Meet Bill Wyatt: The Salt Lake City Department of Airports New Executive Director

Late last June, Bill Wyatt had just wrapped up 16 years directing the Port of Portland and was getting a feel for retirement when he got a curious call. It was Korn Ferry—an executive search firm—asking if he’d be interested in a position at the helm of the Salt Lake City Department of Airports.

Not long after, Bill was boarding a plane to SLC to interview for the position of Executive Director of the SLC International Airport. “I began poking around and realized the magnitude of what was happening in SLC,” Bill remembers. “I couldn’t imagine not taking advantage of the opportunity—building a major hub from scratch.”

After a few more visits, where he explored the area, the decision to move was made. “It’s very similar to Oregon,” Bill said, “but more outdoorsy than Portland.” For someone who likes to cycle, golf, ski and spend time outdoors, there was a lot he found appealing.

Soon after accepting the job, Bill bought a house in the avenues and started work at SLC. “This is new chapter in my life in a new place,” he says. “I like it here a lot.”

Bill has been impressed with the day-to-day operations of the airport—functioning at a capacity twice than what it was built for—as well as how lean the operation is. In addition, Bill said he has great confidence in the Airport’s leadership team and the magnitude of the work that preceded him.

“You have to tip your hat to the people in charge in the nineties who developed and began executing a plan—even to build a portion of the concourse connecting tunnel,” he said. “I’m not sure we could do what we are doing today without this foresight. It took courage and vision.”

Empowering People

As Executive Director of the Port of Portland, Bill oversaw four marine terminals, two general aviation airports and the Portland International Airport. Prior to this, Bill honed his political acumen as Chief of Staff to an Oregon Governor as well as served as a state representative from his home town of Astoria, Oregon. Working for the Oregon Business Council, as Executive Director of the Association for Portland Progress and Portland’s downtown development association gave him a well-rounded management background.

“My management style is to empower people to do their jobs,” Bill says. “I’m not a micromanager, not a meddler,” he continues. “I have high expectations for people and lean forward, not backwards.”

But it was Bill’s time spent overseeing the Port of Portland where he came to understand the valuable and unique role an airport plays in a community. “Airports keep us connected to the rest of the country and the world,” he said. These connections foster greater understanding in a time with so many challenges.”

In addition to overseeing The New SLC Redevelopment Program and ensuring the project is completed on time and on budget, Bill believes in building bridges between the SLC airport and the community and help others come to see the airport as a valuable asset. “We have a unique opportunity to guide construction of a brand new airport that will usher in tremendous opportunity for the future of the entire state”, he said. “An airport should reflect the community, and the incredible asserts of Salt Lake City and the great State of Utah.”












SLC adds new convenience store and gas station to Park and Wait lot

The Salt Lake City International Airport recently opened a convenience store to better serve the traveling public. The Touch n’ Go Convenience Store includes a Chevron gas station and—eat-in or drive-through food options—Burger King, Costa Vida and Beans and Brews.

The Touch n’ Go Store is located adjacent to the Park and Wait lot, which is located to the left of Terminal Drive exiting the freeway. The location couldn’t be any more convenient for those traveling to the Airport to pick-up a friend or family member and to get a quick bite to eat. The drive-through window is time-saver and the flight information monitors will make sure customers are not delayed getting to the curb on time.

The 8,400 sq. ft. store is open 24 hours a day. The food options operate during select hours. Burger King is open from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m., Costa Vida is open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Beans and Brews is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

An electric charging station located on the east side of the building.

The $4 million facility was built by Kellerstrass Oil Company, along with HB Boys and Big D Construction. Kellerstrass operates the facility and HB Boys is the third-party manager that is responsible for daily operations. Construction began on the facility in June 2017.

Airport Works to Preserve Resources by Recycling Deicing Fluid

When temperatures drop below 30 degrees Fahrenheit, frost, ice or snow can accumulate on an aircraft’s wings and tail and must be removed before a plane can safely take-off. That’s where deicing comes in.

