Saturday, December 4, 2021

Seattle-Tacoma Airport completes North Concourse in time for anticipated travel spike

On Thursday, just days before the US opens its borders to vaccinated international travelers on November 8, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport celebrated the end of major construction work as part of its northern satellite modernization project.

The North Satellite building is almost 50 years old and its renovation, which began in 2017, is estimated at $ 710 million, including significant seismic upgrades, 20 gates (8 new, 12 refurbished) and some resilience features: trapped rainwater for flushing toilets, ca. $ 21 million in recycled building materials used in the project and renewable natural gas – a lower carbon alternative to traditional natural gas, often sourced from landfill waste.

The north lobby also leans towards the aesthetics of the Pacific Northwest with an emphasis on large windows and natural light, some regional restaurants (Skillet, Bambuza Vietnam Kitchen) and artists known for their work with natural materials, including life-size abstract sculpture. the root structure of western red cedar from John Grad.

For months, American travelers could fly from the airport overseas, but on Monday, the US will lift 18-month restrictions that barred foreign travelers from entering the US. Foreign nationals flying to the United States will need to provide proof of vaccination. and a negative COVID test (PCR or viral) done within the last 72 hours; Unvaccinated American travelers returning to the United States must provide proof of a negative COVID test within 24 hours of departure. Foreign visitors crossing overland borders from Canada and Mexico must provide proof of vaccination, but test results are not required. The lifting of travel restrictions, the recent lull in pandemics and the completion of the North Concourse comes just as the airport prepares for what is likely to be a busy holiday travel season. For more information, contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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At the Travel Trends event on Thursday evening to mark the opening of the Northern Sputnik, experts from the hospitality and tourism industry said they were already seeing a surge in the number of travelers and were looking forward to more.

“We’re so ready,” said Matt Hagerman, executive vice president of Columbia Hospitality, a Seattle-based company that owns resorts, hotels, golf courses and other real estate in the United States. “For several months we have had no customers – closed restaurants, empty hotels – so the guests have a new understanding.”

Kevin Lemm, chief executive of Alaska Airlines, said the number of flights is already picking up steam. “Right now, our capacity is 50% of the 2019 level,” he said, “but our orders are only down 10%.”

Those who travel tend to travel a lot – the industry’s pursuit of “travel of revenge” prophecies began to be discussed a few months ago.

“A third of our travelers are upgrading the star ratings of their hotels — they went to three-star hotels and are now staying in four-star hotels,” said Nissi Atassi, Expedia’s senior director of global communications. “2022 will be the year of GOAT, the ‘greatest travel of all time’.”

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