Browsing Tag: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

ANA's first Boeing 787 Dreamliner at Paine Field. Soon we will see these at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

ANA's first Boeing 787 Dreamliner at Paine Field. Soon we will see these at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

It has been announced by All Nippon Airways (ANA) that Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) will be one of the international destinations for their Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Starting in 2012, the airline will offer a non-stop flight from Seattle to Narita Airport in Tokyo.

Mr. Shinichiro Ito, ANA Group President and CEO said,”We are very pleased to announce the launch of long-haul international services from Tokyo to Seattle. This city is an important destination on the U.S. West Coast and is home to companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks and, of course, Boeing itself. We are confident that passenger demand to fly to Seattle will be high, not only in Japan but other Asian cities.”

ANA also announced that they will start flights from Narita to San Jose, CA. Not that San Jose getting the 787 is any less exciting, it is just the fact that I am based in Seattle and have been really hoping that ANA would start 787 service here.

Not only will both airports receive service from ANA, but both will also get the Dreamliner for the first time. This is a great example on how the Dreamliner will change how airlines do business; offering point-to-point flights between destinations that might not have the demand for a larger aircraft like the Boeing 777 or 747.

“We are very pleased to announce the launch of further international Dreamliner services to these two new destinations on the west coast of the United States,” Shinichiro Ito, President and CEO of ANA Group stated in a press release.” We will make full use of the efficiencies of the 787 as well as capitalizing on our close relationship with United and Continental Airlines to enhance the competitiveness of our joint ventures with these two Star Alliance partners.”

This Emirates Boeing 777-300ER is in Seattle, but only because it was built there. Soon one will be based in Seattle.

This Emirates Boeing 777-300ER is in Seattle, but only because it was built there. Soon one will be based in Seattle.

Emirates has announced they will start flying non-stop from Dallas and Seattle to Dubai starting early next year. Flights from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) will commence on February 2, 2012 and from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) on March 1, 2012. The airline is also looking at possible expansions to Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and Washington, DC.

Before 9/11 Emirates had plans to expand in the US, but their plans were put on hold due to lack of demand. Currently, Emirates is the world’s number one airline in international traffic and they feel it is time to increase service to the US.

’œWe’ve always had fairly ambitious plans for the U.S. and this is part of that,’ Emirates President Tim Clark told Bloomberg. ’œIt’s an immense market. There will be more to come, including increased frequencies and bigger planes. We have ideas for the East Coast, the north-south axis in the center and for the west.’

Emirates will operate their new flights from DFW and SEA using Boeing 777s, but the airline is speaking openly about using larger Airbus A380s on future US routes.

’œThe A380 will be an option for all U.S. operations post- 2013, when the plane will have a higher takeoff weight, so that routes such as Dubai-Los Angeles become a distinct possibility,’ he said. ’œAnd most U.S. airports are A380- capable or will be.’

Being based in Seattle, it is very exciting to hear that not only will a new airline start operations here, but that they are also contemplating using the Airbus A380 in the future. As of now, no airline operates the A380 to SEA and even with this announcement, it seems it could still take a while.

“We do not have any immediate plans to bring the A380 to Seattle, although this may be something we consider in the future,” Jim Baxter, Vice President North America, Emirates Airline explained to via email. Even if Emirates was ready to operate the A380 to Seattle, the airport is not able to handle scheduled service of the world’s largest airliner.

“We can handle the A380 in emergencies, however we do not have facilities for regular use, such as the multiple gate loading ramps, for the aircraft,” Perry Cooper, SEA’s Media and Public Affairs Manager explained. “At this time, if an A380 were to arrive and need to access a gate, safety guidelines would require all traffic to stop until the aircraft stopped at its gate, due to the width of taxiways and safety zones next to the runways.”

The A380 is so large, that it would currently take up two of SEA’s gate configurations and due to the cost and lack of direct demand, the airport does not “currently have plans to expand to accommodate the A380.”

Image: Rick Schlamp

In April, passengers didn't have to spend a lot of extra time inside Seattle-Tacoma International Airport since many flights were on-time.

In April, passengers didn't have to spend a lot of extra time inside Seattle-Tacoma International Airport since many flights were on-time.

Happy news for Seattle and on-time performance. During April 2011, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) had the most flights departing on-time than any other airport in the US, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal.

SEA had 84.97% of their flights leave on time, which puts them at the number one spot. Even when looking at all of North America, SEA comes in second, with Vancouver, BC (just north of Seattle) beating them out with 86.07% of their flights on-time.

