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Delta Air Lines broke ground Monday for a new $20 million hangar that will be constructed adjacent to Delta's Marketing Services Complex at 3842 W. 1200 North, northwest of Salt Lake City International Airport.

Gov. Norm Bangerter, Mayor Palmer DePaulis and other civic and business leaders joined Julian May, Delta's vice president of technical operations, in launching the new complex that will be used for aircraft maintenance and cabin servicing and housekeeping."Long before our merger with Western Airlines was finalized, we saw the need for expanded facilities here in Salt Lake City one of our system's most important hubs," May told the gathering.

"And we planned for them, announcing a new marketing and reservations facility and this hangar well over a year ago."

May said the facilities Delta has built in Salt Lake since the Delta/Western merger a year ago this month are important to the Atlanta-based Delta but also to the local economy.

"This work, and the flights and services that it supports, is important to Salt Lake City and to Utah as you move your economy forward," he said.

Fred Rollins, Delta's district director of marketing for Salt Lake City, agreed with May, saying Delta's local hub operations will be strengthened by completion of the new hangar and that means important economic benefits for the city.

"Extensive air service is a major selling point for any community seeking to expand its economic base," Rollins said. "With more than 150 flights each day on Delta, Salt Lake City can claim a service pattern on par with nearly any city in the nation.

"The construction of this complex is very important to Delta's ability to maintain and expand its levels of service to and from Salt Lake City."

The new 105,000-square-foot hangar due for completion later this year will include support shops, offices, spare parts storage, aircraft aprons and access taxiways. It will house up to four jets at a time depending on their size.

The hangar groundbreaking follows the opening two weeks ago of Delta's new training facility for travel agents who use its DATAS II/DeltaStar computerized reservations system. Some 5,000 agents per year are expected to train at the facility located in the Salt Lake International Center west of the airport.

Delta's Salt Lake hub the third largest in its system operates some 150 flights daily with 23,000 available seats. The hub allows Utahns non-stop or one-stop flights between Salt Lake and 72 cities, access that Rollins says provides a "meaningful boost" for the state's business prospects.

The Salt Lake hub is growing in popularity, said Rollins, with passenger boardings up 8 percent last December over combined Western/Delta boardings in December 1986.

Including the marketing-training and reservations facility Delta opened last year and the renovation planned for its airport facilities this year (at a cost of $11 million), by year's end Delta will have spent some $40 million in construction and upgrading in Salt Lake since the April 1987 merger.

The airport renovation project includes modernization of four gates on Concourse B obtained from America West, and areas on Concourses C and D will be updated with a new group room and information counters.

Delta will also install an improved flight information display system to assist the public and gate personnel. The computerized system will provide up-to-the-minute flight information.

Rollins said many of the $11 million in improvements won't be noticed by travelers, including computerized baggage handling and conveyor systems and an air system that will allow planes on the ground to be cooled without use of their own power units.