The new, third runway at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac) will begin use in November 2008, with the bulk of its 150-foot-wide, 8,500-foot-long surface paving now finished. Additional paving of the aprons and connections to the adjoining taxiways and construction of asphalt shoulders are still to be completed, along with painting FAA certifications, signage and other preparations. The runway is expected to reduce flight delays and allow the airport to remain on time when the runways are covered in low clouds, which is about 44 percent of the time. The runway will allow landings on two runways at the same time in all but the worst weather, increasing the airport's efficiency and decreasing passenger delays.
The third runway is a small part of a larger upgrade that Sea-Tac has undergone over the past five years. Upgrades include an enhanced transportation system, new terminals, enhanced security, updated retail, new concession areas and additional curbside baggage check-in locations. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport set a new record for numbers of passengers in 2007, according to the Port of Seattle, which operates the airport; 31 million passengers passed through Sea-Tac during the year.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is one of three major airports in the United States that will be adding runways in November of 2008. Dulles International Airport in the Washington, D.C area and O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, IL will also christen new runways during the month of November.
In related news, Alaska Airlines will begin year-round, twice-daily flights between Seattle and Minneapolis starting Oct. 26. Alaska will fly a Boeing 737-800 on the route, accommodating 16 passengers in first class and 141 in the main cabin.