Sea-Tac Airport Gets $16M to Speed up Security Lines

March 1, 2023
The $16 million the airport will get comes from the $5 billion allocated to the Federal Aviation Administration's airport terminal program through the Biden administration's infrastructure law.

Feb. 28—Seattle-Tacoma International Airport's plan to speed up security checkpoint lines will get a boost from the federal government.

The $16 million the airport will get comes from the $5 billion allocated to the Federal Aviation Administration's airport terminal program through the Biden administration's infrastructure law.

The federal grant will fund 65% of the $24.6 million cost to relocate Checkpoint 1 from the departures area down to the arrivals area. The rest of the funding will come from the airport's general fund, said Sea-Tac spokesperson Perry Cooper.

The new location is more convenient for passengers who arrive by bus or are dropped off in front of the lower level during peak hours, according to a news release. The project will also upgrade elevators to improve accessibility.

With over 50 million passengers in 2019, Sea-Tac is one of the nation's Top 10 busiest airports, according to the news release.

The new site will allow the airport to add two more lanes to the checkpoint and increase its screening capacity from 540 passengers every hour to 940, Cooper said.

Currently, Checkpoint 1, which is the furthest south near the international airlines, is not always open and only able to accommodate customers with TSA PreCheck. The checkpoint also does not have enough space for the new screening lane machinery, which automatically moves bins through the X-ray machine and back to the front of the line, Cooper said.

The relocated checkpoint will replace a baggage-claim carousel, no longer needed because of the opening of the international arrivals facility, he said.

Construction is set to begin in the second quarter of 2023 and finish in the last quarter of 2024.

When the new checkpoint is open, travelers will need to go downstairs from the ticket counters in order to pass security, Perry said. After going through security, they may need to go back upstairs to reach their gate or go down to take the train, he said.

Spokane International Airport will receive $15 million to fund the facility's terminal expansion and renovation project. The Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport will receive around $6.4 million to further fund its terminal building project.

"From Spokane to Pullman, our airports are absolutely vital to our regional economies and are long overdue for serious investments," U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said in a news release announcing the funding.

CORRECTION: Pullman-Moscow International Airport was identified incorrectly in an earlier version of this story.


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