Paine Field already sees aircraft from Southwest, Alaska Airlines and Allegiant coming in for maintenance work. Why not for passengers?

Paine Field already sees aircraft from Southwest, Alaska Airlines and Allegiant coming in for maintenance work. Why not for passengers?

The fight for Seattle to get a second airport up north has been dragging on longer than many have expected. For those of you who do not live in the Seattle area, Allegiant and Horizon Airlines started to look into the possibility of flying out of Paine Field, which is located in Everett, WA. Talking to Horizon, Allegiant, Boeing and the airport recently, they all say there are currently no updates for the addition of commercial flights.

There are a lot of positives about adding commerical flights to Paine Field, but there are a lot of people who are fighting hard to “save our community”. Wait, what?

Since 1992 a group, called Save Our Community, has come together and tried to stop commerical aviation at Paine Field. Their main goal is to preserve, “the quality of life in this primarily residential area of Puget Sound.”

Now, I feel they do have a few good points. If the traffic at Paine Field is increased, this could cause issues for Boeing and possibly make them look to move their main factory to other parts of the country. Of course, no one would want that to happen.

However, I don’t think allowing commercial flights would cause Boeing to leave and there is surely a happy medium that could be reached. Adding commercial flights at Paine Field would create many new jobs in the Everett area with the need for additional hotels, increase in tourism and the hiring of airline workers.

Personally, I think the arguement that the quality of life for everyone around the airport would deteriate is just hogwash. During public forums in the Everett, WA area back in January 2010, many people felt that the Paine Field area would become dirty, filled with porn and crime, forcing people to leave. Many complained that they bought homes around an airport and are upset about the idea of increased flights. For me, many people seemed to be quite selfish about the matter.

I live in the flight path of Paine Field and bought my house fully well knowing that. Sure, I am a bit different since I actually enjoy aircraft flying over my house, but people shouldn’t assume to buy a house around a very large airport and not expect planes to fly over. People have complained that adding MD-80 and Q400 flights would be a huge nuisance, which is odd, since we already have Boeing 747’s and even the Dreamlifter, which are much bigger and louder, flying overhead. Not to mention the Boeing 737s that fly in all the time to get maintenance work done. Would adding a few smaller planes really make our lives that much worse? I feel the possibility of commercial flights coming out of Paine Field should be driven by market demand and not private citizens fearful for the value of their homes.

The Save Our Community website states that people who run Paine Field, “are going all out to declare war against the community by working to bring in air service to Paine Field.” Really? War? If people in the community come together and create a demand for air travel in and out of Paine Field, why shouldn’t airlines meet that demand? No airline is going to start flights to a new destination without expecting to make profit. It is not like airport and airline officials are getting together just to make your life worse. In fact, starting commercial traffic to Paine Field will make more people’s lives better.

Competition is a beautiful thing. If airlines are able to fly out of Paine Field, it will cause competition for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport  down south and for Bellingham International Airport up north. This means that not only will the airlines be competing for your business, but so will the airports.

Yes, some people will have to make some sacrifices, but we have to look at the greater good for our community. Could my house value drop if there is an increase of flights. Sure. Am I willing for that to happen for the greater good of the community — of course. What do you think? Would adding commercial flights at an airport that normally doesn’t have them, but could handle them be a good or bad thing?


EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me:
POP QUIZ: What Airport Is This?

There are a few false assumptions in this article.
1. “surely a happy medium that could be reached.” Federal law states that once scheduled commercial flights begin, their number and hours of operation cannot be limited. Also FAA rules state that preference be given to commercial flights. This means any test flights for Boeing need to wait.
2. “Paine Field would create many new jobs in the Everett” To do this to any degree means a push towards what they have at San Diego’s airport (another one runway airport), a flight every 2 1/2 minutes. Why would you want to promote this instead of what Boeing and the Governor have stated, a push for more aerospace companies and jobs that support Boeing and the Aerospace Industry.
3. “If airlines are able to fly out of Paine Field, it will cause competition for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport” Why is this good? We have spent and are spending billions of dollars on rapid transit and improvements to Sea-Tac (including the third runway and Next Gen traffic control systems). Sea-Tac is operating well below capacity and should do so for years to come. Why cannibalize the billions spent?
4. “the quality of life for everyone around the airport would deteriorate is just hogwash” Every study done on air quality and disease rates around commercial airports shows more problems near such areas. Not to mention all the schools near enough the airport to be affected.
I could go on but hopefully you get the picture by now.

Hey Victor, Thanks for writing.

A lot of this comes with the assumption that the airport could get as big as San Diego. I just do not see that happening. I think there is a demand for flights out of PAE, but not enough to create a huge airport. I mean there are commercial flights out of Boeing Field, but it hasn’t gotten out of control.

It isn’t like SEA will be going away. I know a lot of people who live up north who just don’t fly as much because of the hassle of going to SEA. Living in Lynnwood, I would love the idea of driving 15min, getting cheaper parking and it being less crowded to hop on a flight and go.

Either way, I have a feeling the flights won’t be starting anytime soon.

Drew V

Good example of an “in between” competing airport is Piedmont Triad Airport in Greensboro, NC (GSO). Its 1.5 hours NE of Charlotte (CLT) and 1.5 hours west of Raleigh (RDU). Although Southwest’s presence in RDU has driven prices down, GSO’s direct flights to commercial hubs (Cincy, Dulles, Newark, Atlanta, Chicago) can often be found for about 10-15% cheaper than US Airways flights originating in CLT. Recently GSO has added a 3rd north-south runway to help alleviate Fedex flights and the upgrade/maintenance traffic. Hondajet is working to comoplete an expansion of its facility just east of the main runway. While the terminal is less than half-full, a good deal can often be had when its time to fly out of NC.


