Seattle–Tacoma International Airport

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Seattle–Tacoma International Airport
Sea–Tac Airport
Port of Seattle Logo.svg
Aerial KSEA May 2012.JPG
Sea-Tac Airport in May 2012, looking south
WMO: 72793
Airport type Public
Owner/Operator Port of Seattle
Serves Seattle; Tacoma, Washington, United States
Location SeaTac, Washington, United States
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 433 ft / 132 m
Coordinates Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
FAA diagram
FAA diagram
SEA is located in Washington (state)
Location in Washington
Direction Length Surface
ft m
16L/34R 11,901 3,627 Concrete
16C/34C 9,426 2,873 Concrete
16R/34L 8,500 2,591 Concrete
Statistics (2014)
Passengers 37,497,941 (7.67% up from 2013)
Aircraft movements 340,478 (7.34% up from 2013)
Air Cargo (metric tons) 319,358 (9.10% up from 2013)
Sources: FAA[1] and airport web site[2]

Seattle–Tacoma International Airport (IATA: SEAICAO: KSEAFAA LID: SEA) (Sea–Tac Airport or Sea–Tac) /ˈstæk/ is the largest airport in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is in the eponymous city of SeaTac, Washington, about twelve miles south of downtown Seattle and is the primary airport for the Seattle metropolitan area.

The airport has flights to cities throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. It is the main hub for Alaska Airlines and its regional subsidiary Horizon Air, whose headquarters are near the airport. It is a hub and international gateway to Asia and Europe for Delta Air Lines, which has expanded at Sea-Tac since 2011.

In 2014 the airport served over 37 million passengers.[3] The airport is the largest generator of vehicle trips[4] in the state and its 13,000-car parking garage is North America's largest parking structure under one roof.[5]


The airport was built by the Port of Seattle in 1944 after the U.S. military took control of Boeing Field in World War II. The Port received $1 million from the Civil Aeronautics Administration to build the airport and $100,000 from the City of Tacoma. The first scheduled airline flights were Northwest and Trans-Canada in 1947; Western and United moved from Boeing Field in the next couple of years, and Pan Am moved in 1952–53, but West Coast and successor Hughes Air West stayed at Boeing Field until 1971.

In June 1951 there were four runways at 45-degree angles, between 5,000 and 6,100 feet (1,500 and 1,900 m) long; the northeast-southwest and northwest-southeast runways intersected just west of the north-south runway that eventually became today's runway 34R. Runway 34 was lengthened to 7500 ft in 1951, to 8500 ft by 1958 and to 11900 ft by 1962. Runway 34L replaced runway 2 around 1970.

The April 1957 OAG shows 216 departures a week on United, 80 Northwest, 35 Western, 21 Trans-Canada, 20 Pan Am, 20 Pacific Northern and 10 Alaska. The first jet flights were Pan Am 707s to Honolulu via Portland (OR) in late 1959. In 1966 Scandinavian Airlines began the airport's first non-stop route to mainland Europe (Pan Am nonstops to London began around 1961). The first concourse opened in July 1959.

The two-story North Concourse (later dubbed Concourse D) added four gate positions and a new wing 600 feet (180 m) long and 30 feet (9.1 m) wide.[6] The one-story South Concourse (now Concourse A) opened in 1961, adding another 688 feet (210 m) to the length of the airport.[6] The 800-foot (240 m) long Concourse B opened in December 1964. It added eight gate positions, bringing the total to 19, a 12,000 square feet (1,100 m2) area housing international arrivals and the offices of U.S. Customs, Immigration, Public Health and the Department of Agriculture.[6] Concourse C opened in July 1966.[6] Just four years later, it was extended to include another 10 gates, bringing the total to 35.[6] The Port embarked on a major expansion plan, designed by The Richardson Associates[7] and lasting from 1967 to 1973, adding a second runway, a parking garage, two satellite terminals and other improvements. In 1973, $28-million new terminal was built over and around the 1949 structure; the new terminal quadrupled the area for public use.[6] On July 1, 1973, the Airport opened two new satellite terminals, along with an underground train system to connect them to the Main Terminal.[8] In the mid-1980s, the Main Terminal was renovated and another 150 feet (46 m) was added to the north end.[6] Concourse D was expanded in 1987 with a rotunda that added four new gates.[6] In 1993, Concourses B, C and D were renovated. The project, designed by NBBJ, included the addition of 150,000 square feet (14,000 m2) and the renovation of 170,000 square feet (16,000 m2) of space in Concourses B, C and D.[9] On June 15, 2004, the 2,102-foot (641 m) new Concourse A was unveiled with 14 new gates, a dozen new restaurants, new artwork and the airport's first moving sidewalks.[6]

