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Commission Approves Construction Funding for Main Terminal Renovation Project at SEA Airport

Alaska Airlines begins first phase of terminal modernization project to improve customer experience
December 15, 2021
Since this press release was issued, this work is now named the SEA Gateway Project

The Port of Seattle Commission approved the first step toward the multi-phase modernization of the main terminal at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) yesterday by approving $149 million for construction funding and a new partnership that allows Alaska Airlines to manage this phase of the project.

In this first phase, the airport plans to reconfigure the 40-year-old main terminal north end ticketing area, expand the security checkpoint and upgrade facility systems to meet new technology and building standards. The updated, light-filled, open space will help passengers move quickly and easily through the terminal, accommodate rising passenger volumes, and support the airport’s sustainability goals.

Alaska Airlines will lead the project as a tenant improvement with design and construction, which will be reimbursed by the Port. As the main tenant for the area, Alaska’s design expertise will help mitigate impacts to employees and flyers during the three-year construction project. The partnership allows the airport to focus its efforts on more than 150 other construction projects currently in varying stages of design, permitting, and construction, including other future phases of the main terminal modernization project.

“This is an exciting new chapter in our push to improve the efficiency of our airport,” said Lance Lyttle, Managing Director of SEA Airport. “We are pleased to work with Alaska Airlines on this project with our shared emphasis on the customer experience, the need for our projects to deliver economic benefit to the community, and to constantly improve the sustainability of our work.”

“Now that the North Satellite Modernization project is complete, we’re excited to continue investing in our hometown airport and transform the conventional lobby into a modern, airy, and easy-to-navigate space for our guests and employees,” said Shane Jones, vice president of real estate and airport development for Alaska Airlines. “This three-year project is the largest airport renovation in our history and aims to support Alaska’s innovation, sustainability, and long-term growth plans in our most important hub.”

Overall, the estimated project cost is $400 million, with the first phase approved by the Commission at $149.5 million. The Port will reimburse Alaska for reasonable costs for work that would otherwise be done by the Port. The final cost split will be negotiated as the project progresses. This approach allows the Port to focus its resources on other projects while Alaska manages all of the construction in areas where they are best-suited to plan and phase construction around their operation. Other projects delivered in a similar manner include the build out of the Alaska Lounge in the North Satellite, and similar projects in other airports across the country.

This project will continue to meet the Port’s high standards for equitable economic development and oversight.  All the consultants have been procured in a manner very similar to the Port’s process, including the requirement of Women- and Minority-Owned Business Enterprise (WMBE) goals and a project labor agreement. The project will go through the same design review and permitting process of any other Port project, with the Port maintaining oversight throughout the project. To manage cost control the final design will include a Guaranteed Maximum Price.

North Main Terminal Phasing

Phase 1 will add approximately 20,000 square feet of employee office and ticket counter space along undeveloped areas between the skybridges and the ticketing and bag claim levels. 

This will include efficient, new check-in kiosk and bag drop locations as well as office space to offset what will be demolished in the final stage.  

The most dramatic upgrade travelers will notice occurs in Phase 2.  Design in Phase 2 will reconfigure and open the passenger throughput on the ticketing level and redevelop the security checkpoint from five to seven lanes, upgrading a long-term bottleneck in the customer experience. 


Construction is set to begin in Q1 of 2022 with Phase 1 bridge level activity, followed by the beginning of Phase 2 construction in late Q4 of 2022. Estimated completion of Phase 1 is Q1 2023, with Phase 2 completing in Q2 2025.

Final design and renderings of the spaces continue to be updated and will be available as the project progresses. 

The long-term renovation of the main terminal will continue to improve the facility to the south with a variety of projects in the future. These projects include the relocation of checkpoint 1 to the south on the bag claim level as well as renovations within the center ticketing area. 

For continued monitoring of the project, you can visit the North Main Terminal Renovation project page on the Port of Seattle website.


Perry Cooper | SEA Airport Media Officer
(206) 787-4923 |

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