The Port of Seattle has initiated the final readiness testing phase for the new international arrivals facility (IAF) at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) by welcoming passengers of Delta Air Lines flight 196 from Seoul-Incheon.

Until 10 May 2022, the airport will be welcoming a limited number of flights through the new IAF in order to complete orientation and activation.

Port of Seattle commissioner Sam Cho said: “Today is a huge milestone. Delta has been a great partner in the development of the international arrivals facility.

“We appreciate their partnership as we expand testing to include their first arriving flights. The next few weeks are key to ensuring that all our guests receive a welcome that reflects the best of our region.”

The first set of flights arrived on the A Concourse dual gate system, and passengers were directed to a corridor leading into the new IAF for processing by Customs and Border Protection.

The new IAF facility adds eight additional international-capable gates, thereby increasing SEA’s capacity to manage domestic and international passengers during the peak travel period.

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With this new IAF, the number of international-capable gates at SEA has increased from 12 to 20.

The airport will continue its trial from the S Concourse, where the passengers will cross over a walkway that is built over an active taxi lane.

The walkway at the airport is claimed to be the longest in the world, with 780ft in length and 85ft above the ground.

Covering 450,000ft², IAF’s Grand Hall features a baggage claim and customs processing area and is said to be four times larger than the current space at the S Concourse.

During the trials, SEA’s operational readiness, activation, and transition (ORAT) team will collect feedback from the passengers, as well as keep a track of the operation of facility systems, and provides the opportunity for staff to get familiar with real-time activity.

Later this year, SEA will have a total of 44 international services operational, with non-stop flights servicing 29 international destinations by 25 airlines.