Residents of the surrounding area filed lawsuits against the Port in the early 1970s, complaining of noise, vibration, smoke and other problems. The Port and the government of King County adopted the Sea-Tac Communities Plan in 1976 to address problems and guide future development. The Port spent more than $100 million over the next decade to buy homes and school buildings in the vicinity, and soundproof others nearby. In the mid-1980s, the airport participated in the airport noise-compatibility program initiated by Congress in 1979. Airport-noise contours were developed, real estate was purchased and some homes were retrofitted to achieve noise mitigation.[10]

In 1978 the U.S. ended airline regulation, and U.S. airlines were allowed to determine routes and fares without government approval. Deregulation resulted in new service to Seattle, including from TWA, then the fourth-largest U.S. airline, as well as Delta, National, and American.

After the death of U.S. Senator Henry Martin "Scoop" Jackson in 1983, the Seattle Port Commission voted to change the name of the airport to Henry M. Jackson International Airport. Denizens of Tacoma interpreted the change as an insult to their community—the second time in the airport's history that the port authorities had attempted to remove "Tacoma" from the name. The $100,000 that Tacoma had provided for the airport's construction during World War II had come with an explicit promise that the city would be included in the airport's name. The controversy was resolved after polls of Seattle and Tacoma area residents indicated their preference for the original name by margins as much as 5:1. Helen Jackson, the widow of the late Senator Henry M. Jackson, expressed her desire that their family remain neutral in the debate. With a 3–2 vote of the Port of Seattle Commission, the name was reverted to Sea-Tac in early 1984.[11]

SeaTac Airport in September 2007 as runway 16R/34L was under construction (opened November 2008)

In the late 1980s the Port of Seattle and a council representing local county governments considered the future of air traffic in the region and predicted that airport could reach capacity by 2000. The planning committee concluded in 1992 that the best solution was to add a third runway to the airport and construct a supplemental two-runway airport in one of the neighboring counties. Members of the community opposed a third runway, as did the Highline School District and the cities of Des Moines, Burien, Federal Way, Tukwila and Normandy Park, but a 1994 study concluded there were no feasible sites for an additional airport. The Port of Seattle approved a plan for the new runway in 1996, prompting a lawsuit from opponents. The Port secured the necessary permits by agreeing to noise reduction programs and environmental protections. Runway opponents appealed these permits, but dropped their challenges in 2004.

SeaTac terminals

The new 3rd runway opened on November 20, 2008, with a construction cost of $1.1 billion. Parallel to the existing two, the new runway is 2500 ft west of runway 34R, allowing landings on both in times of low visibility. The older runways are 800 ft apart, too close to allow use of both in the frequent low visibility.[12]


The three parallel runways run nearly north–south, west of the passenger terminal and are 8,500 to 11,900 feet (2,600–3,600 m) long. In 2008 the airport averaged 946 aircraft operations per day, 89% being commercial flights, 10% air taxi operations and 1% transient general aviation.[13]

Sea-Tac's control tower in 2007
The interior of Sea-Tac's control tower, commissioned in 2004, is 850ft2 (79m2). At center is a radar display; at top right is the light gun

A new control tower was built beginning in 2001 and opened November 2004, at a cost of $26 million.[14] The floor of the new tower's control cab is 233 ft (71 m) above ground level; the tower's overall height including antennas is 269 ft (82 m). The cab has 850 sq ft (79 m2) of space and was designed to support operation by ten controllers, with possible future expansion up to 15. The site and construction method of the tower were designed to maximize visibility and efficacy of radar systems. The airport's original control tower, built in the 1950s, is now located in the airport's passenger terminal and used as a ramp control tower, after being repaired from damages caused by the Nisqually earthquake in 2001.