Not only did Seattle’s airport do well, but Seattle’s hometown airline, Alaska Airlines did very well too.

Alaska was number 2 in April for most on-time flights with 89%, where Horizon Air (Alaska’s sister carrier) was number three with 86.33%. Not surprisingly, Hawaiian Airlines (which has a history of being the #1 carrier for on-time performance in the US) was first with 92.35% of their flights on-time.

Congrats to all those based in Seattle who work hard to make these results possible!

Image: Benji Stewart


Seattle's Link Light Rail waiting at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Seattle's Link Light Rail waiting at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

For those of you in many other parts of the world, talking about public transportation options from the airport is not news. For us in Seattle, finally getting a public transportation option, other than the bus, is huge. In many regards Seattle (my home town) is a very progressive city, except when it comes to public transportation. We have tried many different times, but seem to get blocked at every turn.

A monorail was built for the 1962 World’s Fair and it has run almost the same 1.2 mile route with two stations since then. In 2002 Seattle voters approved expanding the monorail 14 miles in the first of five new lines running through the Seattle area. This was a real attempt to give Seattle another public transportation option other than buses. Unfortunately in 2005, voters wanted the project terminated. The monorail still runs on its same 1.2 mile path, but definitely does not provide the public transportation that Seattle needs.

Seattle’s light rail has  had a difficult history as well, but luckily they were able to work out the problems.  Link Light Rail started in 1996 when voters approved an increase in taxes for a 25 mile light rail system. Dogged by environmental and financial issues as well as people from the communities affected complaining, the first part of the system was not opened until July 2009 and even then, it didn’t connect to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA).

Seeing the planes while leaving the airport is always fun.

Seeing the planes while leaving the airport is always fun.

In December 2009, Link Light Rail finally connected SEA to downtown Seattle and provided a new, environmentally friendly and cheap option for passengers. During my recently flight with Virgin America I decided to check out getting from the airport to my house in north Seattle using only public transportation (ok, I didn’t really decide, but no one could pick me up, so I “decided” to take the light rail). I have never done this before and was excited to see how it works.

When doing research on my trip, I noticed was how cheap it was. Only $2.50 to get from SEA to downtown Seattle. To compare, it would cost $32.00 to ride in a shared airport shuttle and over $50 to take a taxi (and of course returning the favor if a friend gets you). Not bad. The whole ride from SEA to downtown only took me 36 minutes, which it takes about 20 minutes in a car (saying there is no traffic, which is very rare). Even to get all the way to my house on the light rail and bus it cost $6, where it would be $45 with shuttle van and $80 for a cab, what a deal!

Finding the train at the airport was easy with the signs, but it was quite the walk to get there. Paying was a little complex at first, but there are machines you can use cash or credit card, choose what stop you want to go to  and pay the proper amount. There is no one to check your ticket to enter the train, but about half way to downtown, three fare enforcement officers came on board to confirm we were all paid up.

The outside of the Link Light Rail.

The outside of the Link Light Rail.

The trains are new and comfortable to ride in. I was surprised not to see any ads in side the car I was in and asked Bruce Gray,  a spokes person for Sound Transit (who runs the Link Light Rail), about the ads. He told me via email that many trains do have ads inside and they will have their, “first wrapped train with advertising on the outside should be rolling this week.”

One thing I was hoping for was a park and ride lot for airport use, where I could park my car, maybe pay a cheap fee and take the train to the airport. They have one station with 600 parking spots, but a maximum of parking for 24 hours. Gray told me that in May the light rail saw 21,700 boardings per day and has been steadily growing since the start of its operation.

Since I haven’t had too much experience riding the new train system, I talked to a Seattle native, Shannon (@SEAsundodger) who has ridden the train about once per month since it opened and she loves it. “I love everything about the light rail, I live in Seattle proper (Interbay/Magnolia to be exact) and I don’t own a car. So public transportation is near and dear to my heart,” she told me. She hasn’t had any issues with riding the light rail and is very much looking forward to the expansion. When I asked how it feels flying by people stuck in Seattle traffic while going to the airport, she said, “It is sweet when it’s rush hour while you’re headed to the airport, and there you are, zipping along on the train.” I could easily see it being quicker taking the train when traffic really gets backed up.

I love Seattle and the majority of people in Seattle, but there have always been people complaining anytime we have tried to move forward with public transportation and the light rail is no exception. But this time, I think the positives are outweighing the negatives and the light rail will continue to grow to the north and to the east. Hopefully some day it will reach where I live and I can easily hop on the light rail to the airport. Until then I have a feeling I might be taking the bus and train more often!