Earthquake Requires Temporary Closure of SLC Airport

Seismic event on March 18 prompts runway and tower check, halting traffic.

Salt Lake City Airport
The Salt Lake City Airport has been undergoing significant construction in recent months to update infrastructure.Courtesy of SLC Airport

A 5.7-magnitude earthquake knocked out power in Utah and required the temporary closure of Salt Lake City International Airport (KSLC). The seismic event on March 18 prompted runway and control-tower checks, halting air traffic arriving and departing the airport. The earthquake, centered about 10 miles west of the city near Magna, Utah, began at 7:09 a.m., according to news reports.

The SLC airport first tweeted its status at 10:13 a.m. mountain daylight time that day, indicating the roads to the airport had been closed, followed by a status update that the tower was “not currently operational,” and that the tower, concourses, terminals had been evacuated. Inbound flights were diverted to alternate airports, and departing flights halted while the infrastructure around the airport underwent approximately 3 hours of checks. A water line was damaged on Concourse D and subsequently repaired, and the airport reopened to passengers.

The FAA updated the airport’s status on Wednesday afternoon, noting the placement of a temporary mobile tower in the event that the permanent tower cannot be used for an extended period of time. Salt Lake City Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) is operating out of the Salt Lake Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) for the time being.