said.
The four-level complex will provide space for rental cars, long- and short-term parking as well as a "drop-off" area for passengers. Airport access roads will also be realigned under the plan, Miller said.
Finally, the master plan calls for expansion doubling the size of the airport's Terminal 2, Miller said. The $10 million expansion includes a larger baggage area, new ticketing counter area and new lounge and control tower for Delta Airlines, he said.