Airlines hope to pay less money to Sea-Tac Airport

KING COUNTY, Wash. — KIRO 7 News learned several of Sea-Tac Airport’s biggest carriers have asked for financial relief from the Port of Seattle.

Seven different carriers recently sent a letter to the Port of Seattle, asking that the airport become a non-profit facility for two years.

According to the letter, each airline wants to give the Port of Seattle only enough money for the airport to pay its bills.

Any additional funding would normally mean a profit for the airport, but each airline said they now want to hold onto that extra money for themselves.

Should that happen, airport workers said it could impact how the facility operates.

“No public taxes are used for the operation of the airport,” said Perry Cooper, spokesman for SeaTac Airport. “It’s all user fees that go back into what the actual cost is.”

The letter sent to the Port of Seattle was signed by Alaska and Delta, two of SeaTac’s biggest carriers.

“It’s unlikely anyone could have foreseen such a dramatic shortfall in revenues such that airlines would be asked not only to ensure financial viability but also to ensure sufficient profits, especially at a time when so many businesses, especially airlines, are struggling,” said the letter.

So far, airport workers were reluctant to talk with KIRO 7 about the requests.

They added that any decisions will be made by the Port of Seattle commission.

The airlines’ request comes as the airport is much emptier than it used to be.

Currently, 17,000 people are passing through SeaTac each day.

That compares to 70,000 people at this time last year.