Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to undergo stunning major expansion

Mar 18 2022, 9:30 pm

The next major improvement plan for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) will provide the terminal building with a very West Coast glow-up while also providing a significant expansion that improves capacity, accessibility, and amenities.

This week, the Port of Seattle unveiled its design concept for the C Concourse Expansion, which will add four additional floors above the existing building.

This will provide the area between the C Concourse and D Concourse with 145,000 sq ft of additional dining and retail options and amenities such as a new 20,000 sq ft Alaska Airlines Lounge, an interfaith prayer and meditation room, and a nursing suite.

seattle-tacoma international airport sea-tac c concourse expansion

Footprint of the C Concourse Expansion at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. (Port of Seattle)

seattle-tacoma international airport sea-tac c concourse expansion

Artistic rendering of the C Concourse Expansion project at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. (Port of Seattle)

But the centrepiece of this expansion will be an open, airy amphitheatre-like space, called “The Grand Stairs at C.” It will be a hub for passengers, offering ample seating options, views of the airfield and Olympic Mountain range from a lookout deck encased in glass, music and art, and the new dining and retail.

The ceiling of this space provides travellers with a deep sense of place, inspired by the forests of the Pacific Northwest. Architectural firms Miller Hull and Woods Bagot have conceptualized a ceiling covered with undulating Douglas fir wood panels, transitioning down to massive pillars.

“We have a clear vision for how the airport will look and feel in the coming years,” said SEA managing director Lance Lyttle.

“Making your experience less stressful and more predictable is at the centre of our vision. The C Concourse Expansion is what’s next in how SEA serves travellers, and we can’t wait.”

seattle-tacoma international airport sea-tac c concourse expansion

Artistic rendering of the C Concourse Expansion project at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. (Port of Seattle)

seattle-tacoma international airport sea-tac c concourse expansion

Artistic rendering of the C Concourse Expansion project at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. (Port of Seattle)

The expansion also provides more office space for the Port of Seattle’s airport partners, businesses, airlines, and the TSA.

Major green building design features will be incorporated into this building expansion, which will set the standard for future terminal improvement and expansion projects.

C Concourse Expansion will feature a rooftop solar panel array that will be able to cover 15% of the expansion building’s electricity demand, electric heating and hot water systems that do not use natural gas, electro-chromatic glazing for windows to reduce building cooling energy needs, ample natural lighting, installing dishwashing capability to reduce single-use disposable dishware, and water conservation fixtures.

This expansion currently has a budget range of between US$240 million (CA$302 million) and US$500 million (CA$630 million), with US$340 million (CA$428 million) currently approved by the Port of Seattle Commission,

Early construction works are scheduled to begin in Summer 2022, with major constructive activities starting in the middle of 2023. Completion is currently targeted for 2027.

seattle-tacoma international airport sea-tac c concourse expansion

Artistic rendering of the C Concourse Expansion project at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. (Port of Seattle)

In late 2021, SEA completed an overhaul of the four-decade-old North Satellite, which contains the N Concourse. It provided 10 additional passenger gates, an Alaska Airlines lounge, more passenger amenities and services, and green building design features.

But the real game-changer for SEA will be the opening of the International Arrivals Facility (IAF) terminal building expansion in Spring 2022.

The US$1 billion (CA$1.26 billion) international terminal building expansion provides 450,000 sq ft of added floor area east of the existing Concourse A, including a 780-ft-long indoor passenger aerial walkway bridge that spans 85 ft above a taxiway to connect arriving international passengers from the South Satellite terminal building across the top of Concourse A to the new IAF.

seattle tacoma international airport iaf expansion walkway bridge

The new indoor pedestrian bridge at Sea-Tac International Airport, built for the International Arrivals Facility, as seen in December 2021. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Artistic rendering of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s new aerial walkway for the International Arrivals Facility. (Port of Seattle)

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Artistic rendering of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s new International Arrivals Facility. (Port of Seattle)

The IAF increases the number of international gates from 12 to 20, increases international passenger capacity by more than double to 2,600 passengers per hour, incorporates enhanced technologies for faster passport check clearance, and increases the size and number of bag claim carousels from four to seven.

The IAF will greatly improve connections between international and domestic flights, potentially allowing SEA to attract more international airlines and routes, and better compete with Vancouver International Airport’s much larger Trans-Pacific international hub business. With the opening of the expansion, the minimum passenger connection time between international and domestic flights will drop from 90 minutes to 75 minutes.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Artistic rendering of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s new International Arrivals Facility. (Port of Seattle)

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Artistic rendering of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s new International Arrivals Facility. (Port of Seattle)

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Artistic rendering of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s new International Arrivals Facility and aerial walkway. (Port of Seattle)

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