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Seattle travel and aviation industry woes worsen through global coronavirus pandemic

The Transportation Security Administration said a security officer at a checkpoint at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport tested positive for coronavirus.

SEATTLE — Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is the largest in the Northwest and is the eighth-busiest in the country.

But the global coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll at Sea-Tac airport, as well as in other sectors of Seattle's travel and aviation industry.

Passengers coming through checkpoints have decreased significantly. For international flights, 321 are canceled for March and the airport expects 517 are expected to be canceled in April.

Those numbers from the Port of Seattle, which operates both the airport and the seaport.  

And on Tuesday, the airport announced that a Transportation Security Administration security officer tested positive for COVID-19.

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The worker last worked at Sea-Tac airport on the morning shift on Saturday, March 21 at Checkpoint 5, according to the TSA. That checkpoint is the furthest north leading to the D and N gates. That checkpoint is closed, and the TSA says it will be cleaned before reopening.

And on the waterfront, the travel industry is also suffering. 

At the advice of Public Health - King County Seattle, the port has paused the 2020 cruise season. It won't begin until the health emergency is over, says the port.    

In 2019, cruising was a $900 million business. There is concern that this year’s season may never leave the dock.  

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Flying, in some form, will continue. While the internet is full of photos showing a single head poking up from an ocean of empty seats aboard a wide-bodied jet, there is still mail to haul, contracts with package companies and general freight. 

But how the industry recovers may depend on how much financial help airlines and airports receive from the massive rescue package working its way through Congress.  

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