At SLC International Airport, deicing an aircraft takes place on one of four deicing pads, which are located on both sides of the airfield near the runways. After the deicing fluid (a mixture of water and propylene glycol) is sprayed on the aircraft, the fluid collects through a drainage system that transports the fluid more than 5 miles to the SLC Airport’s deicing fluid reclamation facility. The fluid is then stored in holding ponds before being pumped into the facility to begin the process of separating the water from the glycol.

The goal is to convert the liquid to 98 percent pure propylene glycol, which the Airport then sells to companies for use in products, such as paint and antifreeze. The money generated from the sale of the recycled glycol goes back into covering the cost of recycling.

In 2016, the SLC Airport processed 3 million gallons of fluid and recycled more than 100,000 gallons of glycol. Recycling deicing fluid is one way the SLC Airport works to preserve resources. Learn more about the SLC Airport’s sustainability efforts at

Mayor Jackie Biskupski selects airline industry and logistics expert Bill Wyatt to lead Salt Lake City Department of Airports

On Oct. 12, 2017, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski announced Bill Wyatt as her choice for the Executive Director of the Salt Lake City Department of Airports.

Bill has extensive experience in both the public and private sectors, most notably in his role as CEO of the Port of Portland. For the past 17 years, Bill oversaw the complex logistics of day-to-day operations of all Port activities as customer-focused leader. He handled $2 billion in capital construction projects, managed a $330 million annual operating budget with fiscal prudence, developed a workforce of 800 employees, and maintained excellent relationships with many stakeholders, including elected officials, community partners, Delta, TSA, and more.

“I have great appreciation for the enormous value airports serve in our communities,” said Bill Wyatt. “I’m drawn by virtue to the ambitious opportunity in Salt Lake City, and I’m eager to join the team and get to work.”

“As the Salt Lake City International Airport undergoes the largest construction expansion in its history, it is critical that we have an individual at the table with extensive management and logistics experience,” said Mayor Biskupski. “I am confident that Bill’s expertise and knowledge will lead us well as we enter into an exciting new chapter of operations.”

Currently, Salt Lake City International Airport in the midst of a more than $3 billion Terminal Redevelopment Program, which will address operational needs, seismic and security standards, and modernize facilities. No local tax dollars are being used for the redevelopment program. The airport serves over 23 million passengers a year from facilities designed 50 years ago to accommodate half as many travelers. Bill will oversee the massive project, which is scheduled to be completed in phases by 2024.

“I’m excited to be part of the most consequential airport project in the country,” said Bill Wyatt. “Great institutions are made great because people are the foundation, and Salt Lake City International Airport has an exceptional reputation.”

The Department of Airports oversees a portfolio of three airports, including Salt Lake City International Airport, South Valley Regional Airport in West Jordan, and Tooele Valley Airport. As director, Bill will manage operations including over 500 employees, 1,000 contracts, and an annual budget of $367 million.

“Not only will Bill oversee airport construction and run operations, but his ability to bring vision into action will be imperative in looking to the future,” said Mayor Biskupski. “As we develop the Northwest Quadrant and examine our inland port, Bill is yet another expert at the table to help breakdown silos and cement Salt Lake City as the “Crossroads of the West.”

“I would also like to thank Russell Pack, who has been serving as Interim Executive Director during our national search,” said Mayor Biskupski. “His willingness to step up again and lead operations smoothly is unmatched and will not be forgotten.”

Bill previously worked as Chief of Staff to Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, as president of the Oregon Business Council, and as Executive Director of the Association for Portland Progress.

He currently serves as director of the Oregon Business Council, and as a board member of the Oregon Historical Society and Columbia River Maritime Museum. He is excited to relocate to Salt Lake City, and enjoys all things outdoors, including hiking, skiing, and fishing.

The appointment is subject to the advice and consent of the City Council.


SLC Airport Keeps Runways in Tip Top Shape

To keep its runways in top condition, the Salt Lake City Department of Airports performs regular maintenance—including asphalt overlays—to protect the safety, integrity and functionality of the runways. Salt Lake City Airport’s (SLC) airfield consists of three runways for airlines as well as a general aviation runway.

