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NEWS Last modified on September 14, 2016

Seattle-Tacoma reveals designs for NorthSTAR Satellite complex

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has unveiled the first designs of what its North Satellite, dubbed NorthSTAR, will look like after completion of its planned modernisation programme.

According to the gateway, the images reveal the dramatic changes coming to the 40-year-old facility to better serve passengers and respond to the continuing growth at Sea-Tac.

The NorthSTAR project’s groundbreaking is scheduled for the first quarter of 2017 with phase one complete in 2019 and the full facility upgrade opening in 2021.

The $636 million project will include adding eight new gates with a 240-foot extension of the building to the west, add an upper level mezzanine, more than double the existing dining and retail square footage, and introduce a rooftop Alaska Airlines lounge with views of the Olympic Mountains.

“This project  - which will include new gates, increased dining and retail options, and more robust Wi-Fi and connectivity – is critical for meeting the region’s needs at Sea-Tac Airport for the next 25 years,” enthuses Port of Seattle Commission president, John Creighton.
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“Renovations will open up the building with natural light, bring the feeling of movement and travel inside and express the culture of the Pacific Northwest with cost efficient, environmentally friendly functions and materials including a living wall and collecting rainwater to supply flushing water to the restrooms throughout most of the year.”

NorthSTAR is an unprecedented working arrangement between the Port and Alaska Airlines, Sea-Tac’s largest airline and the sole tenant of the North Satellite.

Alaska is working with the Port with the goal of improving the flying experience from airport drop-off to departure.

Related projects in the construction include main terminal improvements, refurbished satellite baggage systems, and already completed exterior walkways on Concourse C.

“With upgraded facilities and additional gates, the improvements to the North Satellite will enhance the travel experience for our customers and employees and accommodate the continued growth of the airline,” says Andrew Harrison, executive vice president and chief commercial officer at Alaska Airlines.
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“Through the partnership with the Port of Seattle on the North Satellite Expansion Project, we will be able to deliver a signature Alaska experience for fliers in a space that epitomizes our energetic brand.”

Airport operator, the Port of Seattle, reveals that the design for NorthSTAR takes references from the existing airport’s architectural vocabulary of materials, colours and articulated roof forms and creates a strong new addition to the overall airport.

It says: "Inspired by Washington’s natural environment of native rivers and water, the articulated roof form becomes the signature visual element while functionally bringing daylight to the central circulation spine within.

"The interior will feature wide, day lit concourses constructed of materials, colours and finishes inspired by the Pacific North West environment."

The project is seeking LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification.
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"The expansion and renovation of the North Satellite will improve operational efficiency, and enhance the travel experience with more concessions, seating areas, power outlets and other amenities," the airport adds.


Alaska Airlines will maintain Horizon Air regional flights out of Concourse C, which provides fast, easy and direct connection to the North Satellite through the satellite train system.

Operations at the North Satellite will continue throughout the construction process. The first phase will build out the extension to the west of the current building.

Once that is complete in 2019, the second phase will renovate and upgrade the eastern portion of the building. 

Sea-Tac has been the fastest growing large hub airport in the US for the last two years and is the 13th largest domestic airport based on total passengers.

A record 42.3 million passenegrs passed through the airport in 2015 – a rise of 12.9% increase from 2014, which was 7% higher than 2013. 

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