Look Back: The Official Opening of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

In 1949, 30,000 people were there for the dedication ceremony at Sea-Tac Airport
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This article appears in the May 2018 issue. Click here for a free subscription.

As they wait to tour a United Airlines Douglas DC-6, visitors at Sea-Tac Airport observe a flyover by a group of Fairchild C-119 “Flying Boxcars” from the U.S. Air Force on July 9, 1949, the day the airport dedicated its new terminal and administration building, right.

Scheduled service from Sea-Tac had begun two years earlier; in 1948, its first full year of operation, the airport handled more than 130,000 passengers. Seventy years later, Sea-Tac averages that amount of traffic in a single day.

By 1949, four airlines — United, Northwest, Western and Pan American — served Sea-Tac. About 30,000 people attended the dedication ceremony, the culmination of an $11 million project that began in 1942 when the Port of Seattle acquired 260 separate parcels of property to assemble the airport’s original 907 acres.

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