A recurring problem at the airport is misidentification of the westernmost taxiway, Taxiway Tango, as a runway. A large "X" has been placed at the north end of the taxiway, but a number of aircraft have landed on the taxiway.[15] The FAA issued an alert notice dated from August 27, 2009, to September 24, 2009, urging airplanes about taking precautions such as REILs and other visual cues while landing from the north.

In 2007 the airport, together with the University of Illinois Center of Excellence for Airport Technology (CEAT), became the first airport to implement an avian radar system providing 24-hour monitoring of wildlife activity across the airfield. This pilot program was designed to decrease potentially fatal incidents involving collisions with birds and to provide a test bed for implementation of the technology in the US which was expected to begin in 2009. The technology is part of a strategy to reduce the presence of wildlife on the airfield.[16]

Threatened Southwest Airlines switch

Citing increased landing fees and other costs due to the work at the airport, Southwest Airlines threatened in 2005 to move to nearby Boeing Field. This plan ran into several problems. Boeing Field is a public airport and each airline would have to have equal access, requiring more capacity than available on the airport's single runway suitable for large airplanes. (Boeing Field has a parallel, smaller runway used by smaller aircraft.) Major renovations would have been required. While Southwest did indicate willingness to pay for upgrades, there were problems with the transportation infrastructure around Boeing Field, which was not designed to handle traffic in and out of a major passenger airport. It eventually became clear that Southwest Airlines would not fund the necessary transportation improvements and the plan was rejected by King County Executive Ron Sims.[17] Furthermore, there were concerns that the high costs of operating the Seattle–Tacoma International Airport would be increased even further if some airline service were moved to Boeing Field, which was expected to be less expensive to operate for the airlines.

Increased Delta Air Lines presence

Sea Tac terminal buildings with Mt. Rainier in the background

In mid-2014, Delta Air Lines announced plans to rapidly expand Seattle into a transpacific hub. Since then, Delta has added numerous flights to Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul, London and dozens of domestic flights to feed those services. By December, Delta expects to offer 95 flights to 33 destinations from Seattle. By the third quarter of 2014, Delta hopes to be the airport's largest sole source of revenue.[18] Delta's increased presence in Seattle has been seen by some industry analysts as a response to United's transpacific hub at San Francisco International Airport. Other analysts speculate that this growth also results from Delta's disenchantment with its Tokyo-Narita hub, citing Japan's diminishing importance in light of the boom in Chinese international travel and the lack of a Japanese partner airline.

Delta's rapid expansion at Seattle–Tacoma International Airport has created some controversy. Many of the new domestic services Delta started offering from Seattle to boost traffic to international flights encroach on routes that Alaska Airlines, a long-time partner of Delta, have historically operated. Additionally, Delta is currently seeking a total of 30 gates at Seattle-Tacoma, nearly triple its current 11 gates, to accommodate its planned growth.[19] As an interim solution to overcrowding, the Port of Seattle has announced the North Sea-Tac Airport Renovation project (NorthSTAR). By 2020, the North Satellite will be expanded by over 240 feet, increasing the terminal's square footage by 181,000 feet and increasing the gate count from 12 to 20.

"We’re making good progress on our discussion to upgrade the facility and to turn Seattle into a huge international gateway for Delta," Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson said on a recorded message to employees.[19] President Ed Bastian, in 2014's third quarter earnings call, stated that Delta's decision to cut seats in Cincinnati and Memphis have been producing solid results. "Seattle’s domestic performance has significantly exceeded our expectations as unit revenues increased 6 percent on a 25 percent increase in capacity, driving margin improvements year-over-year," Bastian said. Seattle airport spokesman Perry Cooper has also stated that Delta currently plans to operate around 150 flights a day by 2017.[19] This would require 19 or 20 gates, assuming the airline will operate eight flights a day from each gate. Cooper speculates that if Delta takes on 30 gates, over 240 flights a day could be operated. Ultimately, the success of Delta's growth in Seattle relies on the Port of Seattle's decisions regarding further terminal expansions and gate allocation, which is currently assigned to airlines according to a formula that utilizes their number of outbound flights.


Map of SeaTac's terminal
Central terminal with views of the runways
Alaska and United planes at the North Satellite Terminal
Interior of the D Concourse near Alaska gates D10 & D11

The airport has a Central Terminal building, which was renovated and expanded in 2003. This project was designed by Curtis W. Fentress, FAIA, RIBA of Fentress Architects. The airport also has four concourses (A, B, C, D) and two Satellite Terminals (North and South). The satellite terminals are connected to the central terminal by an underground people mover system made by Bombardier. There are five security checkpoints at Sea-Tac but one is only used during peak periods.[20] Once through security, passengers have access to all gates.

