They say that one picture is worth a thousand words. And sometimes one number is worth just as many. Some interesting numbers which demonstrate the economic, social and environmental impacts of the airport to the local communities, King County and the State of Washington.

You can learn more here: Port Of Seattle Airport Basics

Here is the Port Of Seattle Tableau Business Intelligence which contains

  • Weekly Operations Summary
  • Noise Monitor Analysis (similar to the Noise Reports page)

Aircraft Operations at SEA

  • 438,391 takeoffs and landings 2018
  • Aircraft operations increased 5.3 percent from 2017
  • Air carrier, 97% of total operations
  • Air taxi, 2% of total operations
  • 15th busiest U.S. commercial service airport (2016 rank)

Air Passengers at SEA

  • 51.8 million in 2019 (almost 4% increase over 2018)
  • Domestic passengers: 46,101,340 in 2019
  • International passengers: 5,727,899 in 2019
  • U.S. rank by passenger numbers: #8 (2019 rank)
  • World ranking by passenger numbers: #31
  • Gates: 80
  • Approximately 70% of the airport’s passengers originate and/or terminate their itinerary at SEA

Air Cargo at SEA

  • 453,549 metric tons in 2019 (4.9% increase over 2018)
  • U.S. rank by air cargo volume: #19 in 2018
  • North American air cargo volume: #20 in 2018

Fuel & Emissions

We know that aviation emissions are among the worst class of pollutants. The amount is significant, but that under-reports the problem because their make-up is qualitatively many times worse for health than the environment than burning other types of fossil fuels.

One of the biggest problems in quantifying the impact of aviation is that there is currently no way to accurately answer even basic questions as to the true amount of pollution caused by aircraft. There are many types of commercial and private aircraft and they emit different levels of several pollutants depending on whether they are taxiing, taking off, cruising, etc.

So any data one can find uses a too-simple calculation based on  fuel purchases, not measurements. It’s the best we can do at the moment and it likely severely understates the problem.

Here is the kind of ‘back of the napkin’ calculation available now:

  • In 2015 Sea-Tac had 381,408  total flight operations (take offs and landings)
  • That same year, the airport pumped approximately 540 million gallons of fuel
  • According to the EPA one gallon of jet fuel produces 21.1 pounds of carbon dioxide
  • Using that number, combustion of this fuel generated approximately 11,4 million pounds of carbon dioxide, which converts to the international standard of 5.168 million metric tons of C02
  • And assuming that is true, this translates to 13.5 metric tons of C02 per flight. A single commercial flight likely has the equivalent environmental impact of three passenger automobiles driven for an entire year.

Washington State’s Top Ten Climate Polluters

Air Carriers

  • Twenty-eight airlines serve 87 nonstop domestic and 23 non-stop international cities.
  • Top carriers by passengers (percent of total): Alaska 51 percent, Delta 19.4 percent, Southwest, 7.7 percent, United 6.8 percent
  • Top carriers by domestic passengers: Alaska 50.1 percent, Delta 20 percent, Southwest 7.4 percent, United 6.3 percent
  • Top carriers by international passengers: Delta 31.9 percent, Alaska 24.2 percent, Emirates 8 percent, EVA Air 5.3 percent, Hainan Airlines 5 percent


Sea-Tac is a category IIIb certified airfield, allowing operations in all but the worst conditions. There are three runways:

  • Runway #1 16L/34R – 11,901 feet
  • Runway #2 16C/34C – 9,426 feet
  • Runway #3 16R/34L – 8,500 feet

Revenues and Taxes

Operated by the Port of Seattle, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA, KSEA) is ranked as the 8th busiest U.S. airport, serving 49.8 million passengers and more than 432,315 metric tons of air cargo in 2018. With a regional economic impact of more than $22.5 billion in business revenue, Sea-Tac generates more than 151,400 jobs (87,300 direct jobs), representing over $3.6 billion in direct earnings and more than $442 million in state and local taxes. Thirty-two airlines serve 91 non-stop domestic and 29 international destinations including Canada, Mexico, and seasonal operations.