It is time for Paine Field (PAE) to offer commercial flights and we all might be one step closer to getting there. Paine Field, where Boeing builds its Boeing 767, 777 and 787, is located in Everett, WA about 30 miles north of Seattle. Many people think that the airport is owned by Boeing, but it is actually owned by Snohomish County and for years there has been debate about starting commercial operations at the airport.
Even though I live in the flight path for Paine Field and increased flights would likely decrease the value of my home, I am a strong supporter for adding commercial flight operations. It is the best for the community as a whole, there is a demand and there will be little negative impact on the community.
BACKGROUND PAINE FIELD STORIES:
* Is Seattle Ready for a Second Airport?
* Opinion: Commercial Flights Should Commence at Paine Field
This week the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) concluded that up to 23 flights per day would have almost no impact on the environment, noise or traffic around the airport. People still have until October 17th to make their opinions known and the FAA is expected to make their final decision on commercial flights by the end of the year.
After the FAA’s announcement Alaska Airlines stated that they are no longer interested in flying out of Paine Field. Alaska told The Everett Herald that Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) has improved their offering quite a bit with a third runway, light rail and a rental car area. “Just the significant investments made at Sea-Tac the last couple of years lead us to feel strongly that Sea-Tac is the best airport to serve our region,” Bobbie Egan explained to the Everett Herald. However, Alaska also admits that if other airlines start offering flights out of PAE, they might re-visit the issue in the future.
Allegiant, who does not operate any flights out of SEA, is still interested in starting operations at Paine Field. Even with the final announcement expected soon, Allegiant is not sure when it might start flights. “We don’t have an announcement timeline – or even a definitive that we will announce – but we are certainly interested,” Allegiant spokesperson told AirlineReporter.com. “Many other factors come into play when making service decisions. That being said, we think the FAA report confirms what we’ve said all along – flights from Paine field would be a great benefit to the community and the airport.”
Not everyone is a fan of Paine Field starting commercial operations. The Everett Herald recently posted a commentary from Vicki Derks who feels that increased traffic at PAE might cause Boeing to move more of their operations out of town.
Derks echos the fear that many others have talked about: the fact that once commercial air traffic starts at an airport, there is no limiting how quickly flights can grow. Maybe the surrounding area will turn into a cesspool or the noise will drive people out of the area. I hardly doubt that will ever be the case. For one, is there really that much demand in Everett for enough commercial flights to cause a detriment to the community? I do not think so.
About 40 miles south is the region’s largest airport SEA and then 75 miles north is Bellingham International Airport. There isn’t a huge population between the two airports who will be looking for a limited, domestic route offerings out of PAE.
To date, Boeing has had no comment on commercial flights starting in Everett.
It seems the writing is on the wall. I suspect that someday flights will commence at Paine Field and I am waiting for the day. I say bring it on!