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Gov. Gregoire celebrates opening of new runway

For Immediate Release: November 20, 2008

SEATAC – Gov. Chris Gregoire today helped celebrate the grand opening of the third runway at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and applauded the Port of Seattle for constructing a more efficient airport to benefit both tourists and business.

“The third runway will allow inbound flights to land on time even in the worst of weather,” Gregoire said. “That makes airline travel more efficient and Sea-Tac airport a far more reliable destination for the world’s airlines. Reliable travel is vital to our economy.”

Before the third runway opened, if low clouds or fog settled into the Seattle area, Sea-Tac often had to close one of its two runways because of its proximity to the other. The third runway should allow the airport to remain fully operational, even in harsh weather. Fewer delays should reduce costs for both airlines and passengers.

“Travelers, especially those on business, need to be able to travel quickly to their destination,” Gregoire said. “The improvements we continue to make — including this new runway at Sea-Tac — will position us for a brighter economic future.”

Gregoire was joined by U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Mary Peters and Interim Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration Robert Sturgell. Peters and Sturgell helped open new runways today at Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C. and O’Hare International Airport in Chicago before arriving at Sea-Tac.

Throughout her administration, Gregoire has worked to expand operations at Sea-Tac Airport. The governor helped establish six new direct international flights leaving Sea-Tac to Asia, Europe and Mexico. These flights, which promote international trade and tourism, are part of “Next Washington,” Gregoire’s initiative to improve the state’s ability to compete in the global economy. As the gateway to the Pacific Rim and in proximity to Canada, Washington exports have increased by 100 percent since 2004. Last year’s total was $67 billion.