THE AIRPORTS

PACIFIC NORTHWEST

SEATTLE-TACOMA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

SEA 

 


 
April 1962
Alaska Airlines had remained a rugged, intra-Alaska carrier until 1951, when permission was granted to start service from Anchorage and Fairbanks to both Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington using the Douglas DC-6. As competing airlines, Northwest and Pan American introduced "jet" aircraft on the Seattle-Alaska service, Alaska soon fell short using piston-engined aircraft on the multi-stop eight hour routing. In 1961, Alaska Airlines ordered a single Convair 880 which would become the first jet type for the airline. The new Convair 880 "Golden Nugget Jet" would reduce flying time down to three-hours on the lucrative Anchorage-Seattle service. Parked at the terminal and being serviced for another flight is N8477H, a Convair 880M.

 

 

June 1962
Braniff International Airways and United Air Lines started an interchange service between Texas and the Pacific Northwest in September 1953. A Douglas DC-6 was used on the flight from Houston to Seattle, via Dallas, Oklahoma City, Denver, Salt Lake City, Boise, and Portland. Braniff crews flew from Houston to Denver, with the United crew flying the same plane from Denver on to Seattle. Eventually Boeing 720 jet flights replaced the Douglas DC-6 in January 1965, however the interchange service arrangement continued. Taxiing inbound toward the terminal is N91311, a Douglas DC-6B.

 

 

October 1962
Seattle-Tacoma (Seatac) was built by the Port of Seattle in 1944, when the military took over operations of the existing Boeing Field. The new airport was built just south of Boeing field on a bluff in an upland plain. The first scheduled service from the airport was both Northwest Airlines and Trans-Canada Airlines which moved operations from Boeing Field immediately after opening. Over the next few years, United Airlines, Western Airlines, and Pan American Airlines relocated operations to Seattle-Tacoma. By 1957, the airport was hosting over four-hundred flights a week, with United Airlines being the largest carrier from the airport with over 260 flights weekly. The airport became a major intermediate point with flights heading to Alaska and hosted hundreds of cargo and passenger flights weekly. During 1962, Northwest Airlines served six cities from Seattle including flights to Portland, Honolulu, Anchorage, Spokane, and Chicago. During the same year 1962, Pan American was serving four locations including Fairbanks and Honolulu as well as its non-stop London services. Seatac, would eventually flourish into the largest commercial airport serving the Pacific Northwest. Parked on the apron and framed by the towering Mount Rainer is Pan American Airline’s N720PA “Clipper Fairwind,” a Boeing 707-321, and behind it a Northwest Boeing 707-320B.

 

 

October 1971
Due to the state of Alaska's remote and rugged wilderness, Alaska Airlines purchased six of Lockheed's civilian version of the popular military C-130 freighter, becoming the first airline to operate the aircraft. The four-engined turboprop was well suited for operating from austere airstrips, especially in support of North Slope oil activities around Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Alaska's first "Herk" was acquired in 1965, and were operated through 1971 when they were sold to Alaska International Air. Parked on the cargo ramp is N9227R,a Lockheed L-100-30 Hercules.

 

 

June 1971
Braniff International Airways had operated to Seattle under an interchange agreement with United Air Lines since 1953 and was finally granted authority to provide its own service on June 13, 1967. Braniff would operate non-stop service from Seattle to both San Antonio and Dallas using Boeing 727s. Having just been pushed back from the terminal for an afternoon flight and wearing the "pastel" orange colors is N299BN, a Boeing 727-191, delivered new to the airline on April 17, 1969.

 

 

September 1971
SAS Scandinavian Airlines was the first European airline to start international service to Seattle with non-stop flights to Bergen and Copenhagen in 1966. The Douglas DC-8 "Super-Fan" was used on the daily service which continued south to Los Angeles. Parked at the "new" Concourse A and being prepared for an afternoon departure is SE-DBK "Sigyn Viking," a Douglas DC-8-63.

 

 

September 1971*
Western Airlines was an early operator into Seattle when flights were started to Oakland via Portland and Tacoma in 1948. The airline increased it presence at the airport in 1967 when it purchased Pacific Northern Airways-PNA and the lucrative Seattle to Alaska routes as well as additional Boeing 720s. By 1973, Western was using the Boeing 720s on services from Seattle to Portland, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Seen taxiing away from the terminal for a mid-morning departure is N720W, a Boeing 720-062, originally with Pacific Northern Airways.

