Travelers passing through security at Salt Lake City International Airport will finally get to turn right to catch a flight.
The airport opened the first five gates of concourse A’s east side early Tuesday, marking another step in the expansion of the growing facility.
“Our airport is changing and growing to keep up with our capital city,” Mayor Erin Mendenhall said in a news release, “and I’m thrilled that these new gates are now open to better serve our residents and travelers.”
The new gates are the first to open since October 2020, when airport officials unveiled gates on concourse B. The old airport was demolished to make way for the concourse A expansion.
“Launching the initial east-side gates is very rewarding,” airport Executive Director Bill Wyatt said in the release. “We have been working nonstop since opening Phase 1 more than two years ago to get to this point. To be here today took a lot of demolition work, a lot of steel and a lot of paving.”
A Delta Air Lines flight bound for Atlanta — where the company is headquartered — was the first to pull out of the newly minted A gates. Delta, which recently signed an extension to be a hub carrier in Utah’s capital, will occupy all of concourse A when the new wing is fully built out.
The new gates won’t add new flights to the daily schedule but will make travel more convenient for some passengers who have had to take a shuttle from concourse B to their plane.
Airport officials hope additional gates eventually will lead to more flights leaving Salt Lake City to more destinations.
Four more gates of the concourse A expansion are due to open Aug. 22, with the remaining 13 gates slated to go on line Oct. 31. When the full east side of the concourse is complete, it will feature 19 shops and restaurants, including Millcreek Coffee Roasters, Vessel Kitchen and Red Rock Brewery.
The next major peg in the airport’s expansion is expected to come in October 2024, when officials are set to shorten the dreaded trek to the B gates by opening the Central Tunnel.
Travelers who pass through the tunnel will be greeted on concourse B by the beloved terrazzo world map from the old airport.