SEATAC, Wash. -- Alaska Airlines Flight 37 from Minneapolis arrives to a greener Sea-Tac Airport.
There’s still the loud roar of the engines, the welcoming guidance into gate C-15 and the frenzy of ground crews to off-load baggage. But something has changed.
SeaTac is going electric, with hundreds of new baggage tugs, bag ramps and support trucks.
There are a few of the old, diesel vehicles at the gates, but soon most will be replaced with 650 electric cars. The airport gets cleaner air and the airlines spend less.
"It really benefits the carriers. They're able to save fuel and reduce their maintenance costs with these vehicles," said Russ Simonson, Sea-Tac Airport Air Quality Manager.
Alaska has taken the lead with more than 200 electric vehicles on the grounds. The Port of Seattle has installed hundreds of charging stations on the concourses and north satellite.
Just plug them in, charge them over night and the ground crews are breathing easier.
“Sea-Tac hopes to be the first major U.S. airport to have every gate equipped with electric chargers.
It could happen in the next year and a half," said Simonson.
The Department of Energy kicked in to get the program going. And perhaps someday, those gas guzzling jets will go electric too.
The project is funded in large part through federal grants. Alaska Airlines expects to save $300,000 a year in fuel costs.
KING 5's Linda Brill and Liza Javier contributed to this report.