 

 

April 1972
United Air Lines was one of the first airlines to provide passenger service to the Seattle area when flights were started by predecessor Boeing Air Transport (BAT) in 1919. Pacific Air Transport started mail service between Los Angeles and Seattle in 1926 with the two carriers merging in 1931 to become United Air Lines. Passenger flights were soon started from Seattle to Portland, Oregon via Tacoma. United then was the largest airline operating from Seattle with twenty-four weekday departures. When "jet" service was introduced in 1959, United used the new Douglas DC-8 to replace the Douglas DC-7 and Douglas DC-6 on flights from Seattle to Chicago and New York-Idlewild. Seen taxiing inbound toward its gate is N8243U, a Douglas DC-8-33, purchased by United in September 1968.

 

 

May 1972
During the early 1970s Alaska Airlines leased a total of four Boeing 707s for added capacity during the peak summer season as well as charter flights to Siberia Russia. One of the 707s, an ex-Pan Am aircraft wearing British tour operator Donaldson Airways colors was used to increase cargo capacity on the Seattle-Ketchikan-Juneau-Anchorage route during the summer months. As the Russian charters dwindled due to the poor economy and additional Boeing 727s were added, the need for the 707s concluded. Parked on the ramp and being serviced for another flight to the "Final Frontier," is N724PA, a Boeing 707-321, originally delivered to Pan American Airways in December 1959, and leased by Alaska Airlines in March 1972

 

 

May 1972
Flying Tiger Line was established after World War II in 1945 and became the first scheduled air cargo airline in the United States. The airline introduced "jet" freighter flights with the introduction of the Boeing 707 in 1965, but replaced those aircraft with the larger capacity Douglas DC-8 starting in 1968. Seattle was a mini-hub for the airline especially for flights across the Pacific into Japan. In the early 1980s cargo flights connected Seattle with Portland, San Francisco and Chicago, with trans-Pacific cargo service to Tokyo and Okinawa, Japan. Parked at the cargo ramp and awaiting another flight is N784FT, a Douglas DC-8-63AF, delivered new to the airline in October 1968.

 

 

May 1972
Hughes Airwest's original predecessor West Coast Airlines was based at Seattle -Boeing Field and even after the merger of Bonanza Air Lines and Pacific Air Lines in 1968, continued to operate services from Boeing Field. It wasn't until 1971, that Hughes Airwest moved operations to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, becoming the last scheduled airline to serve Boeing Field at the time. Hughes Airwest continued to provide flights from Seattle to regional locations including Portland, Spokane, Yakima, and Pasco using the Douglas DC-9. Seen pulling in toward the gate at Concourse C is N9336, a Douglas DC-9-31, originally delivered to AirWest in November 1968.

 

 

May 1972*
Pan American Airways entered the Seattle market in 1932, when the airline purchased Alaska Airways Inc. and started a Seattle-Fairbanks route. This became a lucrative link for the Pan American system for the next thirty years, eventually adding services to Juneau and Portland. Pan American started the first non-stop Europe service, when flights were started to London, England in 1961 using the Boeing 707 "Intercontinental Jet Clipper." By 1972 the airline had added trans-Pacifc flights to Honolulu, along with its existing services to Fairbanks, London and Portland. Seeing taxiing inbound toward the gate after having landed is N895PA, "Clipper Herald of the Morning," a Boeing 707-321B.

 

 

June 1973
Northwest Airlines had a long history with the Seattle area, as its name suggests, when passengers services were started on a multi-stop Minneapolis-Seattle route in 1928. The airline took a foothold during World War II in providing critical service to Alaska and through to the Far East and Orient. Northwest was one of the first airlines to relocate from Boeing Field to the new Seattle-Tacoma Airport in 1947. The airline continued to grow becoming the second busiest carrier at the airport in 1957 with 80 weekly flights. The Boeing 707 introduced by Northwest in 1963 was placed on both intercontinental and trans-Pacific services. By 1973, Northwest Orient was still using the 707 to provide flights from Seattle to both Spokane and Minneapolis. Seen taxiing toward the terminal after having landed is N378US, a Boeing 707-351C, delivered new to the airline on March 29, 1968.

 

 

June 1973*
The Seattle area has been host to numerous, smaller local service carriers connecting many of the island spots in the Puget Sound. Harbor Air was one such carrier was established in 1971, to provide flights from Oak Harbor (in the San Juan Islands) to Seattle. Using a fleet of Islanders, the airline expanded to serve Bellingham and Mount Vernon in Washington, and Astoria in Oregon. Parked on the commuter ramp and showing the size comparison between a neighboring Western Boeing 727 is N66HA, a Britten-Norman BN-2A Islander.

