Senator Cantwell, Port of Seattle Announce New Bomb-Sniffing Dogs to Improve Security Wait Times at Sea-Tac Airport

SEATTLE – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Port of Seattle Commission President Courtney Gregoire announced that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) would be deploying five new passenger screening canine teams to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to improve security checkpoint wait times.

The addition of the new canine teams fulfills a commitment TSA Administrator David Pekoske made to Senator Cantwell during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing in January to have 10 passenger screening canine teams working at the airport by the end of March.

“These new canine teams will increase the capacity of Sea-Tac’s security checkpoints, allowing more passengers to be cleared in less time,” said Cantwell. “Sea-Tac has grown faster over the last 5 years than any other large airport in the country, which has brought new challenges. We have seen wait times for the 45,000 or more daily passengers going through the security checkpoints here at Sea-Tac start to spike over the past month.”

“We want to thank Senator Cantwell for her leadership in ensuring a secure and efficient travel experience here at Sea-Tac International Airport,” said Port of Seattle Commission President Courtney Gregoire. “The story of Sea-Tac over the past seven years has been one of rapid passenger growth due to the incredible expansion of the region’s economy, and our efforts to accommodate that growth through staffing, infrastructure, technology and innovation. As passenger volumes continue to grow, one of our top priorities is ensuring swift and reliable processing at TSA passenger screening lines.”

Senator Cantwell has long made improving airport wait times at Sea-Tac a priority. She has repeatedly requested that TSA allocate more bomb-sniffing canine teams to the airport to meet the increased demands of the tourist season, and she has pressed TSA to provide more resources and localized training assets to ensure adequate staffing levels at the airport.

With an increase of nearly two million travelers passing through the airport in 2017, Sea-Tac continues to be one of the fastest growing airports in the United States. The growth has stretched TSA resources and resulted in increasing airport security wait times. In early March, security checkpoint wait times reached more than 40 minutes.