SALT LAKE CITY — A record 23 million passengers traveled through Salt Lake City International Airport during the 12 months that ended in November, numbers seen as supporting the $2.9 billion expansion project already underway.
"This is a significant milestone for SLC," said Maureen Riley, Salt Lake City Department of Airports executive director. "The numbers demonstrate the need SLC has for updated facilities to accommodate the growth we're seeing in passenger traffic."
Domestic passengers totaled just over 22.3 million from November 2015 through November 2016, nearly a 3.5 percent boost, while new direct flights helped international passenger numbers jump almost 35 percent to 738,394.
Last April, Delta Air Lines added nonstop service to London, and in May, KLM entered the Salt Lake market with nonstop service to Amsterdam, and Air Canada began offering nonstop service to Toronto.
The price tag for the airport's redevelopment project went up by $350 million last year due to what airport officials said was the hot construction market in the state driving up costs.
The total cost of the project is now $2.9 billion, funded through federal grants, passenger facility and rental car charges, revenue bonds and cash. The first phase of the project is set to be completed in 2020.
Year-end total passenger numbers aren't expected until later this month, airport spokeswoman Nancy Volmer said. In 2015, the airport was ranked the 25th busiest in North America.
"With the holiday travel, we usually have really strong numbers in December," Volmer said. "So I would expect to see us maintaining that same level (of growth) if not exceeding it."