On July 31, 2017, SLC began an overlay project on runway 14/32, which is scheduled to be completed in early October, 2017. The first step in a runway overlay project is to remove the existing asphalt, which is recycled by spreading the asphalt in landscaped areas around the airfield.

Crews collecting asphalt from old runway for recycling.

Next, crews spread the new asphalt and wait for it to cure before beginning the grooving process. During this process, crews use a ride-on saw with multiple blades spaced and set to the proper depth. They drive the machine, usually with 10 to 30 blades, several times on the runway and connector areas. The main purpose of the groove is to shed water off the runway, allowing better contact for aircraft.

Crews laying the new asphalt for the runway.

Lastly, lights are installed and the appropriate markings are painted on the runway.

Runways are named using numbers between 01 and 36, which is one tenth of the magnetic azimuth of the runway’s heading in degrees. For example, a runway numbered 09 points 90 degrees to the east.

Facts about SLC Airport runways:

  • Runway 16L/34R is 12,003 feet long
  • Runway 16R/34L is 12,000 feet long
  • Runway 17/35 is 9,596 feet long
  • Runway 14/32 is 4,900 feet long

SLC Airport Offers Animal Relief Stations

Passenger’s furry, four-legged friends are spending more time in airports than they used to, and airports are helping by becoming a friendlier place for pets. Airports are accommodating pet passengers by designating areas as animal relief stations.

SLC International Airport has four animal relief stations located in and around the airport. Two of the stations are located pre-security, while two others are accessible behind the TSA security checkpoints.

Pre Security

The pre-security animal relief stations are located across the street from each terminal, in front of the parking garage. These grassy areas are equipped with waste stations and space to exercise pets.

Post Security

The areas behind security that are designated for animal relief are located on each side of the airport—one in Concourse B and the second near Concourse E. Because these areas are in the secure area of the airport, passengers and their pets must be escorted outside by either an airport or airline employee. Airline employees from nearby gates can assist by opening the door and walking passengers and their pets to the relief area. Passengers can also contact SLC Airport Operations by calling (801) 647-5159 for assistance.

The SLC Airport hopes these designated areas helps to make travel with pets easier, and asks that owners to do their part and pick up after their pets. To locate the airport’s animal relief stations, visit the Airport Terminal Map.

SLC Airport to Begin Hardstand Operations

Passengers departing from Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) may soon see a change in the way they board their flights. SLC is expected to begin implementing hardstand operations for select flights due to increasing demand for gates and a limited capacity.

Hardstand parking is a term used by airports to describe when an aircraft is parked on the ramp and passengers are transported to the airplane via a shuttle bus rather than boarding from a loading bridge at the gate. Hardstand operations will also be used at SLC to unload passengers during peak times.

SLC has purchased three Cobus vehicles in preparation for implementing hardstand operations. Cobus vehicles can accommodate about 60 passengers with carry-on luggage. Hardstand operations are common at European airports, while large-size U.S. airports also implement hardstand operations when capacity exceeds the number of available gates.

SLC Airport purchased Cobus vehicles in preparation to implement hardstand operations.

“SLC is looking at alternative ways to accommodate our growing number of passengers,” said Russell Pack, acting director for the Salt Lake City Dept. of Airports. “Hardstand operations are the most effect way to transport passengers without delaying departures or arrivals.”

Of the 71 gates at SLC Airport, only 55 have jet bridges. The remaining 16 gates are designed for regional jets and unable to accommodate mainline aircraft. Airlines have been moving away from flying regional jets and increasing their use of larger aircraft. Airlines also operate banks of flights to help with connections, which means aircraft arrive within the same time frame creating a demand for gates.

Picture of a hardstand operation at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.

The New SLC Airport gates have been designed to accommodate mainline aircraft as well as regional jets, which will address the issue of gate capacity.

