Port of Seattle ‘raises the roof’ during topping off ceremony at airport Tuesday


In what will be a major upgrade for international passengers, the final structural roof beam was raised by a crane and safely put in place on Tuesday, Dec. 4, marking the latest construction milestone of the new International Arrivals Facility at Sea-Tac Airport.

The ‘topping off’ of the main IAF structure highlights that the project is rapidly progressing towards its scheduled opening in the fall of 2020 when the new 450,000 square-foot grand hall will be five times larger than the current 1970’s-era facility.

Here’s more from the Port:

“We are on our way to creating a significantly better experience for our arriving international visitors and residents here at Sea-Tac and providing a much more welcoming facility reflective of our region’s quality,” said Port of Seattle Commission President Courtney Gregoire. “We appreciate the effort from all of our partners to come together and get this done for the benefit of passengers. This is another step in making it all a reality soon!”

The final structural roof beam was raised by a crane and safely put in place Tuesday, marking the latest construction milestone of the new IAF at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. From left to right: Port of Seattle Commissioner Fred Felleman; POS Commission President Courtney Gregoire; Monte Anderson, Executive Secretary, Seattle Building & Construction Trades Council; Steve Metruck, Port of Seattle Executive Director; POS Commissioner Peter Steinbrueck; POS Commissioner Ryan Calkins; Sea-Tac Airport Managing Director Lance Lyttle; Delta Air Lines Vice President-Seattle Tony Gonchar; Clark Construction VP and Project Director Brian Ahern; All Nippon Airways VP and General Manager Gary Weiss; POS Commissioner Stephanie Bowman; and Alaska Airlines Vice President of External Relations Diana Birkett Rakow.

Sea-Tac continues to see significant growth in the number of international airlines. In 2018, three new airlines began service, with three more scheduled for 2019. Over the last decade, the number of passengers requiring U.S. Customs clearance at Sea-Tac doubled. Passenger volume during peak periods climbs well above the levels the current facility was meant to hold. As a result, passengers often must wait in airplanes at the gate, or in current hallways, before going through customs or picking up luggage.

“Like the other stakeholders of this region, Delta long ago saw the potential for Sea-Tac to expand its reach and become a truly world-class international gateway,” said Tony Gonchar, Delta’s Vice President-Seattle. “Today’s milestone brings us closer to that vision. As Seattle’s largest global airline and the largest future user of this facility, we know our customers and this region are ready for the benefits to come.”

“We look forward to the successful and timely completion of the new International Arrivals Facility to serve this dynamic region. We are proud to work with Sea-Tac Airport and Alaska Global Partners to offer our Mileage Plan members more opportunities for international travel than ever before,” said Diana Birkett Rakow, Alaska Airlines Vice President of external relations. “By next summer, our partners will offer upwards of 80 flights per week out of Sea-Tac – more than any other airline or alliance group.”

“As Chair of the International Station Managers here at Sea-Tac, and on behalf of the international carriers serving the airport, we are very excited to reach this construction milestone. We can’t wait to share this facility with our incoming guests,” said All Nippon Airways VP and General Manager, Gary Weiss.

The International Arrivals Facility Program is expected to support approximately 10,600 jobs, including 500 jobs a day during a months-long peak construction period.

Tradesmen shake hands after guiding the final beam into place on the International Arrivals Facility at Sea-Tac Airport Tuesday.

“With this incredible economic boom the Seattle region is experiencing, we hear a lot about the historic records being broken on jobs and the number of construction cranes in the sky. But what we don’t hear enough about is the human upside: beneath all of the hardhats are real, local people who are working hard day in and day out for this economy,” said Monty Anderson, Executive Secretary, Seattle Building & Construction Trades Council. “The investments here at the airport are creating thousands of good, family-wage jobs from our local communities and will help build the next generation of construction workers, opening new doors through apprenticeships for women, people of color, veterans, and others who are disadvantaged.”

The IAF is the most complex capital development program in the history of the 69-year-old airport that includes the main IAF facility for baggage claim and customs processing, an 85-foot high aerial walkway that will connect passengers from the South Satellite, and a new security corridor that will allow dual use of gates on Concourse A for both international and domestic arriving flights.

“The Topping Off Ceremony is a time to reflect on the progress we’ve made on this project – and we are incredibly proud of what our collective team has accomplished to date. It is also an opportunity to look ahead at what we have yet to achieve and reaffirm our commitment to delivering a project of which all stakeholders can be proud,” said Brian Ahern, Clark Construction Vice President and Project Director in charge of construction of the IAF. “We look forward to continuing the spirit of collaboration that has been established on site and working side-by-side with Port of Seattle and airline representatives to deliver the IAF safely, swiftly, and successfully.”

Construction is scheduled to be complete by May 31, 2020 with facility activation and testing to follow for public use opening in the fall of 2020.

You can find more information on the IAF project online as well as a time-lapse video of the current construction on the Port of Seattle’s YouTube channel.

Here’s a live Facebook feed courtesy the Port:



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