Will SLC airport break passenger record? 2023 brings big rebound from pandemic.

The airport’s top executive says the facility is on track to make a full recovery from the global health crisis.

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

Salt Lake City International Airport is on pace to see a record number of passengers take to the skies this year.

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

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

While the airport set a passenger record for fiscal 2023, it did not break its record for passengers in a 12-month period. That record was set in 2019, when 26.8 million passengers passed through the old airport from January through December.

Airport officials expect to break that record this calendar year.

International travel also rose this past fiscal year, from nearly 1.1 million passengers in fiscal 2019 to more than 1.3 million in fiscal 2023 — a 22% leap. Airport officials attribute the increase to pent-up demand for travel to Europe after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To see domestic travel rebound so quickly is remarkable,” Wyatt said, “but to see international travel up by double digits is astounding.”

Delta Air Lines, the airport’s only hub carrier, responded to the heightened demand by adjusting nonstop flights between Salt Lake City and London from seasonal to year-round service. Eurowings Discover, meanwhile, broke into the Salt Lake City market last year with seasonal nonstop flights to Frankfurt, Germany.

The new airport opened in 2020 and will be able to accommodate 34 million passengers when Phase 4 of the project is completed. That phase, which includes a 16-gate expansion of concourse B, is expected to wrap up by late 2026.

In May, the airport gave travelers their first taste of concourse A’s eastward expansion when five new gates opened. An additional four gates on the eastern wing of the concourse are expected to open Aug. 22, with the remaining 13 gates due come on line Oct. 31.