Seattle–Tacoma International Airport
|Seattle–Tacoma International Airport
|Sea-Tac Airport from the air, looking south.|
|IATA: SEA – ICAO: KSEA – FAA LID: SEA|
|Operator||Port of Seattle|
|Serves||Seattle; Tacoma, Washington, U.S.|
|Location||SeaTac, Washington, U.S.|
|Elevation AMSL||433 ft / 132 m|
|Passengers||33,223,111 (1.22% up from 2,011)|
|Aircraft movements||309,597 (1.70% down from 2,011)|
|Air Cargo (metric tons)||283,500 (1.39% up from 2,011)|
|Sources: FAA and airport web site|
The Seattle–Tacoma International Airport (IATA: SEA, ICAO: KSEA, FAA LID: SEA), also known as Sea–Tac Airport or Sea–Tac (pron.: //), is an American airport. It is located in SeaTac, Washington, at the intersections of State Routes 99, 509, and 518, about 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometres) west of Interstate 5. It serves the cities of Seattle and Tacoma, as well as the rest of western Washington state.
The airport has service to destinations throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East and East Asia. It is the primary hub for Alaska Airlines, whose headquarters is located near the airport, and its regional subsidiary Horizon Air.
In 2012, the airport served over 33.2 million passengers, making it the 16th-busiest airport in the United States. It ranks 23rd in total aircraft operations and 21st in total cargo volume. The airport is the largest generator of vehicle trips in the state, and its 13,000-car parking garage is recognized as the world's largest parking structure under one roof.
The top-five carriers at the airport in number of passengers carried between December 2011-November 2012 were Alaska Airlines (39.07%), Horizon Air (12.88%), Delta Air Lines (10.26%), United Airlines (9.94%) and Southwest Airlines (9.74%).
||This section needs additional citations for verification. (October 2011)|
The airport was constructed by the Port of Seattle in 1944 to serve civilians of the region, after the U.S. military took control of Boeing Field for use 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 in 1952–53, but West Coast stayed at Boeing Field until after the Hughes merger. Two years later "international" was added to the airport's name as Northwest Airlines began direct service to Tokyo, Japan. In 1951 four runways were at 45-degree angles, from 5,000 to 6,100 ft long; the NE-SW and NW-SE runways intersected just west of the N-S runway that eventually became today's runway 34R. The runway was lengthened twice, first in 1959 to allow jets and in 1961 to handle traffic for the upcoming Century 21 World's Fair.
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. In 1966 Scandinavian Airlines inaugurated the airport's first non-stop route to mainland Europe. The first concourse opened in July 1959. The two-story North Concourse (later dubbed Concourse D) added four new gate positions and a new wing 600-feet long and 30-feet wide. The one-story South Concourse (aka Concourse A) opened in 1961 adding another 688 feet to the length of the airport. The 800-foot-long Concourse B opened in December 1964. It added eight gate positions, bringing the total to 19, a 12,000 square-foot area housed international arrivals, and the offices of U.S. Customs, Immigration, Public Health and the Department of Agriculture. Concourse C opened in July 1966. Just four years later, it was extended to include another 10 gates, bringing the total to 35. The Port embarked on a major expansion plan, designed by The Richardson Associates and lasting from 1967 to 1973, adding a second runway, a parking garage, two satellite terminals, and other improvements. A $28-million new terminal literally swallowed up the old 1949 structure; it was built over and around it. Opened in the 1973, the new terminal quadrupled the area for public use. On July 1, 1973, the Airport dedicated two new satellite terminals along with an underground train system to connect them to the Main Terminal. In the mid-1980s, the Main Terminal was renovated and another 150 feet was added to the north end. Concourse D was expanded in 1987 with a rotunda that added four new gates. In 1993, Concourses B. C, and D were renovated. The project, designed by NBBJ, included the addition of 150,000 square feet and the renovation of 170,000 square feet of space in Concourses B. C, and D. On June 15, 2004, the 2,102-foot renovated Concourse A was unveiled with 14 new airline gates, a dozen new restaurants, new artwork and the airport’s first moving sidewalk.