Central Terminal
  • Concourse A has 14 gates (A1–A14)[21]
  • Concourse B has 13 gates (B1, B3–B12, B14–B15)[22]
  • Concourse C has
    • 7 gates (C3, C9, C11, C15, C17–C18, C20)[23]
    • 20 parking slips (C2A–C2H, C10A–C10F, C16A–C16F)
  • Concourse D has 10 gates (D1–D5, D7–D11)[24] (D6 was removed to create space for American Boeing 757 operations at D7).
North Satellite Terminal
  • The North Satellite has 12 gates (N1–N3, N6–N11, N14–N16)
  • 6 Parking Slips (N12A–N12F)
South Satellite Terminal
Countries served by flights from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (includes seasonal and future destinations).

Airlines and destinations

Note: All international arrivals (except flights from cities with customs preclearance) are handled at the South Satellite Terminal, regardless of their departure terminal.


Airlines Destinations Concourse
Air Canada Toronto–Pearson A
Air Canada Express Vancouver
Seasonal: Calgary
Alaska Airlines Albuquerque, Anchorage, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Burbank, Charleston (SC), Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Detroit, Fairbanks, Fort Lauderdale, Honolulu, Houston–Intercontinental, Juneau, Kahului, Kailua–Kona, Kansas City, Ketchikan, Las Vegas, Lihue, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Nashville, New Orleans, New York–JFK, Newark, Oakland, Omaha (begins June 5, 2016), Ontario, Orange County, Orlando, Palm Springs, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland (OR), Raleigh/Durham, St. Louis, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose (CA), Spokane, Tampa, Tucson, Washington–Dulles, Washington–National
Seasonal: Bellingham, Cancún, Puerto Vallarta, San Jose del Cabo, Sitka
C, D, N
Alaska Airlines
operated by Horizon Air
Bellingham, Billings, Boise, Bozeman, Calgary, Edmonton, Eugene, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, Kelowna, Lewiston, Medford, Missoula, Portland (OR), Pullman, Redmond/Bend, Reno/Tahoe, Santa Rosa, Spokane, Tri-Cities (WA), Vancouver, Victoria, Walla Walla, Wenatchee, Yakima
Seasonal: Sun Valley
C, N
Alaska Airlines
operated by SkyWest Airlines
Boise, Colorado Springs, Edmonton, Fresno, Milwaukee, Oakland, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Ontario, Salt Lake City, Santa Barbara, Portland (OR)
Seasonal: Hayden/Steamboat Springs
All Nippon Airways Tokyo–Narita S
American Airlines Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, New York–JFK, Philadelphia, Phoenix D
Asiana Airlines Seoul–Incheon S
British Airways London–Heathrow S
Condor Seasonal: Frankfurt S
Delta Air Lines Amsterdam, Anchorage, Atlanta, Beijing–Capital, Boston (begins April 4, 2016),[25] Denver, Detroit, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Juneau, Kahului, Kailua–Kona, Las Vegas, London–Heathrow, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York–JFK, Orlando, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Phoenix, San Diego (begins February 12, 2016), Salt Lake City, Seoul–Incheon, Shanghai–Pudong, Tokyo–Narita
Seasonal: Cancún, Cincinnati, Portland (OR), Puerto Vallarta, San Jose del Cabo
A, B, S
Delta Connection Billings, Boise, Bozeman, Calgary, Denver (ends May 31, 2016), Edmonton, Fairbanks, Juneau (ends February 11, 2016), Las Vegas, Los Angeles (ends May 31, 2016), Missoula, Orange County (begins May 1, 2016),[26] Phoenix, Portland (OR), Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose (CA), Spokane, Tri-Cities (WA), Vancouver, Victoria (begins April 4, 2016)[25]
Seasonal: Jackson Hole, Ketchikan, Palm Springs, Sitka, Tucson
A, B, S
Emirates Dubai–International S
EVA Air Taipei–Taoyuan S
Frontier Airlines Chicago–O'Hare (begins April 14, 2016),[27] Denver, Phoenix (begins June 29, 2016)[28]
Seasonal: Cleveland
Hainan Airlines Beijing–Capital, Shanghai–Pudong S
Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu, Kahului S
Icelandair Reykjavík–Keflavík S
JetBlue Airways Boston, Long Beach, New York–JFK
Seasonal: Anchorage
Korean Air Seoul–Incheon S
Lufthansa Frankfurt S
SeaPort Airlines Moses Lake (begins March 1, 2016),[29] Port Angeles (begins March 1, 2016)[30] TBA
Southwest Airlines Austin, Baltimore, Chicago–Midway, Dallas–Love, Denver, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Oakland, Orange County, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose (CA), St. Louis (begins April 12, 2016)[31]
Seasonal: Atlanta, Houston–Hobby, Kansas City, Nashville, St. Louis (ends April 11, 2016)[32]
Spirit Airlines Las Vegas (begins April 14, 2016),[33] Los Angeles (begins March 24, 2016)[33] TBA
Sun Country Airlines Minneapolis/St. Paul A
United Airlines Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, Newark, San Francisco, Washington–Dulles
Seasonal: Los Angeles
United Express Los Angeles, San Francisco
Seasonal: Denver
Virgin America Los Angeles, San Francisco B


