Marking a new era at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Alaska Airlines joined with the Port of Seattle to celebrate the completion of the new International Arrivals Facility (IAF) – a state-of-the-art, world-class facility for passengers arriving from around the globe on international flights into Seattle.
The IAF will accommodate the Puget Sound region's increasing demand for international air travel on Alaska, fellow oneworld member airlines and additional global airline partners. After a period of testing and transition, all arriving passengers who need customs clearance after international flights are scheduled to make their way through the new facility.
"Alaska is a global airline – backed by the expansive network of the oneworld alliance and our added partner airlines," said Nat Pieper, senior vice president of fleet, finance and alliances at Alaska Airlines. "The International Arrivals Facility offers a stunning welcome to all our guests arriving in Seattle from destinations worldwide. It dramatically raises the bar with tremendous improvements that modernize the arrival experience."
The opening comes just in time for increased summertime travel. oneworld airlines will offer the most nonstop flights to international destinations from SEA this summer – an average of 22 daily international flights starting in June, which includes Alaska's nonstop flights to Canada and Mexico. From oneworld global hubs, guests can connect to hundreds of other cities.
"As global travel recovers, the new International Arrivals Facility will provide a world-class experience to oneworld customers returning to the skies," said Rob Gurney, oneworld CEO. "With Alaska's leading network and new service launched by other oneworld members, the facility will strengthen the status of Seattle as a global hub for oneworld."
The new IAF is expected to reduce connection times by at least 15 minutes with more predictable and less stressful arrival and customs processing, making it easier and more convenient for arriving international passengers to continue their travels on Alaska's domestic flights.
"While this facility is brand new, it reflects some of the oldest and most enduring values of our region," said Ryan Calkins, Port of Seattle Commission president. "We are more committed than ever to making our airport one of the best connected, most convenient, most sustainable, and most welcoming airports in the world."
The IAF solidifies SEA as a gateway to the world. The new structure includes a marquee, first-of-its-kind aerial walkway – with dramatic views 85 feet above an active taxi lane – that connects guests arriving on international flights at the S Concourse to the IAF. That's where they pick up their checked bags first and then go through customs processing – a single checkpoint to clear customs.
Another big change: The number of international capable gates has increased from 12 to 20 to allow for more flights during peak periods. The Port of Seattle says the new IAF is four times larger than the old facility and it will more than double peak international arrival capacity to 2,600 passengers an hour. Plus, the spacious baggage claim area now has seven carousels instead of four and each is larger than before.
Alaska joined oneworld one year ago – a global airline alliance that provides flyers with a superior, seamless travel experience. Many of the benefits that Alaska's MVP elite flyers currently enjoy with their status seamlessly carry over to the oneworld tiers when they travel on any of the other 13 member airlines. Those guests can take advantage of a variety of privileges, including priority check-in, access to international first and business class lounges, preferred boarding, fast track through security, baggage benefits and more.