Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, buoyed by an influx of international passengers, set a new passenger traffic last year with 33.22 million passengers passing through the airport in 2012.
New figures from the Port of Seattle, the airport’s owner, show overall passenger traffic increased by 1.2 percent last year while international traveler numbers jumped by 8.8 percent.
Sea-Tac was the nation’s 16th busiest airport in 2011. Figures from 2012 have not yet been compiled nationwide.
The airport says the record volume of passengers was reflected in record sales, $180 million, at airport retailers and vendors. Sales per boarded passenger rose to $10.91, up six percent from 2011.
Included in those sales were 1.7 million bottles of water, 230,000 bags of M&Ms candies, 90,000 neck pillows, 20,000 copies of “50 Shades of Grey” – the biggest selling book – and nearly 10,000 “Sleepless in Seattle” nightshirts and pajamas.
“Sea-Tac Airport continues to advance as a leading tourism and business gateway for our entire region,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner John Creighton. “These numbers point out the tremendous value of the airport as an economic engine to bring jobs and continued growth in business and tourism.”
Airport neighbors may not have noticed, but the number of takeoffs and landings dropped 1.7 percent to 309,597 compared with 314,947 in 2011.
Cargo also saw an increase for the second time in the last three years with a 1.4 percent increase. The 2012 total of 283,500 metric tons is the largest total at Sea-Tac since 2008.
One interesting sidenote: Anthony’s Restaurant, in the central terminal, was the highest grossing airport restaurant in North America with $12.8 million in 2012 sales.