Fred Hutchinson James Delmage Ross Dixy Lee Ray George W. Bush Hazel Wolf Henry M Jackson Warren G. Magnuson Home
Search Encyclopedia
Facebook
Advanced Search
Donate Now! Book Store Featured Eassy Sponsor of the Week
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search
6771 HistoryLink.org essays now available      
Donate Subscribe

Shortcuts

Libraries
Cyberpedias Cyberpedias
Timeline Essays Timeline Essays
People's Histories People's Histories

Selected Collections
Cities & Towns Cities & Towns
County Thumbnails Counties
Biographies Biographies
Interactive Cybertours Interactive Cybertours
Slide Shows Slideshows
Public Ports Public Ports
Audio & Video Audio & Video

Research Shortcuts

Map Searches
Alphabetical Search
Timeline Date Search
Topic Search

Features

Book of the Fortnight
Audio/Video Enhanced
History Bookshelf
Klondike Gold Rush Database
Duvall Newspaper Index
Wellington Scrapbook

More History

Washington FAQs
Washington Milestones
Honor Rolls
Columbia Basin
Everett
Olympia
Seattle
Spokane
Tacoma
Walla Walla
Roads & Rails

Timeline Library

< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Port of Seattle and Puget Sound Council of Governments launch Flight Plan study on May 23, 1989.

HistoryLink.org Essay 4199 : Printer-Friendly Format

On May 23, 1989, the Port of Seattle and Puget Sound Council of Governments (PSCOG), reorganized in 1991 as the Puget Sound Regional Council, sign an Interagency Agreement to launch the “Flight Plan” study of future air service capacity needs and solutions, including the possible expansion of the Seattle-Tacoma (Sea-Tac) International Airport. The effort is guided by a 39-member Puget Sound Air Transportation Committee and will lead to a controversial decision in 1992 to add a third “dependent” runway at Sea-Tac to maintain airport capacity during low visibility weather conditions.

The need for the “Flight Plan” effort was first identified in 1988 during preparation of the Port of Seattle’s “Comprehensive Planning Review and Airspace Update Study.” This analysis projected that the existing two runways at Sea-Tac International Airport could reach “maximum efficient capacity” by the year 2000. Planners and forecasters at the Puget Sound Council of Governments (PSCOG) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) soon arrived at the same conclusion.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport opened with one runway in 1944 and became fully operational in 1949. An additional runway was built 800 feet to the west in 1970 to accommodate increased air traffic and larger jetliners. This narrow separation prevented the use of both runways during fog and low clouds, or about 44 percent of the time, and capped the airport’s efficient capacity with minimum delays at about 380,000 operations (landings and takeoffs) per year.

Deregulation of U.S. airlines in 1978 stimulated competition within the airline industry and more than doubled the number of major carriers using Sea-Tac’s two runways. Airport operations grew by half again from 195,000 operations to 316,000 operations in 1988, while annual passenger counts nearly doubled from 8.4 million to 14.5 million during the same period. Port planners projected that Sea-Tac could reach 400,000 annual operations by 2000, resulting in significant flight delays during times of limited visibility. (Sea-Tac operations passed 385,000 in 1997 and peaked at nearly 446,000 in 2000 but then declined to 365,000 in 2002 due to slumps in the economy and in national air travel after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.)

Port Aviation Division director Andrea Riniker (a former director of the Washington State Department of Ecology and later executive director of the Port of Tacoma) recognized that addressing air service capacity needs would require a credible and objective examination and, with luck, a regional consensus. The Port Commission and PSCOG began planning a joint study in July 1988. The final agreement was authorized by PSCOG Resolution 3042 and signed by director Curtis Smelser and his Port counterpart, Zeger J. J. van Asch van Wijck.

The Puget Sound Air Transportation Commission comprised 39 members representing the following groups and constituencies:

  • six representatives of King County and its cities;
  • two representatives of Pierce County;
  • two representatives of Snohomish County;
  • one representative of Kitsap County;
  • four members of the Washington State Legislature;
  • one representative of the Governor (then Booth Gardner);
  • four representatives of the regional business community;
  • three representatives of major airlines;
  • one representative of the Washington Environmental Council;
  • three representatives of the Port of Seattle;
  • one representative of the Federal Aviation Administration;
  • three unaffiliated citizens, one each from Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish counties;
  • one citizen member of the Port of Seattle Noise Management Mediation Committee.

The Port and PSCOG agreed to split the Committee’s initial $683,000 budget down the middle. Work began almost immediately and continued over the next two-and-one-half years. The PSATC adopted its final report on June 17, 1992, which called for construction of a third dependent runway at Sea-Tac, addition of commercial airline service at Snohomish County's Paine Field, and development of a supplemental airport in Pierce or Thurston County. The Port and the Regional Council ultimately adopted its recommendations, but the third Sea-Tac runway was the only one to survive as a viable solution to the region’s projected air service capacity needs.

Sources:
“Port of Seattle and Puget Sound Council of Governments Interagency Agreement for Long Term Air Carrier System Plan,” Exhibit A-1, PSCOG Resolution 3042, as amended, May 23, 1989; “The Flight Plan Project, Final Environmental Impact Statement,” Puget Sound Regional Council and Port of Seattle, October 6, 1998; Puget Sound Regional Council Resolution A-93-02, April 19, 1993; “Port of Seattle Commission Resolution No. 3125, As Amended, November 3, 1992"; “Regional Air Capacity -- Public Involvement History,” Port of Seattle memorandum, July 29, 2002; “Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Detailed History of the Third Runway Planning Process,” Port of Seattle Memorandum, October 3, 2002; The Seattle Times, July 27, 1989; April 22, May 22, 1990; March 21 and June 15, 1992; Seattle Post Intelligencer, November 1, 1990; February 13 and June 18, 1992.


Travel through time (chronological order):
< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Special Suite: Port of Seattle | Sea-Tac Airport |

Related Topics: Aviation | Infrastructure | Environment |

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both HistoryLink.org and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License


Major Support for HistoryLink.org Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You




 
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search

HistoryLink.org is the first online encyclopedia of local and state history created expressly for the Internet. (SM)
HistoryLink.org is a free public and educational resource produced by History Ink, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt corporation.
Contact us by phone at 206.447.8140, by mail at Historylink, 1411 4th Ave. Suite 803, Seattle WA 98101 or email admin@historylink.org

Untitled Document