 

 

June 1973
United Airlines was one of the launch customers of the Douglas DC-10 when thirty aircraft were ordered in 1968. The airline introduced the Douglas DC-10 on passenger service in August 1971 between San Francisco and Washington-Dulles. Seattle saw the Douglas DC-10 introduced on the trunk route to Chicago, but also the short, 165-mile route between Seattle and Portland, Oregon. Seen taxiing toward the terminal after having landed is N1810U, a Douglas DC-10-10 delivered new to the airline in April 1972.

 

 

June 1973
During late 1970, Western Airlines introduced a new corporate image replacing the "Chieftain" scheme being worn since 1959. Designed by agency Lippincott & Margulies of New York, a bold "W" trailed by a red stripe along the window-line became known as the "Flying W." Western faced litigation from the popular motorhome company, Winnebago Industries as they felt the new Western livery too closely resembled theirs. The new colors first appeared on a Boeing 720, and eventually as new aircraft were delivered, or existing aircraft underwent heavy maintenance, the indentity transition was applied. Seen taxiing in toward the gate at Concourse B is N93150, a Boeing 720-047B, delivered new to the airline in April 1963.

 

 

May 1974*
Northwest Airlines had established a rather strong foothold in the trans-Pacific market especially along in Far East Asia where the carrier was serving Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines. So much had this connection grown that in 1961, the airline added "Orient" to its title and numerous cities in japan. During 1969, Northwest introduced a new corporate image with "Northwest Orient" titles, a navy blue fuselage stripe, and the retention of the red tail. Seen taxiing away from the terminal for a mid-day flight is N145US, a Douglas DC-10-40, delivered new to the airline in January 1973.

 

 

April 1975*
Northwest placed an order for ten Boeing 747s in 1969, with the first being delivered in 1970.  With a capacity of 369-passengers Northwest Orient introduced the Boeing 747 into service on June 22, 1970 between Minneapolis-St. Paul and New York-JFK. As more 747s were delivered they began to replace the Boeing 707 on trans-Pacific flights and saw service into Seattle with flights to Honolulu in December 1970. Seen taxiing away from the terminal for a mid-day departure is N611US, a Boeing 747-251B, delivered new to the airline in March 1971.

 

 

July 1976
During the 1950s, United Air Lines and Continental Airlines inaugurated an interchange service between Tulsa-Denver-Portland-Seattle, with United flying the Douglas DC-6 from Denver onto Portland and Seattle. In 1969 Continental was awarded the Pacific Northwest case which allowed the airline to start service from Seattle and Portland to Southern California secondary cities. Soon thereafter, flights were started from Seattle to Denver, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston and Honolulu with introduction of the "heavy" Douglas DC-10 on flights to Denver and Honolulu during the early 1970s. Seen taxiing outbound toward Runway 34 Right is N68046, a Douglas DC-10-10.

 

 

July 1976*
Alaska Airlines on the heels of a management change, introduced a new corporate image in 1973 to celebrate Alaska's heritage. Know as "Alaskana Graphics" four designs emerged that identified; "Gold Rush Alaska," "Native Alaska," "Russian Alaska," and "Inuit Alaska." All four designs had specific tail images and cheat-line colors and became a prominent advertisement for the airline. Seen taxiing outbound for departure is N314AS, a Boeing 727-21, displaying a hearty gold prospector on the tail which commemorated the Gold Rush days in Alaska.

 

 

August 1976*
Even with competition from major carriers, Northwest Orient and Western Airlines, on services to Anchorage, Alaska, Alaska Airlines established a solid reputation for services to the "Final Frontier." By 1976, the airline was flying four daily non-stop flights to Anchorage and was the only carrier serving the routes from Seattle to both Juneau and Ketchikan using Boeing 727s. Caught taxiing inbound toward the gate at Concourse D is N316AS, a Boeing 727-21, wearing the "Inuit Alaska" graphics.

 

October 1977*
During late 1976, Alaska Airlines decided to standardize its corporate image and decided on the "Inuit Alaska" graphics with its well recognized Eskimo face and updated the cheat-line colors to blue and green, characteristic of Alaska's green forest and blue oceans. The Eskimo graphic was retired however with a slight adjustment from the original representation, the new one adding more of a smile. The airline eventually adopted the new slogan as well "Fly with a Happy Face." Seen taxiing toward its gate assignment after having landed is N314AS, a Boeing 727-21.

 

 

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