Mukilteo Beacon - Your Hometown News Source

Commercial service cleared for takeoff at Paine Field


February 27, 2019

After multiple delays to the long-awaited grand opening of the Propeller Airports terminal at Paine Field, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) gave the needed “thumbs up” for commercial air service to begin for Alaska and United Airlines.

Snohomish County owns Paine Field, and Propeller Airports signed a lease to design, build, and operate the two-gate terminal.

The start date for commercial service at Paine Field was initially set for late 2018, but the FAA deemed a new environmental assessment study was necessary, as the amount of daily flights to and from the terminal increased from 12 to 24 since the last study was completed in 2012. Additionally, the types of aircraft studied in 2012 were different than the planes that United and Alaska will use once they start flying out of Everett.

The draft environmental assessment was released in September, and had no major findings in regard to noise, air quality, or traffic issues with the addition of the new terminal.

While waiting for the final government approval, Alaska Airlines announced its first flights would begin in February.

This would ultimately be delayed due to the partial government shutdown that started in December due to a dispute over President Trump’s funding for a border wall between the United States and Mexico.

Many FAA employees were furloughed due to the shutdown, including key figures who conducted certification and oversight work required for the start of commercial air service at Paine Field.

As a result, Alaska pushed its flights back roughly a month, with the scheduled first flight March 4.

With FAA employees back to work after the government shutdown ended, the administration’s Northwest Mountain Region headquarters issued a “finding of no significant impact,” which will allow service to begin soon.

United will have its first flights on March 31.

"The start of commercial passenger service at Paine Field is excellent news for Snohomish County and the Puget Sound region," Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers said. "We appreciate the hard work of our airport staff, Propeller Airports, the FAA, Alaska Airlines, and United Airlines. Not only does commercial service bring convenience to those wanting to travel, it will also make us a more attractive place for investors.

“We look forward to the first flight and the next step in our growth as a world class center for innovation."


Alaska and United will combine for a maximum of 24 daily flights to and from Paine Field to different locations across the Western United States.

Alaska will have the bulk of the flights, possessing 18 slots, and will fly to Portland, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Jose, Orange County, San Francisco and San Diego.

Alaska was initially going to have a maximum of 13 daily flights at Paine Field, but Southwest Airlines dropped out of Paine Field and transferred all its slots to Alaska.

United will have a maximum of six flights, and will fly to and from Denver and San Francisco.

Both airlines have had tickets on sale for a few months, and plan on easing their way into their maximum daily flights.

@Mukilteo’s fight@

The city of Mukilteo had legal battles opposing the new terminal in the past, which ultimately proved unsuccessful.

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 starting in 2008 in 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 starting in 2013.

The city’s Paine Field reserve fund was removed in 2018, and the roughly $32,000 leftover was transferred into the city’s Transportation Benefit District fund.

Author Bio

Brandon Gustafson, Editor, Mukilteo Beacon

Brandon Gustafson was named editor of the Mukilteo Beacon in October, 2017. Born and raised in Mukilteo, Brandon attended Mukilteo Elementary, Olympic View Middle School, and Kamiak High School, graduating in 2013. After high school, Brandon attended Shoreline Community College, earning his associate's degree while playing for the school's baseball team. He then transferred to the University of Washington, where he graduated in 2017 with a bachelor's degree in communications-journalism.

Phone: 425-347-5634
Twitter: @MukBeaconBPG


Reader Comments


Our Family of Publications Includes:

Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019