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.
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 TWA, the fourth-largest U.S. airline.
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 official name. But 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 regarding the name change was resolved after several polls of both 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 long-standing moniker, and the name reverted to Sea-Tac early in 1984.
Starting 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 strongly 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. The runway opened on November 20, 2008, with a total construction cost of $1.1 billion.
The three parallel runways run nearly north–south, west of the passenger terminal, and are 8,500 ft (2,600 m) to 11,900 ft (3,600 m) long. During 2008 the airport averaged 946 aircraft operations per day, 89% being commercial flights, 10% air taxi operations, and 1% transient general aviation.
A new control tower was built beginning in 2001 and opened November 2004, at a cost of $26 million. 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 ground 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 to prevent confusion, but a number of aircraft have landed on the taxiway. 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 avian collisions and 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.
Southwest Airlines controversy 
Citing increased landing fees and other costs due to the aforementioned 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 commercial airplanes. (Boeing Field has a parallel, smaller runway used by general-aviation airplanes.) Major renovations to the airport would have been required. While Southwest did indicate willingness to pay for upgrades to the airport, there were also 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 shot down by King County Executive Ron Sims. 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.
Terminals, airlines, and destinations 
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, with four concourses (A–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 three main checkpoints at Sea-Tac and a fourth that is opened as needed during peak periods. Once through security, passengers have access to all gates.
- Central Terminal
- Concourse A has 14 gates (A1–A14)
- Concourse B has 13 gates (B1, B3–B12, B14, B15)
- Concourse C has
- 10 gates (C9–C12, C14–C18, C20)
- 12 parking slips (C2B–C2H, C2J–C2M)
- Concourse D has 10 gates (D1–D5, D7-D11) (D6 was removed to create space for American 757 operations at D7)
- North Satellite Terminal
- The North Satellite has 14 gates (N1–N3, N6–N11, N13-N16)
- Five Parking Slips (N12A-N12D, N12F)
- South Satellite Terminal
- The South Satellite has
- 13 gates (S1–S12, S15)
- 4 parking slips (S16A–S16D)
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities for international arrivals
Note: All international arrivals (except flights from cities with customs preclearance) are handled at the South Satellite Terminal, regardless of their departure terminal.
- ^1 Moves to D, May 2013
- ^2 Moves to B, May 2013
- ^3 Moves to S, May 2013
- ^4 Moves to A, May 2013
- ^5 Adds parking slips N12A-F, May 2013
|1||Vancouver International Airport||Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada||370,431||Air Canada Express, Horizon|
|2||Narita International Airport||Tokyo, Japan||310,004||Delta, United|
|3||Incheon International Airport||Seoul, South Korea||259,722||Asiana, Korean Air|
|4||Amsterdam Airport Schiphol||Amsterdam, Netherlands||232,722||Delta|
|5||London Heathrow Airport||London, England, United Kingdom||184,364||British Airways|
|6||Victoria International Airport||Victoria, British Columbia, Canada||167,478||Horizon|
|7||Beijing Capital International Airport||Beijing, China||153,638||Delta, Hainan|
|8||Frankfurt Airport||Frankfurt, Germany||152,734||Condor, Lufthansa|
|9||Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport||Taipei, Taiwan||140,339||EVA Air|
|10||Calgary International Airport||Calgary, Alberta, Canada||139,170||Air Canada Express, Horizon|
|1||San Francisco, CA||773,000||Alaska, United, Virgin America|
|2||Denver, CO||759,000||Alaska, Frontier, Southwest, United|
|3||Los Angeles, CA||730,000||Alaska, United, Virgin America|
|4||Anchorage, AK||713,000||Alaska, United|
|5||Chicago, IL (O'Hare)||634,000||Alaska, American, United|
|6||Phoenix, AZ||618,000||Alaska, Southwest, US Airways|
|7||Las Vegas, NV||554,000||Alaska, Southwest|
|8||Dallas/Fort Worth, TX||506,000||Alaska, American|
|9||Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN||499,000||Alaska, Delta, Sun Country|
|10||Portland, OR||485,000||Alaska, United|
Other services 
Cargo operations 
||This section needs additional citations for verification. (April 2013)|
Ground transportation and access 
The airport is also served both by the King County Metro bus system and Sound Transit regional express buses. Taxis, rental cars and door-to-door shuttle service are available. All public transit services are located at the end of baggage claim next to door 00. Taxis and door-to-door shuttle services are located on the third floor of the parking garage in the Ground Transportation center. Yellow Cab has the exclusive taxi contract with the Port of Seattle to operate at the airport. The exclusive contract for "for hire" limo services is held by STILA (Seattle Tacoma International Limo Association). Shuttle Express is the only on demand door-to-door shuttle service operating out of the airport, with service covering Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, and the Eastside. Shuttle Express also provides limos, town cars, and buses on a charter basis. 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.