SLC Airport was built in 1961 to accommodate 10 million passengers and now sees more than 23 million passengers each year. As a hub operation for Delta Air Lines, SLC averages 347 daily departures to 93 nonstop destinations.

Airport Works to Preserve Wetlands

Management of the Salt Lake City International Airport extends well beyond the Airport’s terminals and taxiways. West of the Airport campus, the Salt Lake City Dept. of Airports (SLCDA) is tasked with caring for 500 acres of wetlands and wildlife.

In the early 1990s, after the Airport opened a third runway, the Army Corps of Engineers required SLCDA to create a wetlands management plan for land west of the Airport in order to mitigate the impact construction had on the existing wetlands.

Managing a large, evolving track of wetlands is no small task. Airport staff routinely work to control invasive species—such as phragmites—monitor water levels, replace wetland plants and guard the property from trespassers. The Airport also promotes wildlife habitats for antelope and deer as well as bird species such as ducks, geese and Sandhill cranes. Coordinating with nearby landowners is also a part of the Airport’s wetlands management plan.

The management of nearby wetlands is a unique responsibility that Airport takes pride in preserving.

The New SLC

If you’ve been at the SLC International Airport recently, you’ve probably seen a lot of construction underway west of the airport.

The SLC Airport is three years into construction of the Airport Redevelopment Program, which will result in a completely new airport by 2024.

SLC is overdue for a new airport. The original terminal was built 50 years ago for 10 million passengers and was not built to be a hub operation. Today, SLC sees more than 23 million passengers each year and is a hub for Delta Air Lines. The new airport design will address seismic issues. In addition, all gates will have jet bridges and will be able to accommodate larger body planes.

The New SLC is being completed in two phases. The first phase, scheduled to be finished in the fall of 2020, will include a new Parking Garage — with twice the capacity as the current parking garage — a new Terminal, Central Utility Plant and the west portions of two new concourses.

The second phase—expected to be finished in 2023/24—will begin with demolition of the existing parking garage, terminals and eventually all concourses. This will allow construction to begin on the east portions of the new concourses.

The new airport will be easier to for passengers to navigate and the design will eliminate airplane bottlenecks on the airfield, allowing airplanes to turn around and get back in the air more quickly. That means a more efficient and effective airport.

The cost of the new airport is approximately $3.1 billion. The airport will be funded by 2017 and future bonds, Passenger Facility Charges, Federal Grants, Rental Car Facility Charges, and Airport Cash. Note that no local tax dollars will be used for the project.

More information on the Airport Redevelopment Program can be found here on our website.

Canines Working at the SLC Airport

As passenger traffic continues to increase at Salt Lake City International Airport, law enforcement officers are working to keep passengers safe and secure. The Airport and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) do this with the help of explosive detection canine teams.

SLC Airport Police explosive detection canine teams patrol all areas of the airport—both inside and out—while the TSA canines screen passengers at the security checkpoints.  These specially-trained canines are an effective tool in detecting concealed explosives, which are known to be one of the greatest threat to the aviation system.

SLC Airport Police canine teams, both the handler and the dogs, go through  12 weeks of intensive training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. One of the primary responsibilities of the handler and canine is to conduct patrols throughout the Airport for explosive materials.

From left to right: SLC Airport Police Officer Casey Strasburg with Big, SLC Airport Police Officer Chris Barker with Csoki, SLC Airport Police Officer Jake Haggerty with Bobby, SLC Airport Police Officer Robert Paxton with Bruce, TSA Officer Joanne Vasek with Bruce, TSA Officer Tom Scott with Buster.


Passengers going through the security checkpoints will see passenger screening canines (PSCs) working the queues. PSCs significantly assist TSA to more efficiently screen passengers.

The canines are tethered to the handlers at all times and work in close proximity to passengers. Handlers are trained to read the canine’s behavior to determine when a possible explosive is detected.

While the first instinct for many people is to pet the dogs, passengers are asked to refrain from doing so because it interferes with the canine’s work. The handlers, on the other hand, are approachable and happy to answer questions.