By Nathan Han, Bellevue Chamber Intern
With tremendous economic growth and expanding commerce around the Puget Sound area, the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is poised to be the center of all the action. In fact, Sea-Tac is now the fastest growing airport in the country (aircraft operations increased 12.9% from 2014- 2015).
The Port of Seattle has appointed Lance Lyttle as the new managing director of Sea-Tac Airport. An experienced airport director, Lance has previously held executive positions at the Houston Airport system and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. Now, he is applying his experience to implement the Port's Sustainable Airport Master Plan (SAMP) to further help serve travelers going through Sea-Tac and to address congestion in the current airport infrastructure. Lance spoke to Chamber members at the Business Lunch on July 14th to talk about upcoming changes to Sea-Tac over the next decade.
The master plan for Sea-Tac includes the following:
- New baggage system ($325 million)
- North Satellite Renovation ($615 million), to be completed by 2021
- International arrivals facility with a brand new skybridge ($608 million), to be completed by 2019
- 35 additional gates
These expansions will help Sea-Tac serve the projected 66 million passengers that will travel through the airport by 2034, as well as over 540,000 aircraft movements (a takeoff or landing of a plane). Along with these groundbreaking changes, Lance was excited to introduce two new airlines into Seattle: Xiamen Air (the first service to North America by Xiamen Air), which will begin services to Shenzhen on September 26, 2016, and Virgin Atlantic, which will fly to London Heathrow starting March 26th, 2017.
On top of the current developments, the Port has made many efforts to give back and make Sea-Tac Airport a responsible organization that contributes to the environment and the community. For example, the Port of Seattle’s Century Agenda includes its mission to create 100,000 jobs with livable wages. To promote sustainability, Sea-Tac has recently started funding biofuel research. Lyttle has also said that Sea-Tac is the first airport to receive “salmon safe certification,” which verifies that Sea-Tac facilities do not affect the salmon wildlife or ecosystem.
All of these initiatives need broad community support to be successful, and with that understanding, the Port seeks input and constructive criticism. If you have input on the SAMP or questions about how you can weigh in contact Bellevue Chamber Government Relations Director Chris Johnson at 425.213.1208.