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Record-Breaking Summer: 15.3 Million Passengers Set New Milestones

June to August 2023 just one percent below summer 2019
September 28, 2023

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) saw a total of 15.3 million travel through the airport from June to August 2023.

The busy summer included the busiest day ever in the history of SEA on July 24, when 73,651 outbound travelers passed through security screening and a total of more than 198,000 travelers (departing, arriving, and connecting) passed through the airport. The previous record was 72,154 on August 16, 2019. To put this summer into context, SEA was the equivalent of the fifth-largest city in the state with 166,000 travelers each day arriving, connecting, or departing through the airport.

Then five days later, on July 29, the airport set a record for the busiest day of international travel ever at SEA, with 8,512 passengers going through customs at the International Arrivals Facility, beating the previous record from July 16, 2023, of 8,472.

“The high demand for travel shows our guests soaked up every opportunity to travel this summer,” said Lance Lyttle, managing director, SEA Airport. “We set records in both general passenger volume, but also international travel. Seattle is on the map for guests from around the world. We could do none of this without the hard work of our SEA Airport team, our airline partners, partners at the Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and our airport dining and retail operators. They all went above and beyond to make the guest experience five-star this summer.”

“With the summer travel season in the books, we at TSA want to thank the Port of Seattle, the airlines, and all the airport stakeholders for their partnership and support,” said TSA Federal Security Director for Washington Greg Hawko. “Our goal every day is to deliver the most effective security screening experience in the most efficient manner. We continue to stay focused on our security mission and are proud to serve the SEA community.”

With the latest summer numbers, the Port projects the year-end volume number to be nearly equal to 2019 traffic numbers — that is, within 1 to 2 percent of the 51.8 million passenger total of 2019. Forecasts also see 2024 volumes surpassing 2019 by 3 percent. Dig in more on our SEA Airport Statistics page.

While travel continues to accelerate, the airport is focused on Upgrading SEA with more than $4.6 billion in improvements underway over the next five years; here’s a blog post with more info. Guests traveling this fall and winter will see temporary closures along garage skybridges and barricades across the north end of the Main Terminal.

“With travel back to record levels, and the World Cup coming our way in 2026, completing the Upgrade SEA projects is critical for the passenger experience,” continued Lyttle. “Over the next few years, guests may see more construction as they come to the airport. Improving and expanding our facilities is a key piece of our strategy to make your travel more predictable and less stressful.”

SEA has seen multiple top travel days in 2023. Here are the top 10 record-breaking days in the airport’s history.

Scatter plot graph showing the top 10 busiest days in the history of SEA Airport, in June and August 2018, June and August 2019, and June, July, and August 2023.


Perry Cooper | Port of Seattle Senior Media Officer
(206) 787-4923 |


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