SLC International commemorates 100-year anniversary

Salt Lake City— The year was 1920 and World War I had just ended, women had gained the right to vote and a jazz musician named Louis Armstrong was becoming a household name. Meanwhile, on a cold, windswept plain near the Great Salt Lake, a group of visionaries gathered to break ground on Salt Lake City’s first permanent airplane landing field that came to be known as Woodward Field.

Fast forward 100 years, and Woodward Field has grown into what is now the gateway to Utah—the Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC). Prior to the pandemic, SLC was ranked the 23rd busiest airport in North America and the 85th busiest in the world. In 2019, the airport saw record-breaking numbers of more than 26 million passengers and more than 370 flights departed daily to 99 nonstop destinations, including Amsterdam, London and Paris. SLC recently added a major milestone to the airport’s timeline by opening Phase I of The New SLC— the first new large hub airport to be built in the United States in the 21st Century.

“Over our airport’s 100-year history, it has contributed to many life stories,” said Bill Wyatt, executive director, Salt Lake City Department of Airports. “As we embark on the next 100 years, it is our hope that travelers and staff will continue to make rich memories, just as the millions of people over the past century did before them.”

To commemorate its Centennial, SLC has released an airport history book titled, “From Air Mail Outpost to International Hub,” written by Salt Lake researcher and writer Bim Oliver. The book captures the history of the airport from its early beginnings in 1920 through the current day, including 2020 when the airport made history with the opening of Phase I of The New SLC Airport.

In addition, a 50-minute film has been produced that tells the story of the airport’s first passengers and documents the construction of the new airport. The documentary is the culmination of nearly five years of filming by Utah’s Avalanche Studios, which produced 36 video vignettes to educate and inform viewers of the construction progress.

In recognition of the SLC’s Centennial, Governor Gary R. Herbert has proclaimed Dec. 21 as Aviation Day in Utah. As noted in the proclamation, Woodward Field’s dedication “marked the development of an important epoch in our history.”

Both the book and video are available at The community is also invited to share their memories, stories and/or photos of the airport on the airport’s website at