China Airlines Cargo Boeing 747 at Seattle/Tacoma International Airport on June 10, 2014.
Airlines Destinations
ABX Air Cincinnati
Airpac Airlines Eugene
Ameriflight Oakland
Alaska Air Cargo Anchorage, Cordova, Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka, Yakutat
Asiana Cargo Chicago–O'Hare, Seoul–Incheon
Cargolux Calgary, Glasgow–Prestwick, Luxembourg
China Airlines Cargo Anchorage, Miami, New York–JFK, Taipei–Taoyuan
China Cargo Airlines Shanghai–Pudong
EVA Air Cargo Anchorage, Dallas/Fort Worth
FedEx Express Anchorage, Dallas/Fort Worth, Fort Worth/Alliance, Indianapolis, Memphis, Oakland, Ontario, Portland (OR)
FedEx Feeder
operated by Empire Airlines
Bellingham, Burlington, Friday Harbor, Orcas Island, Port Angeles
Korean Air Cargo Seoul–Incheon
Singapore Airlines Cargo Anchorage, Hong Kong, Los Angeles



Airbus A319 – Frontier Airlines 'Sebastian the Ferruginous Hawk' (N933FR) at SeaTac with a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 in the background.
Air Canada Bombardier Dash 8-300. Unlike most international flights, which arrive at the South Satellite Terminal, flights from Vancouver and Toronto have cleared United States border preclearance, therefore passengers board at the main terminal directly.

Top destinations

Busiest domestic routes from SEA (Oct 2014 – Sep 2015)[36]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Los Angeles, California 1,046,000 Alaska, Delta, United, Virgin America
2 San Francisco, California 960,000 Alaska, Delta, United, Virgin America
3 Anchorage, Alaska 858,000 Alaska, Delta, JetBlue
4 Denver, Colorado 769,000 Alaska, Delta, Frontier, Southwest, United
5 Phoenix, Arizona 756,000 Alaska, Delta, Southwest, US Airways
6 Las Vegas, Nevada 670,000 Alaska, Delta, Southwest
7 Portland, Oregon 646,000 Alaska, Delta
8 Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 641,000 Alaska, American, United
9 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 584,000 Alaska, American
10 San Diego, California 547,000 Alaska, Delta, Southwest
Busiest short haul international routes from SEA (Jan. 2014 – Dec. 2014)[37]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Vancouver, Canada 498,453 Air Canada, Alaska, Delta
2 Victoria, Canada 183,765 Alaska
3 Calgary, Canada 171,833 Air Canada, Alaska, Delta
4 Edmonton, Canada 126,380 Alaska
5 Kelowna, Canada 95,579 Alaska
6 Toronto, Canada 78,308 Air Canada
7 Puerto Vallarta, Mexico 64,623 Alaska, Delta
8 San Jose del Cabo, Mexico 52,699 Alaska
9 Cancún, Mexico 15,925 Alaska
Busiest long haul international routes from SEA (Jan. 2014 – Dec. 2014)[37]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Seoul (Incheon), South Korea 331,611 Asiana, Delta, Korean
2 London (Heathrow), United Kingdom 329,365 British Airways, Delta
3 Tokyo (Narita), Japan 295,677 ANA, Delta, United
4 Amsterdam, Netherlands 248,483 Delta
5 Beijing, China 212,513 Delta, Hainan
6 Dubai (International), United Arab Emirates 212,151 Emirates
7 Frankfurt, Germany 172,038 Condor, Lufthansa
8 Taipei, Taiwan 154,135 EVA
9 Paris, France 122,949 Delta
10 Shanghai, China 114,297 Delta, Hainan
11 Reykjavik, Iceland 105,382 Icelandair
12 Hong Kong, China 72,033 Delta
13 Tokyo (Haneda), Japan 54,119 Delta
Airline market share
Largest airlines at SEA (Oct 2014 – Sep 2015)[37]
Rank Airline Passengers Share
1 Alaska Airlines 14,342,000 40.95%
2 Delta Air Lines 4,370,000 12.48%
3 Horizon Air 4,029,000 11.51%
4 Southwest Airlines 3,080,000 8.79%
5 United Airlines 2,684,000 7.66%