Rental car facility 
A 23-acre (93,000 m2) rental car facility opened on May 17, 2012. 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 and can handle up to 14,000 transactions per day. After the opening of the facility, 3,200 parking spaces in the central parking structure were opened up for general use. Passengers reach the facility on a five minute trip aboard one of 29 Gillig CNG buses. Previously, only Alamo, Avis, 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.
The facility was originally scheduled to open in Spring 2011. However, construction was suspended on December 15, 2008, by vote of the Port of Seattle Commission and did not begin again until June 2009.[dubious ]
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 and increasing immigration inspection booths from 20 to 30. There is no certainty right now, but there is even a plan for a skybridge or tunnel over to the main terminal at Concourse A where passengers will have a new area. This is a possible solution to the double claim problem for baggage as well.
Incidents and accidents 
- November 30, 1947: Alaska Airlines Flight 009, 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 and the impact. Four of the 37 passengers were seriously injured, but there were no fatalities.
- January 16, 2013: Alaska Airlines Flight 819, a Boeing 737-800 registration N590AS arriving from Kailua-Kona International Airport, arrived at Sea-Tac with the help of Oregon based fighter jets after FBI in Honolulu received a false bomb threat.
See also 
- FAA Airport Master Record for SEA ( PDF), effective July 5, 2007.
- "SEA-TAC INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT". Port of Seattle. (official site)
- "Airport Statistics: 2011 Airport Activity Highlights". Port of Seattle. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
- "SR 509: Corridor Completion/I-5/South Access Road Final Environmental Impact Statement". WSDOT. Retrieved May 4, 2013.
- "Airport Parking Garage". Port of Seattle. Retrieved May 4, 2013.
- "2009 Seattle–Tacoma International Airport Activity Report" (PDF). Port of Seattle. Retrieved July 3, 2012.
- "Main Terminal". Port of Seattle.
- "AIA Seattle Honor Awards: projects cited 1950-". AIA Seattle, A Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
- "North and South Satellites". Port of Seattle.
- International Academy of Architecture (1995). World Architecture (London: Grosvenor Press International, Ltd.) (35–36).
- C. Michael Hogan, Ballard George et al., Residential noise insulation at Seattle Tacoma International Airport, Earth Metrics Inc., published by the Federal Aviation Administration and Seattle Tacoma International Airport (1984).
- Associated Press (March 5, 1984). "Airport Name Is Reinstated". The New York Times.
- "KSEA: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport". AirNav, LLC. 20 September 2012.
- "Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA/KSEA), United States of America". Airport Technology.
- Bowermaster, David (November 13, 2005). "Pilots Mistake Taxiway for Runway at Sea-Tac". The Seattle Times. Retrieved September 17, 2008.
- "Visual 16C Approach". National Aeronautical Charting Office (part of the Federal Aviation Administration).[dead link]
- "Wildlife Management". Port of Seattle. Retrieved July 3, 2012.
- Langston, Jennifer; Holt, Gordy (October 11, 2005). "Plan Won't Fly: Sims Kills Southwest's Boeing Field Hopes". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved October 11, 2005.
