Alaska Air announces first round of flights at new terminal
Last updated 11/21/2018 at Noon
The new Paine Field-Snohomish County Airport appears to have an opening day set, as Alaska Airlines put its first tickets on sale last week for flights starting Feb. 11, 2019, pending government approval.
Originally slated to open this fall, the opening of the terminal got pushed back because the Federal Aviation Administration felt a new Environmental Assessment for the terminal was necessary, since the last assessment, which was completed in 2012, only accounted for 12 flights, rather than the currently planned 24.
The new Draft Environmental Assessment was released in October, and found that despite the increase in daily flights, there were no substantial issues discovered in regards to traffic, air quality or noise, despite many local residents voicing concerns.
Also announced last week, Alaska Airlines will now have a maximum of 18 daily flights at the new Propeller Airports-operated terminal, rather than the previously reported 13.
According to a press release from Alaska on Thursday, it has acquired five gate times from Southwest Airlines, who has dropped its Paine Field routes entirely.
Alaska Airlines destinations include Portland, Phoenix and in California in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose and Las Vegas.
"Alaska Airlines flew from Paine Field back in the 1940s and '50s. We're excited to have the airline return to Everett," said Brett Smith, chief executive officer of Propeller Airports. "We're ready to join with Alaska to provide terrific service to our guests."
Southwest was originally planning to have a maximum of five flights daily to and from Oakland and Las Vegas. Now, just Alaska and United are flying out of Paine Field for the time being.
“The decision is based on business considerations, and terms of the agreement are confidential,” Southwest said in a news release. “The carrier has since notified airport developers and Snohomish County leaders of its decision.”
United has six flights scheduled to and from San Francisco and Denver, totaling a maximum of 24 daily flights at Paine Field.
"We’re tremendously honored to be a part of this historic moment with the opening of a brand new commercial airport,” said Andrew Harrison, Alaska Airlines' chief commercial officer. “Providing all new service from Paine Field and further expanding where we fly our guests, including from our global partners’ major international hubs, highlights the strong growth in our region and a thriving West Coast.”
The first flight from Paine Field is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. to Las Vegas. There will also be one arrival from Las Vegas on Feb. 11, at 4:30 p.m. Those are the only scheduled flights for Alaska that day.
In the press release, Alaska said after the first flights on Feb. 11, daily flight frequencies will increase over the course of the following weeks to “ensure new operations are running smoothly.”
On its website, there are no more than five flights both arrivals and departures scheduled for any one day until March.
Currently, United has not released any dates or times for flights to or from Paine Field.
The city of Mukilteo had legal battles opposing the new terminal in the past. Those efforts ended when the state Supreme Court declined to review the city’s appeal of Snohomish County’s March 2015 lease agreement with Propeller Airports prior to completing an environmental review of plans to construct the terminal.
The court cited the FAA’s 2012 assessment that found no significant impact on air pollution, noise or traffic.
Mukilteo spent $624,215, beginning in 2008, challenging plans for commercial air service at Paine Field and conducting its own environmental review. More than $300,000 of that money was spent on legal appeals, beginning in 2013.
Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Gregerson told The Beacon in June that the city had no plans to continue fighting the terminal in the courtroom.