Annual traffic

Annual passenger traffic (enplaned + deplaned) at SEA, 1966 through 2014[38][39]
Year Passengers Year Passengers Year Passengers Year Passengers Year Passengers Year Passengers
2010 31,553,166 2000 28,408,553 1990 16,240,309 1980 9,194,650 1970 4,653,443
2009 31,227,512 1999 27,705,488 1989 15,241,258 1979 9,820,419 1969 4,804,928
2008 32,196,528 1998 25,863,466 1988 14,495,519 1978 8,367,977 1968 4,434,778
2007 31,295,822 1997 24,730,113 1987 14,445,482 1977 7,332,443 1967 3,853,607
2006 29,996,424 1996 24,324,596 1986 13,642,666 1976 6,806,748 1966 2,822,007
2005 29,289,026 1995 22,773,986 1985 11,466,755 1975 6,112,423
2014 37,498,267 2004 28,804,554 1994 20,972,819 1984 10,476,630 1974 5,772,216
2013 34,826,741 2003 26,799,913 1993 18,800,524 1983 10,141,737 1973 5,205,093
2012 33,223,111 2002 26,738,558 1992 17,962,217 1982 9,278,737 1972 4,788,962
2011 32,823,220 2001 27,036,073 1991 16,313,289 1981 9,117,630 1971 4,697,605

Ground transportation and access

Interstate 5 and its offshoot Interstate 405 intersect very close to the airport and most people use private vehicles to arrive at the airport. Parking facilities are vast and public transportation to the airport is somewhat limited (though less so since the introduction of light rail to Seattle) due to its distance from downtown Seattle and as well as downtown Tacoma.

Seattle's Central Link light-rail line serves the airport at the SeaTac/Airport Station, which opened on December 19, 2009.[40]

The airport is also served both by the King County Metro bus system and Sound Transit regional express buses. Taxis (exclusively serviced by Yellow Cab), rental cars and door-to-door shuttle service (serviced by Shuttle Express) are available. All public transit services are located at the end of baggage claim next to door 00.[41] Bellair Charters also services Yakima and Bellingham. Free parking for the first thirty minutes was discontinued in the mid-1990s.

There is also a scheduled bus service to downtown Vancouver, Canada, through Quick Shuttle, with other pick-up stops at downtown Seattle, Bellingham International Airport, and drop-off stops just inside the Canadian–U.S. boundary and at the Vancouver International Airport.[42]

Rental car facility

A 23-acre (9.3 ha) rental car facility opened on May 17, 2012.[43][44] The facility is located at the northeastern portion of the airport at the intersection of South 160th Street and International Boulevard South. The facility has 5,400 parking spaces[45] and can handle up to 14,000 transactions per day.[45] After the opening of the facility, 3,200 parking spaces in the central parking structure were opened up for general use.[46] Passengers reach the facility on a five-minute trip aboard one of 29 Gillig CNG buses.[45] Previously, only Alamo, Avis, Sixt, Budget, Hertz and National had cars on site; Advantage, Dollar, Enterprise, Thrifty, EZ Rent-A-Car and Fox Rent A Car ran shuttles to off-site locations. Payless Car Rental now has a presence. Customers of Rent-a-Wreck must ride the shuttle to the facility and then board one of the company's shuttles to Rent-a-Wreck's office.[45]

The facility was originally scheduled to open in spring 2011.[47] However, construction was suspended on December 15, 2008, by vote of the Port of Seattle Commission[48] and did not begin again until June 2009.[46][49]

Live music

In 2013, SeaTac launched a program centered around the local music scene, giving local musicians the opportunity to perform in different locations throughout the airport. It has since become a near-daily staple for Seattle-area musicians. The airport hosts an additional 30 entertainers on site along with the daily music program during the Christmas holiday season.