- "Sea-Tac Airport: Traveler Information". Port of Seattle. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
- "Concourse A". Port of Seattle.
- "Concourse B". Port of Seattle.
- "Concourse C". Port of Seattle.
- "Concourse D". Port of Seattle.
- "Alaska Airlines Announces Twice-Daily Service Between Seattle and Salt Lake City" (Press release). Alaska Airlines. November 1, 2012.
- "Horizon Air Retiring Its Public Brand and Adopting Alaska Airlines' Eskimo". Alaska Air Group (Press release). January 25, 2011.
- "Delta, Alaska Announce Seattle Expansion" (Press release). Delta Air Lines. October 8, 2012. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
- "Delta Thanks U.S. Department of Transportation for Approval of New Service Between Seattle and Tokyo-Haneda" (Press release). Delta Air Lines. February 5, 2013. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
- "JetBlue to Give Alaska Customers a New Option With Debut of Anchorage - Seattle Route" (Press release). JetBlue Airways. November 16, 2012. Unknown parameter
- "U.S. International Air Passenger and Freight Statistics Report". 2011. Retrieved December 3, 2012.
- "Seattle, WA: Seattle/Tacoma International (SEA)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
- "Destination Map". Kenmore Air. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- "Light Rail Service Begins to Sea-Tac Airport". The Seattle Times. Associated Press. December 19, 2009. Retrieved July 3, 2012.
- "Public Transit". Port of Seattle. Retrieved July 3, 2012.
- "Taxis and Limos". Port of Seattle. Retrieved July 3, 2012.
- "Bus/Shuttle/Courtesy". Port of Seattle. Retrieved July 3, 2012.
- "Quick Shuttle: Vancouver to/from Seattle". Quick Shuttle. Retrieved July 3, 2012.
- "Rental Car Facility Breaks the Ribbon Before Opening Under Budget". Port of Seattle. May 6, 2012. Retrieved May 18, 2012.
- "Consolidated Rental Car Facility". Port of Seattle. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- Gillie, John (May 10, 2012). "Rental Car Facility to Open At Sea-Tac". The News Tribune. Retrieved May 18, 2012.
- Cohen, Aubrey (June 14, 2010). "Sea-Tac Airport Tops Off Rental Car Facility". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved June 14, 2010.
- Young, Bob (February 26, 2008). "Port of Seattle To Start Up Rental-Car Center". The Seattle Times. Retrieved February 26, 2008.
- "Port Commission Votes To Suspend Construction on Rental Car Facility". Port of Seattle. December 15, 2008. Retrieved August 23, 2010.
- "Sea-Tac Airport: Positive Economic Sign: Rental Car Facility Construction Starts Back Up". Port of Seattle. July 22, 2009. Retrieved July 22, 2009.
- Van Berkel, Jessie (July 10, 2011). "Fix in the Works for Big Sea-Tac Bottleneck". The Seattle Times. Retrieved July 3, 2012.
- "The Stories Behind the Stones". Grave Spotlight. Retrieved July 3, 2012.
- Black, Bruce R. (March 29, 2006). "Plane Crashed Near Des Moines Fifty Years Ago". Ballard News-Tribune. Retrieved July 3, 2012.
- "CRIME: The Bandit Who Went Out into the Cold". Time Magazine. December 6, 1971. Retrieved July 3, 2012.
- "18 Injured in Seattle Plane Crash". The New York Times. Associated Press. April 16, 1988. Retrieved March 2, 2012.
- "Aircraft Accident Report—Horizon Air, Inc., deHavilland DHC-8, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Seattle, Washington, April 15, 1988" (PDF). National Transportation Safety Board. March 6, 1989. Retrieved March 2, 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport|
- Official website at Port of Seattle website
- Seattle–Tacoma International Airport at WSDOT Aviation
- HistoryLink.org Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History – Detailed articles on the history of the airport.
- (PDF), effective May 2, 2013
- FAA Terminal Procedures for SEA, effective May 2, 2013
- Resources for this airport: