News & Insights

Salt Lake City – Gateway to Recreational Activities

Salt Lake City – Gateway to Recreational Activities

Insights & Perspectives

Situated in the northern part of the beautiful state of Utah and next to the marvel that is the Great Salt Lake, while surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, Salt Lake City International Airport provides an access point to these marvels and more. The airport is a gateway for year-round outdoor recreational activities. In the winter months, skiers from across the country and internationally arrive at the airport, and in the summer months, mountain bike enthusiasts travel with their bikes.

Salt Lake City International Airport serves nearly 24 million customers a year and is ranked the 25th busiest in North America. Ten airlines and their affiliates service the airport which is a major hub for Delta Airlines handling about 70% of total traffic.

The Salt Lake City Terminal Redevelopment Program broke ground in 2014.  As the Designer of record for the Baggage Handling System (BHS) and Construction Administration (CA), CAGE worked closely with the City and Architects to develop a BHS with the latest technology while providing the best customer experience possible. 

The airport requested efforts be made to have the new terminal and concourses certified as a Gold Level LEED building.  CAGE assisted this effort with innovative BHS designs that included energy-saving drive systems for the conveyors and special control features for operating the conveyors in an energy-efficient manner.

Two different flight schedules – winter and summer – were analyzed to distinguish between the differing requirements and demands placed upon the BHS. 

One of the defining features of the new Baggage Handling System is the requirement that the system can convey large items such as skis and bike boxes. This means that every ticket counter and curbside baggage load point will convey these items to a security screening area, then to a suitable sort destination, and on to the appropriate aircraft.  Baggage load points include five ticket counter lines, two Gateway Center (within the parking garage) lines, two curbside lines, and one international recheck line.  The system is designed to enhance the passenger experience relative to these specific needs.

Once the baggage has been checked in, security screening will be conducted by fully in-line Explosive Detection Systems (EDS) machines.  Bags not cleared by the EDS machines will be conveyed directly to the Checked Baggage Resolution Area (CBRA) for manual inspection.

Bags cleared by the EDS machines and manual inspection are then conveyed to the South Concourse of the new terminal where the passenger gates and baggage make-up devices are located. A total of 19 make-up devices provide specific sort destinations for each flight or airline.  Large items such as bike boxes and skis will be conveyed to separate lines with specially designed baggage chutes. All bags are then collected by baggage handling personnel and placed upon carts for transport to the appropriate aircraft.

Another distinctive feature of the design includes the inbound baggage system. The inbound baggage system includes ten claim devices (eight for domestic flights and two for international) and two oversize lines with claim devices for skis and bike boxes.

Some of the technical features that are incorporated into the BHS design to meet specific requirements for the airport are:

  • Lines include 45-inch conveyors and large radius turns.

  • Special recirculating devices for loading and presenting skis.

  • Special sort destinations that can support bike boxes and skis.

  • Multiple crossover lines provide redundancy features to the BHS.

  • Innovative conveyor drive systems with new control methodologies provide excellent energy efficiencies.

CAGE is honored and excited to be a part of this project.  The new Salt Lake City Airport, when completed, will be a state-of-the-art facility and – your Gateway to the West.

Check out for more information on “The New SLC”.

About the Author

Nick Kinser is the Technical Writer for CAGE. He has accumulated over 20 years of experience in the airport baggage handling systems industry. He has previously worked for the Texas State Attorney General as a research assistant.

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