It’s not just passengers who are having their flight plans disrupted by the repeat eruptions of Mt. Redoubt. Many cargo freighters heading to Anchorage for refueling are instead diverting to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA).
According to airport officials, so far SEA is getting at least three times the normal arrivals of international cargo planes: 45 during the first four days of diversion, the equivalent of a full week’s regular schedule at SEA. Now the airport is figuring out where they’ll put more diverted wide-body planes if the volcano stays active.
So are passenger planes being pushed aside to make way for the giant, thirsty, visitors? “Nope, no delays for passenger traffic,” says airport rep. Perry Cooper, “A passenger may see a big cargo plane next to them at the terminal, but it won’t delay any of their flights. This, of course, is outside what passenger delays are created by the flights Alaska has had to cancel due to the volcano. What has created the cancellation for those flights is creating the extra traffic in the cargo area for us.”
(Photos of visiting cargo planes courtesy Port of Seattle)