Future development

The South Satellite Terminal has reached its maximum capacity for handling international passengers in terms of immigration check stands as well as customs declaration. The existing facility is used to its full potential yet it continues to be packed with people arriving. Plans have been made for major expansions, such as adding two new baggage claims, as well as increasing from 20 to 30 immigration inspection booths.[50] There is no certainty right now, but there is a plan for a skybridge or tunnel over to the main terminal at Concourse A where passengers will use a new international arrivals area. This is a possible solution to the double claim problem for baggage as well.[50]

The North Satellite Renovation Plan (NorthSTAR)

The North Satellite Terminal has only received limited upgrades and is in need of modernization. The NorthSTAR renovation project includes The North Satellite terminal renovation and several other projects including main terminal improvements, refurbished north satellite baggage systems, and new exterior walkways, stairs and elevators.[51]

Accidents and incidents

  • November 30, 1947: Alaska Airlines Flight 9, a Douglas C-54A en route to Seattle from Anchorage, Alaska, landed in heavy fog and damp conditions after failed attempts at nearby Boeing Field and Paine Field in Everett. The plane touched down 2,748 ft (838 m) beyond the approach area to Runway 20 and sped onto a nearby road, colliding with an automobile and bursting into flames. Nine fatalities resulted from the accident, including a blind woman riding in the car.[52]
  • April 2, 1956: Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 2, a Boeing 377 Stratocruiser headed to Portland International Airport in Portland, Oregon and points east, experienced reduced power and extreme buffeting shortly after take-off due to an improper setting of the airplane's cowl flaps by the flight engineer. Plans were initially made to land at McChord Air Force Base, but the pilot was forced to make a water landing in Puget Sound east of Maury Island. The plane sank within 15 minutes. Five of the 38 on board died.[53]
  • November 24, 1971: Northwest Airlines Flight 305, a Boeing 727 flying to Sea-Tac from Portland International Airport, was hijacked by D. B. Cooper. Cooper released the passengers after landing in exchange for $200,000 and four parachutes, ordered the plane back into the air and jumped out over Southwest Washington with the money.[54] To this day, neither Cooper or the $200,000 has been found.
  • January 20, 1983: Northwest Airlines Flight 608, a Boeing 727 flying from Sea-Tac to Portland, was hijacked. The man told a flight attendant that he had a bomb and demanded to be taken to Afghanistan. Federal agents stormed the plane after it landed in Portland for refueling. The hijacker was killed and the box he carried revealed no explosives.[55]
  • April 15, 1988: Horizon Air Flight 2658, a twin-engine de Havilland Canada Dash-8 departing for the Spokane International Airport, experienced a power loss in the number two engine shortly after takeoff. While the crew lowered the gear for landing as they returned to the airport, a massive fire broke out in the right engine nacelle, resulting in a loss of braking and directional control. After touchdown, the aircraft veered off the runway and crossed the ramp, colliding with two jetways before coming to a stop against a third. The aircraft was destroyed by fire on impact. Four of the 37 passengers were seriously injured, but there were no fatalities.[56][57]

See also


  1. FAA Airport Master Record for SEA (Form 5010 PDF), effective July 5, 2007.
  2. "Sea-Tac international airport". Port of Seattle.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (official site)
  3. "Airport Statistics: 2011 Airport Activity Highlights". Port of Seattle. Retrieved October 22, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "SR 509: Corridor Completion/I-5/South Access Road Final Environmental Impact Statement" (PDF). WSDOT. Retrieved May 4, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Airport Parking Garage". Port of Seattle. Retrieved Jan 1, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 "Main Terminal". Port of Seattle.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "AIA Seattle Honor Awards: projects cited 1950–". AIA Seattle, A Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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External links