MIAMI – Continuing the gradual remaking of U.S. airports, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) has unveiled an updated North Satellite with new gates, more space, natural light, artwork, and additional dining options.

It’s the terminal’s first overhaul since it opened in 1973.

“The updated North Satellite is going to come as a surprise to long-time travelers. What was once dimly lit with low ceilings and few options is now bright, spacious, and welcoming,” Port of Seattle commissioner Ryan Calkins said in an article published by the airport’s operator. “It’s so nice that you might arrive a little early to enjoy the art, food, and other amenities. And the whole experience celebrates the Pacific Northwest and our spectacular surroundings.”

Art as Focal Point


The renovations feature 10 pieces of art representative of the Pacific Northwest, including a massive piece called Boundary, a life-sized version of the expanding structure of an old-growth western red cedar tree.

“Thanks to the creativity and vision of Northwest artists, the new North Satellite is filled with meaningful and memorable art that fits in well with this spectacular new facility,” said Port of Seattle commissioner Peter Steinbrueck.

“We are working to return the Port of Seattle to its leadership position among ports as an acclaimed regional art and cultural center. Supporting local artists and public art has never been more important than now, and essential to advancing economic opportunity as part of the Port’s COVID-19 equitable economic recovery strategy.”

The SeaTac/Airport Link station, as viewed from the east sidewalk of International Boulevard (State Route 99) in SeaTac, Washington. Photo: De SounderBruce – Trabajo propio, CC BY 3.0

12 Gates by June


The terminal opening unveiled two new gates, with 10 more expected to come online by the end of June. Originally expected to open in the third quarter of 2021, the airport was able to move things along to accommodate the recent post-pandemic influx in demand.

“The full renovation and upgrade project reduces crowding, improves efficiency, and improves the customer experience. Increasing the facility’s capacity from 12 to 20 gates, nearly doubling the square footage of operational space, and tripling the amount of dining and retail offerings means more space to relax or discover something new,” The Port of Seattle writes in the article.

Funding for the project comes from a combination of airline fees, Airport Development Fund, and Passenger Facility Charge revenues.

Environmental Highlights


The new terminal is striving for LEED Silver certification by focusing on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation, according to the article:

  • Capturing rainwater off the roof to flush toilets will save 2.8 million gallons of potable water annually – equal to 4.5 Olympic swimming pools. Achieved 76% recycling of construction waste diverted from landfills and used nearly US$21m of recycled materials.
  • The North Satellite meets its energy needs through building energy conservation and renewable resources. Energy-efficient LED lighting and heating and cooling methods save approximately 1.7 million kWh annually – equal to the annual energy use of 170 homes. SEA is the first airport to use renewable natural gas for heating buildings.

Featured image: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport