Sea-Tac Airport Hosting Record Number of Passengers in 2015
PHOTO: Travelers wait in line at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Rapidly growing passenger traffic is presenting new challenges at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
The Associated Press reported a record four million passengers passed through the busy airport over the course of June 2015, with figures for July and August expected to be even higher.
Airport spokesman Perry Cooper told the AP that passenger traffic is up 13 percent in 2015, and the influx of travelers has led to headaches for both travelers and airport officials.
"I fly a lot, and frequently it feels like they have the equipment here to do the screening but they don't have the people to run it," said traveler Anthony Kwacz via the AP. "Why don't they have more bodies?"
The Transportation Security Administration has assigned additional officers to screen departing passengers at Sea-Tac and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection has added 10 new employees to handle arriving international travelers, per the AP. However, it remains to be seen whether those adjustments will make a long-term difference.
After all, TSA spokeswoman Lorie Dankers told the AP that the agency screened 7.2 million travelers at Sea-Tac over the first half of 2015. What's more, the TSA expects to screen as many as 1.7 million passengers this August compared to 1.5 million in August 2014.
Compounding the issue is Sea-Tac's location. "That's one of the biggest challenges," said Cooper via the AP. "We're surrounded by three cities and have no place to expand this footprint." To put Sea-Tac's size into perspective, consider that it covers less than one-tenth as many square miles as Denver International Airport.
With international travel growing significantly — Cooper said the airport has experienced a 15.7 percent increase in international passengers in 2015 — Sea-Tac's impressive growth shows no signs of slowing.
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