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International Arrivals Facility

Status: Completed

IAF Reveal Celebration

In anticipation of the IAF opening soon, learn about what went into the creation of the International Arrivals Facility and how international travel impacts the region in this sneak peak video broadcast. 

The Port of Seattle is building a new, expanded International Arrivals Facility (IAF) at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to significantly enhance the international passenger experience, advance the Puget Sound region as a leading tourism and business gateway, and serve the traveling public well into the future. The IAF, the most complex capital development program in the history of the 71-year-old airport, will significantly improve the arrival process for international passengers without adding new gates. The existing 1970s-era facilities cannot accommodate Seattle’s growing demand for international travel.

The IAF program includes new elements:

  • 450,000-square-foot grand hall for baggage claim and customs processing
  • 85-foot-high aerial walkway that will directly connect passengers from the South Satellite to the grand hall
  • New international corridor connecting arriving international passengers on Concourse A
  • Explore this fact sheet on the International Arrivals Facility 

Supporting projects to expand power, fiber optic technology, and high-efficiency baggage services will significantly speed up processing during peak international arrival periods.

New Facility Plan

International Arrivals FootprintThe IAF will be a new multi-level, 450,000-square-foot facility located east of the current Concourse A. An iconic aerial walkway, which will span 780 feet across and 85 feet above the existing taxilane, will connect arriving international passengers from the South Satellite across the top of Concourse A to the new IAF.

The IAF was designed to increase capacity and will provide the following benefits:

  • Nearly double international-capable gates (from 12 to 20)
  • Increase passenger capacity by more than double to 2,600 passengers per hour
  • Incorporate enhanced technologies for faster passport check clearance
  • Increase size and number of bag claim carousels from four to seven
  • Reduce the minimum passenger connection time from 90 to 75 minutes

Key features of the IAF, include:

  • The iconic aerial walkway will be prefabricated at the north end of the airport, then transported to the south end overnight for installation in order to reduce impacts to taxiway use
  • A new international corridor along the face of the existing Concourse A will allow eight international wide-body aircraft gates to access directly into the IAF. These gates will also allow dual use for domestic flights into Concourse A.
  • As part of the Port of Seattle’s emphasis on environmental stewardship and sustainability, the project is designed to achieve LEED V4 (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, Version 4) Silver certification from the United States Green Building Council
  • The baggage claim devices will nearly triple in size, from four devices with 668 linear feet in the current space to seven devices and 1,806 linear feet

Jobs Created and Economic Impact

The IAF is expected to support approximately 10,600 jobs, including 500 jobs a day during a month-long peak construction period. For more on trade hours and small business utilization, select the table below to view details.

Project Timeline

Construction started in the third quarter of 2017 and the Arrivals Hall is nearing substantial completion. After a period of activation testing, the facility is scheduled to open to the public in the Spring of 2022. For more on key milestones and construction status, visit the dashboard that is updated monthly.

Estimated Project Costs

  • The guaranteed maximum price of the program of projects is set at $968 million. On January 11, 2021, the Port Commission approved additional Port staffing budget, due to completion delays, bringing the full program total to $986 million
  • An independent review panel convened by the Port of Seattle Commission reported on September 11, 2018, the price and construction of the program of projects are both “reasonable and achievable.”
  • Funding for the project will come from a combination of airport-generated revenues, passenger facility charges (PFCs), and revenue bonds
  • As with virtually all airport projects, no tax-payer dollars will be used to fund the project

SEA Airport Traffic

  • 2020 was difficult for our airport and airlines due to the pandemic and its impacts on travel. International traffic is more than 80% down from 2019 to the end of 2020.
  • However, SEA has recovered over half of our pre-pandemic international destinations. There are now 11 airlines serving 14 destinations globally, including the first new international carrier to begin service since the start of the pandemic with Qatar Airways to Doha (DOH).
  • Overall, 20,061,507 total passengers went through SEA Airport in 2020. Passenger traffic dropped 61.3% to a level not seen at SEA since 1994. Before the pandemic, SEA experienced nine straight years of record-setting passenger growth.
  • A consultant study estimates each new international route generates $74 million in annual economic impacts to the region.
  • Located exactly halfway between London and Tokyo, SEA is the closest U.S. West Coast gateway to both Europe and Asia.

Hear about the art coming to the IAF in this video!

Art on Display in the IAF

Various art featured in the IAF

Funding for the project will come from a combination of Airport Development Fund and future revenue bonds. As with virtually all airport projects, no tax-payer dollars will be used to fund the project.

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