Seattle’s boom has made Sea-Tac a busier place, particularly at the south terminal where international passengers arrive after long flights. But that terminal was built in the 1970s.
The Port of Seattle is starting a nearly $800 million project to replace it.
It’s summer, and the world is once again beating a path to Seattle’s door.
Domestic passengers are elbowing each other for places to plug in their phone, but it’s a world of hurt over in the south satellite, where planes from Asia and Europe unload their passengers.
Lyttle: “They arrive here and guess what? We have to hold them on the airplane because we don’t have enough gates.”
This is Lance Lyttle, manager of Sea-Tac Airport.
Lyttle: “So after we hold them on the airplane, now we have to hold them in the corridors. The airport is a reflection of the growth. The airport can be a bottleneck to the growth and we don’t want that. We actually want to accommodate it.”
Airlines have been complaining about the south terminal for years. They, along with passengers, will pay fees for the new one, which will be more than double the old capacity.
Joel Chusid is director of Hainan Airlines in the U.S. He says it is time.
Chusid: “Last week we had to hand out some water to people who were waiting for an hour and a half.”
That was just to get through security.
Chusid: “You can imagine how people feel. And this is their first introduction to the United States in many cases, so it’s not a very nice welcome.”
But a lot of Sea-Tac is beginning to look strained.
The Port also plans to spend on remodeling.
More places, at last, to plug in.