I recently attended the Port of Seattle Luncheon as a member of the Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce, and I learned quite a lot. What I learned, specifically about Sea-Tac International Airport, ranges from fun facts to ground-breaking plans for growth and development.
I have lived in SeaTac, literally around the corner from the airport, for the majority of my life. I’d have to say that I’ve had a fair amount of airport knowledge, but after attending this luncheon I realized there was still so much I did not know.
Did you know that our airport has more than 40,000,000 (yes, 40 million) passengers fly in and out of the airport ANNUALLY? They estimate that in only a few short years this number will grow beyond 60,000,000. That’s a lot of passengers and a lot of business for Seattle and its surrounding areas!
Did you know that they recently broke ground to begin building a new international arrivals facility? This will not only be a great way to greet international visitors, but help expedite the process as well. As many of you know traveling internationally and dealing with customs can be quite time consuming, so this will be very helpful.
On the topic of international visitors, another thing I heard at the luncheon that helped me understand why they keep the airport looking so nice, is that for many people who fly into our airport it is their first time coming to Seattle. For many it’s their first time coming to Washington State, the Pacific Northwest or even North America in general. The point the keynote speaker made about this was that we only get once chance to make a first impression and especially for those that are coming to America for the first time, we want to make that impression a good one. Because of that, our airport really is gorgeous. There are lots of places to eat and shop at, and depending on the weather you can see Mt. Rainier from the main entrance/food court after passing through security. They are always working on more ways to improve the passenger experience.
Another fun project the airport will be starting soon is adding more storefront space in the main food court area. What I’m excited about is that they are going to do this by making use of the space above already existing stores and restaurants. There will also be a seating area on that second level overlooking the airport runway. Our airport is in for a major upgrade!
Something else I was not aware of was the amount of effort that they are putting in to clean up our environment. They are aware of the effect the airport has on the environment and the habitats of some animals, and they do what they can to help.
They have created a water fowl sanctuary in Auburn, with lots of land for them to safely explore because the airport expansions have encroached on their previous habitat.
The team at the airport has figured out a few ways to cut down on the use of fuel. Instead of running all their luggage transporting equipment on gas, they’ve made some of it electric and they’re in the process of switching more equipment over. Another thing they’ve done to cut down the use of fuel is to pump fuel underground to pumping stations by the airplanes, so that they no longer need to drive fuel trucks back and forth. And when the planes are sitting and waiting to load, they no longer have to be running to get the air going because they pump the planes with pre-conditioned air, again saving fuel.
Lastly, we all know that our bee friends have been decreasing in numbers and struggling a bit lately, and the airport has been doing what they can to help. (This is my favorite thing they’re doing.) They keep bees on airport property! They also purchased the old Tyee Golf Course and have been letting that grow out and planting wildflowers. This is being done to attract bees and other local pollinators to have a place to pollinate and live.
All in all I am very happy to have found out that there were so many great things happening in SeaTac that I didn’t even know about. Our city is growing, and as it grows there are a lot of people trying to ensure that it improves as well. We should be proud to call SeaTac home!
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