New executive director of SLC Airport shares insights on construction progress

2/8/2018 - SALT LAKE CITY, UT(News4Utah) Every week, GMU asks you. You ask questions for our authorities, and we bring them in to answer. In today's Ask the Authority segment, we are joined by the new executive director of the Salt Lake City Department of Airports, Bill Wyatt. 

Q. You're relatively new to this position. Canyou tell us about what you're bringing to the table here in Salt Lake City?

Bill: I am new, I'm from Portland, Oregon. I just recently moved here and I'm very excited to be here in Salt Lake. And I was recruited here to be the executive director of Salt Lake City, because the city is building pretty much a brand new airport. There's not another opportunity like this in the entire country, and I thought it was so exciting. I wanted to be a part of it.

Q. Big changes are coming to the Salt Lake City Airport. What can you tell us about the progress being made, and the overall picture of what we can expect?

Bill: Well, the first thing I can say, is the project is on time. It's on budget.. which is very important, because it's an *immense project. When all is said and done, the citizens of Salt Lake and Utah are going to have a brand new airport, and it will be paid for entirely by user fees, primarily by the airlines. so no local tax dollars. A brand new airport, an immense economic on the community. The first phase of this project will open in August of 2020.

Q: 2017 was the second straight year of record travel at the airport. How are you keeping up with the increase in passengers?

Bill: Well, it's a challenge, and the reason that we're building a new airport is because the existing facility was designed to facilitate about 10 million people. Last year, we did 24 million people. We need extra room! So that, of course, is what motivated the construction of this facility, and really, this airport is run incredibly well. I have just the most amazing staff. It's clean, and it functions as effectively as an airport designed like this one can function. We're expecting another 4 to 5 percent increase in passenger volume next year, and we'll make it work, but it's a tiny facility for that volume of passengers. That's why we're building a new one!

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