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New Sea-Tac Airport international terminal breaks ground

The $766 million project will more than double passenger capacity

A rendering of the new International Arrivals Facility.
Via Port of Seattle

In 2019, Sea-Tac Airport’s international arrivals should have a much smoother traveling experience. The Port of Seattle broke ground this week on a brand-new terminal in an effort to relieve congestion amid increasing international traffic.

The current facility, built in the 1970s (and referred to as “vintage” on the Port’s website), is servicing more flights than ever, and customs is beyond capacity, according to the Port. They say customs traffic has increased by 117 percent in the last ten years.

The problem’s gotten so bad that sometimes arrivals are held on their plans because of a lack of capacity, Sea-Tac Airport manager Lance Lyttle told KUOW.

What the Port’s calling the new International Arrivals Facility will be built to the east of what is now Concourse A, and will add 450,000 square feet of space and more double passenger capacity. Passport check positions will expand from 30 to 80, and bag claim carousels will increase from three to seven—and the carousels themselves will be more than twice the size.

An aerial walkway (the port calls it “iconic”) will connect the facility to Concourse A, rising 85 feet above the current taxi line. International arrivals will use this walkway to get to customs.

The whole project, which is seeking LEED Silver certification, will cost $766 million. Funding, the port says, comes from airport revenues, passenger facility charges (ticket fees, capped at $4.50 per flight segment by the FAA), and revenue bonds.

The Port estimates the new facility will open in the last quarter of 2019.