U.S. Representative Adam Smith, King County Executive Dow Constantine, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian, executives from Hainan Airlines and Alaska Airlines, and local labor representatives were on hand to officially break ground on the new $766 million facility.
The new International Arrivals Facility will address many of the Port of Seattle’s concerns over the current facility. Since 2004, the mid-day peak congestion in the current International Arrivals Facility has increased by 116 percent with as many as 1,200 passengers arriving within a single hour on flights from across the world, all waiting to clear customs. This can often lead airlines to hold passengers on board aircraft after lengthy overseas flights while waiting for room at a gate or for customs lines to thin out.
The new facility, which is slated for completion in late 2019, will address these problems in a functional and interesting way. “We are going to have a real iconic bridge going from this new facility over into the existing satellite,” said Lance Lyttle, executive director at the airport. “It is going to be 85 feet high and it is going to span 900 feet across the taxi way so the jumbo jets will actually be taxiing under it.”
This project is just one of many over the next five years that the Port of Seattle estimates to spend $3 billion on, including major airport improvements like the expansion and redesign of the north satellite, which already is underway. Also on the horizon is a reconstruction of the center runway, a possible addition of dining space in the central terminal, and a centralized baggage system.