Jan 5, 2023 - News

Sea-Tac Airport's a global leader for on-time flights

Alaska Airlines planes at Sea-Tac Airport during a snow storm Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022. Photo: David Ryder/Bloomberg via Getty Images

It may not have felt like it if you were stuck at Sea-Tac Airport over the holidays, but our local launchpad has one of the best rates of on-time flights in the world, according to a report released this week.

Driving the news: New rankings from Cirium, the aviation data and analytics company, pegged Seattle-Tacoma International Airport as having the eighth-highest percentage of on-time flights worldwide in 2022.

Meanwhile, Alaska Airlines and Delta Airlines — both of which have major hubs at Sea-Tac — were among the top three highest-performing airlines in North America for on-time flights last year.

Why it matters: We all want to get where we are trying to go, preferably without camping out at an airport gate.

What they're saying: Perry Cooper, a spokesperson for Sea-Tac Airport, told Axios that flight delays associated with last month's pre-Christmas ice storm were an anomaly, as reflected in the airport's high overall performance ranking for the year.

By the numbers: According to Cirium, more than 80% of Alaska's flights arrived on-time in 2022, as did nearly 84% of Delta's.

  • Sea-Tac's on-time performance was similar, with 81% of last year's flights departing on schedule.

Yes, but: In the fall, travelers' frustration at airports was high, with Sea-Tac receiving a lower-than-average customer satisfaction rating.

  • Long security lines were a particular source of ire, with some photos circulating on social media of queues that snaked into the airport parking garage.

The big picture: Airlines and airports have been working to boost staffing in recent months to handle a surge in travel demand, which Cooper said has nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels.

  • Overall, Cooper said 90% of passengers cleared Sea-Tac's security gates in 30 minutes or less in 2022 — though he knows that's not much comfort to those who ended up waiting with their luggage in the parking garage.

What we're watching: The airport is planning a new passenger terminal to help meet growing demand, but the project will take years to complete.


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