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SLC Airport's Recent Rise in Return Missionary Celebrations Stressing Resources

SLC International Airport
View east from current SLC Airport Terminal 2.
Credit The New SLC Airport Redevelopment Program
Rendering of redesigned concourse for better overall traffic flow in secured areas.

Crowds that show up at the Salt Lake International Airport to greet returning missionaries and military personnel are increasing. That’s putting some additional stress on airport resources, security personnel, and airline passengers who just want to get their bags and leave the airport.

Barbara Gann is the airport spokesperson. She says various factors have come into play in recent weeks including the popularity of the celebrations and the lowering of the age limits for missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“It does become something that we need to use all of our resources toward including police for crowd control,” says Gann.

She says temporary barriers and special signage are also helping with foot traffic flow. She says the plan for the airport expansion takes this local phenomenon into consideration.

“We’re looking still at about 5 years from now," Gann says, "but it will be bigger and it will be structured so that these things can happen sort of off to the side where there will be a thoroughfare for other passengers to come.”

Gann says construction on the 1.8 billion dollar Terminal Redevelopment Program continues in phases through 2019 with complete build out by 2022. The two current terminals will eventually be combined into one.

Bob Nelson is a graduate of the University of Utah with a BA in mass communications. He began his radio career at KUER in 1978 when it was still in Kingsbury Hall. That’s also where he met his wife, Maria Shilaos, in 1981. Bob left KUER for commercial radio where he worked for 25 years, and he is thrilled to be back at KUER. Bob and his family are part of an explorer group, fondly known as The Hordes and Masses, which has been seeking out ghost towns and little-known places in Utah for more than twenty years.
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