Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is the fastest growing Airport in America and passenger numbers are up year over year by over 13%. With the additional passengers comes more planes and as the Battle for Seattle continues between Delta and Alaska and foreign carriers such as Emirates, Iceland Air, ANA, Hainan, and others have added service, gate space at Seatac is finally beyond the airports capacity.
The Port of Seattle has announced airport expansion plans, but the airport cannot build fast enough to keep up with passenger and airline demand. In the meantime, while the airport waits for construction to finish on the North Star project in 2020, remote stands will have to be used to shuttle passengers to and from planes. Come 2020, 8 additional gates will be added to the North Satellite for exclusive use by Alaska Airlines, and the airport plans to continue expanding by adding a new remote terminal further to the North as defined by the Airport Master Plan. Yet in the meantime, it’s going to be buses that will get passengers to and from planes as the airport is out of gate space for the time being.
Currently the Port of Seattle has three passenger buses, but expands to expand these numbers after a few months of testing. The port claims that all airlines will be affected by remote gates and not one airline will be specifically targeted. Despite trying to be fair, I would imagine that Seatac’s two largest Airlines, Alaska & Delta will be sent to the remote gates more often than their competitors simply because they have more flights than any other airlines.
I personally do not like remote gates, but if the remote stands allow airlines to continue to grow and the airport to expand capacity while waiting for projects to be completed, I am all for the addition remote stands, as more flight options is good for everyone!