Since the completion of Sea-Tac’s rental-car terminal in 2012, the airport and its customers have enjoyed a rare respite from the major expansion and remodeling that seem to be a way of life at busy airports.
Don’t expect that quiet period to last much longer. The Port of Seattle commission on Tuesday took action on a handful of proposals Tuesday that could ultimately result in close to $1 billion in new construction and rebuilding activity at the airport lasting until the end of this decade.
Among other things, those construction projects will result in creation of a new international arrivals complex, the building of a bridge between the South Satellite Terminal and the international facility, the remodeling and updating of the South Satellite, and the expansion and renovation of the airport’s North Satellite Terminal.
The projects’ costs will be paid by the airport’s airline tenants.
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The most significant activity will be centered on the two satellite terminals north and south of the main terminal.
Those satellites are homes for two airlines battling for supremacy at the airport, hometown Alaska Airlines and Atlanta’s Delta Air Lines. Alaska enjoys more than a 50 percent of the market share at Sea-Tac. Delta is building Sea-Tac into its West Coast international hub and adding domestic flights to feed those international nonstops.
Alaska and the port are redesigning and expanding the North Satellite Terminal to become the signature axis of Alaska’s network. That terminal along with the C Concourse will ultimately serve Alaska flights.
The terminal will continue to operate during the expansion and remodeling. Construction could begin in the fall of 2015 with completion in the summer of 2019.
At the airport’s opposite end, the port plans to spend more than $5 million for a quick update of the South Satellite Terminal’s interior with new carpets, new airline-gate podiums, new water fountains, updated signage and repainting of the interior. The larger project at the South Satellite, whose major occupant is Delta, will be to build a new international arrivals facility south and east of the present A Concourse.
A new overhead bridge will allow arriving international passengers to move from the South Satellite to the new arrival facility for customs and immigration.
In recent years Delta and foreign airlines have added flights from Sea-Tac to major European and Asian cities.
The new-arrivals facility will allow international passengers to arrive at both the South Satellite gates and at gates in the A Concourse. When the international facility is done, the port likely will embark on a more substantial renovation of the South Satellite.
While intensive planning is moving forward on the North and South satellite facilities, the port also is embarking on major maintenance projects. The commission Tuesday authorized further work to replace 28 concrete panels in the airport’s center runway and near the North Satellite. Those patchwork replacements have been going on for two years. That work will cost $969,000.
Those repairs will buy time before it has to replace that runway completely, a project planned for 2016.