Seattle’s international airport invests for its record-breaking growth

Seattle’s growing popularity, both as a business hub and tourism destination, underpins the commitment by the Port of Seattle to invest $2.0 billion (£1.48 billion*) on infrastructure developments at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac) through to 2022.

Sea-Tac, Seattle’s international gateway airport, is slightly ahead of Gatwick in passenger numbers but is expanding much faster. It has enjoyed record breaking growth in passenger numbers of 41% over the last five years, rising from 33.2 million a year in 2012 to 46.9 million a year in 2017. From January through June of 2018 Europe traffic (including the UK and Ireland) is up over 30% from the previous year.

This major investment programme focuses on the following large infrastructure improvements:

  • A new International Arrivals Facility will double passenger capacity to 2,600 an hour with more baggage carousels, faster passport check clearance and it will reduce connection times from 90 to 75 minutes.
  • Expansion and renovation of the North Satellite adds eight new gates and doubles the dining and retail section.
  • A renovation to add 10,000 sq ft to the Central Terminal dining area.


Rendering of new International Arrivals Facility 

More Dining, more retail

The Port of Seattle is in the middle of a long-term dining and retail redevelopment programme.  New brands for food, drink and retail reflecting Pacific Northwest lifestyles will be introduced, joining existing outlets such as Made in Washington which is brimming with local artisan made arts and crafts and Sub Pop which celebrates Seattle and the Pacific Northwest’s music legacy.  Sub Pop sells vinyl records, music and music themed clothing and is part of Sub Pop Records – a record label based in Seattle that recorded the early releases by Nirvana, Mudhoney and Soundgarden.

The full list of Sea-Tac shops is available at


Music brings the heart and soul

As music is so intrinsically entwined in Seattle’s soul, it is also showcased at Sea-Tac. Introduced in 2012, the Experience the City of Music Programme is a cooperative effort by the Port of Seattle, the Office of Film + MusicSeattle Music Commission and PlayNetwork. It showcases the Northwest’s diverse music culture and enhances the experience of millions of travellers who pass through the airport. Travellers experience live performances seven days a week at locations throughout the terminal and overhead music exclusively by more than 240 Northwest artists. Music-themed art exhibits are curated by MoPOP (Museum of Pop Culture).


Musicians at Sea-Tac

Musicians at Sea-Tac


Rail to the centre of Seattle

Sound Transit’s Link Light-Rail extends from Sea-Tac to the University of Washington. With stops in South Seattle neighbourhoods, the stadium district, the International District/Chinatown and downtown locations, it’s a great option for travellers coming to or from the airport.

The Link Light-Rail service runs from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 6 a.m. to midnight on Sundays. Trains arrive and depart every 6 to 15 minutes, depending on the time of day, and take around 35 minutes to get into the centre of Seattle. The service costs just $3 (£2.22*) and payment is taken at the station via credit card or cash.


Light Rail at the airport


Seattle is the gateway to the Pacific Northwest

Sea-Tac International Airport serves as the gateway to Seattle, Washington State and the wider Pacific Northwest for air travellers. It is the 9th busiest airport in the USA, hosting 46.9 million passengers in 2017. Sea-Tac has 34 airlines serving 91 non-stop domestic and 28 international destinations including Canada, Mexico and seasonal operations.  There are direct non-stop services from the UK with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic from Heathrow; Norwegian from Gatwick; Thomas Cook Airlines from Manchester and Aer Lingus from Dublin. Icelandair offers a good range of services with one-stop in Reykjavik.

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