by Tiana May
09 Feb 2022
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) has announced that readiness testing will soon begin for the airport’s new International Arrivals Facility.
The International Arrivals Facility is set offer a better welcome for travellers at SEA. The facility will feature a new passenger walkway, an extension on Concourse A, and a 450,000-square-foot Grand Hall.
“It is thrilling that we are on the cusp of launching a modern welcome to the world. The innovative design and passenger experience demonstrates our commitment to the future of international travel and to providing facilities that reflect the diversity of our region and our guests.”
Before final readiness testing begins, the airport is launching an online virtual celebration on 3 March 2022 that will unveil the new facility.
Through the video event, the public will be able to view the improvements to SEA’s traveller experience and go behind the scenes to gain insight into the construction process.
The new International Arrivals Facility is the largest and most complex capital project in the Port of Seattle’s history, so an Operational Readiness, Activation and Transition programme is already in place to ensure it transitions seamlessly from construction to active airport operations.
More than 1,000 airport employees have participated in familiarisation and training tours covering integrated systems such as airline and ground handler operations, passenger processing, baggage handling systems, and security and emergency response drills.
The next readiness milestones are set to take place in upcoming weeks. To gain initial feedback, the airport will run a passenger flow simulation with hundreds of volunteers to evaluate the functionality and flow of the passenger journey. This feedback will then be used in the final phase of operational readiness, when a limited number of early morning flights will take off from Concourse A to ensure the facility and staff are prepared to efficiently serve peak passenger volume.
The 85-foot-high aerial walkway will then open for international arrivals from S Concourse. All international passengers will therefore be brought into the International Arrivals Facility’s new Grand Hall. This 450,000-square-foot space for baggage claim and customs processing is four times larger than the previous space.
In addition, the number of international gates has been increased from 12 to 20 and the number of bag claim carousels has increased from four to seven. The new facility will consequently double the airport’s passenger capacity to 2,600 passengers per hour.
To help manage this passenger flow, enhanced technologies have been implemented for faster passport clearance. The minimum passenger connection time has therefore been reduced from 90 to 75 minutes.
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