A stronger-than-expected air travel business boosted Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to a new record for passengers served last year, the airport announced this week.
The airport served some 32.8 million passengers, a 4 percent increase over last year. The number surpassed the previous record set in 2008 when the recession had yet to make its full effect felt. The Port of Seattle, Sea-Tac’s owner, had forecast a one percent increase for the year.
Of those 32.8 million passengers, three million arrived or departed on international flights. That’s the most in the airport’s history. Sea-Tac has added several new international airlines in recent years and domestic carriers have boosted their own international flights.
The airport is likely to surpass that international passenger record again in 2012 with the addition of two international carriers to the airport’s schedule early in the year.
Emirates comes to Sea-Tac March 1 with a daily nonstop to Dubai. All Nippon Airways is expected to begin service to Japan sometime in the spring using Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner.
“The record number of passengers matters because it means more jobs,” said CEO Tay Yoshitani. “Nearly 90,000 people have jobs that are generated by airport activities. Steady growth, coupled with a commitment to environmental sustainability, is very good news for the region.”
“The increase in passengers demonstrates how Sea-Tac Airport is a major economic engine for the region,” said Mark Reis, managing director of Sea-Tac Airport. “The entire team at the airport works to give every passenger great service from parking to plane, and it’s exciting to see that service yield record results.”
John Gillie, john.gillie@ thenewstribune. com