Port of Seattle Authorizes Major Renovation of North Satellite at Sea-Tac

Saturday, September 01 2012 10:39   Western Travel Buzz
The Port of Seattle Commission has given the green light for the final design for an estimated $230 million renovation of the north satellite at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to better serve passengers.

The project will include modernizing facilities, seismic upgrades, enhanced traveler amenities, three new gates and a new roof-top lounge for Alaska Airlines, soon to be the sole tenant in the north satellite.

n_sat_rampThe renovation will be completed in stages to carefully coordinate the construction around continued operation of the north satellite and create the least impact to passenger traffic.

Design contracts will be awarded soon and visual renderings for the project are expected to be released by mid-2013. Construction is expected to start no later than winter of 2014 with completion in late 2016.

"This project directly addresses our Century Agenda goal to meet the region's air transportation needs at Sea-Tac Airport for the next 25 years," said Commission President Gael Tarleton. "The north satellite is 40 years old and has had only limited upgrades. It's due."

The North Sea-Tac Airport Renovations (or North STAR project) will be an unprecedented working arrangement between the port and Alaska Airlines, Sea-Tac's largest airline.

Alaska will work with the port throughout the project with the goal of improving its customers' experience from airport drop-off to flight departure. Additional renovations will include various improvements to the main terminal, the C and D concourses, and the airfield.

"With more gates, ramp area and other facilities needed to grow the airline, the investments in the North Satellite will enhance the travel experience for our customers and employees and greatly improve our operational efficiency," said Karen Gruen, Alaska Airlines' managing director of corporate real estate. "The North STAR partnership with the Port of Seattle is an investment in our future and community."

In deciding to relocate Alaska Airlines to the North Satellite, Gruen said the company carefully weighed perceptions by some travelers that getting to North Satellite gates from Alaska's lobby takes longer than departures on Concourse C.

Three studies conducted in recent years indicate it takes about the same amount of time to reach the North Satellite riding the train as it does to walk to the gates at the end of Concourse C.  In order to ease traveler anxiety about waiting for the train, improvements to the communications systems for the train and train lobbies are planned.

Built in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the north satellite is in need of modernization, renewal or replacement of many of its basic systems. The renovations will provide significant annual energy savings with the heating/air conditioning (HVAC) upgrades and use of natural light. Greater operational efficiency will also be achieved with the inclusion of dual taxi lanes for aircraft access to and from the gates.

Funding for the project will come from a combination of airline rates and the Airport Development Fund. As with virtually all airport projects, no Port of Seattle taxes will be used. America's airports are largely self-sustaining with revenues coming from fees paid by passengers, landing fees, space rental fees, and federal grants.


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