Airline Virgin Atlantic inaugurated service between London's Heathrow Airport and Sea-Tac Airport Monday afternoon.
As world airlines go, you won't find Virgin Atlantic on any top 10 list, but the smallish international carrier tends to attract a lot of attention, because of its flamboyant founder Sir Richard Branson, who was on hand at Sea-Tac for the event.
The service will be flown with a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, replacing a flight previously flown by Delta Air Lines with a 767-200. The longer 787-9 will make an additional 50 seats available each day.
The airline says the Boeing Dreamliners are equipped with an on board bar, flat seats, mood lighting, and other amenities. It is designed to appeal and attract passenger from the region's high tech businesses. Virgin Atlantic says those businesses include Microsoft, Amazon, and Boeing.
What does this mean for Sea-Tac? It means more seats to London, which the airport says is already its single largest international market. That's a bit counter-intuitive, especially when you consider routes between Sea-Tac and London carry 40 percent more passengers than routes between Sea-Tac and Tokyo, the second busiest route.
The route is also being flown in partnership with Delta, feeding into Delta Air Lines' growing network of flights in and out of it's Sea-Tac hub.
In 2016, Sea-Tac rose to become the ninth busiest airport in the U.S. That's up from 17th in 2011 and Sea-Tac is considered the fastest growing airport in the U.S. The Northwest's largest airport has added 11 new airlines since 2007.
An interesting footnote, Virgin Atlantic comes just as Alaska Airlines announced this week it will retire the Virgin America brand following its purchase of that carrier last December.
There is a connection. Virgin America was founded as an offshoot of Branson's Virgin Group back in 2004, though being a domestic airline based in the U.S., Americans had to have a majority ownership interest.