Recent studies in California, which have published scientific peer reviewed data collection and analysis, are showing that “Smaller airports may endanger health”. This article was republished and linked via many news outlets via the internet over the past year, one of the links is given below, along with the original source and authors of the information.

The relevance for Paine Field is that the entire Mukilteo School District surrounds Paine Field within the distance where we can expect to have our children breathing toxic emissions at a level that is hazardous to health. Hopefully we won’t be seeing the FAA certificate of operation changed to unlimited and unfettered growth of air travel – it would simply be irresponsible governance.

SOURCES: Suzanne E. Paulson, Ph.D., professor, atmospheric chemistry, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles; John Clark III, Ph.D., researcher, Department of Epidemiology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami; Nov. 20, 2009, Environmental Science & Technology, online

Hey Christina,

Although I am not for hurting the children, there are many things in our society that are adverse for health, but are still done for the common good of society. If people have health concerns, they probably shouldn’t live by an airport. And it isn’t like they are building a new airport, there are already plenty of planes that fly in and out of Paine Field today.


The fact of the matter is the homes and school district surrounding the Paine field airport were built with the express understanding (yes, it was promised) that there would NOT be any commercial air traffic out of this airport. Now they want to change the deal, but guess what, we won’t be able to sell our homes, keep our children from being injured by the effects of the traffic, or avoid the additional traffic you want to bring into our neighborhood (the surroundings are not commercial), etc. This is not the minor change some are trying to make people believe. And yes, you are putting profit before health if you advocate for this change. If this is such a trivial matter, volunteer your own community for a commercial airport and watch how far you get.


Hey Tom,

Thanks for your thoughts. This is my community. I live in the flight path for Paine Field. I have heard people say how they were promised no commercial flights would commence, but I haven’t been able to find anything official beyond Realtors stating that.

We already have very large aircraft flying over our community. Adding a few more smaller ones is really not going to have a big impact on our daily lives.


THanks for your thoughts David,

I believe you are incorrect on a couple of points.

First, the large aircraft that currently use the field are considered developmental in nature and don’t come close to flying with the frequency of a comercial air operation (thanks god) ad they scheduel the take-offs and landing during the middle of the work day for the most part, with very few flights on weeknights or weekends.

Second, on the subject of “no promised commercial flights”. We, the public, really were promised no commercial flights.

“The use and expansion of the airport is currently governed by an agreement that was forged during 1978—1979 negotiations, called the Mediated Role Determination (MRD).[4] The MRD recommends the role of Paine Field to be as a general aviation and aerospace manufacturing airport (Page A-3 Paragraph 1), while discouraging other types of activities including supplemental/charter air passenger service (Page A-3 Paragraph 6).

In 2005 Snohomish County commissioned a panel to review the MRD, and in conclusion suggested the MRD “should not be ratified or revised, but should be retired as a policy document”.[5] In June 2008 the Snohomish County Council rejected the findings of the panel, and as in 1989, 1992 & 2001, restated its opposition to commercial air passenger services operating from Paine Field.[6] The council stated:

Reaffirm our county’s commitment to preserving the existing general aviation role of Paine Field, and [to] pursue any and all lawful and appropriate means to discourage any action that would facilitate, directly or indirectly, use of Paine Field for scheduled air passenger service or air cargo service, which may include an interlocal agreement.

This has been the county’s official working document governing Paine Field operation since the late 1970’s when my home was built in Serenc Lake. Now that I have made the investment, both in money and in time, it appears a great number of people want to ruin it.

The major point is, as residents of the greater Paine Field area, any additional flights will have a negative impact on our community, not just in noise, but in additional traffic impacts as well. The designation of the facility should not change to allow commercial operations.


These people make me laugh and that website is completely absurd. My favorite part is the first photo they show of airline traffic at “San Diego Airport” is actually a photo from Boston. Well done folks. I’ve been to KSAN many times and the most airplanes you will ever see lined up is two or three. Not to mention the fact which David has pointed out, that San Diego is and always will be much bigger than PAE ever would become. I don’t even foresee PAE getting as much traffic as even Bellingham.

Quick, look of there, it is a flock of NIMBYs.

Waaaaa, waaaa, you gotta stop the commercial flights, its for the children. Waaa, waaa.

R Lopaka

Love it!!!! flock of NIMBYS!!!! Is KOMO Ken Schram still the head NIMBY?

But for airline geeks airports are IWIMBYP’s (I Want In My Back Yard Please). Okay, I wouldn’t want to live by a busy airport, but I wouldn’t mind some Q400s and MD-80s flying over.


R Lopaka

Bet NIMBYs would like to close SEA-TAC and replace it with High Speed Rail. Just like “rail to nowhere” here in California.

Many in area have wanted McChord AFB to open to commercial flts as a SEA-TAC reliever.


You need to consider local transportation business, bus, limo, taxi or airport shuttle companies. They will have biggest impact if so decide to have service at Pain Field. On other hand, O’Hare is almost impossible to increas flights unless buy or sell slots. Therefore Midway (KMDW)becomes handy airport. Although, you need to real watch out enroute streets.
Even though, yo need to drive little far, but I like Milwaukee General Mitchell (KMKE). Long term parking fee is very reasonable and very freindly airport.

I have driven 1.5hrs north to fly out of Bellingham vs 30min south out of Seattle just to have cheaper parking and not having to deal with the much larger terminal. Sometimes I just don’t want to deal with the hassles 🙂



I live north of Seattle and I would love to have some flight choices out of Paine Field.
The drive to SeaTac is absolute hell and takes two and a half hours vs an hour to Everett.
I’m sure there are many northenders that feel the same.

Have you ever looked at flying out of Bellingham? They do not fly to as many places, but the flights out of there can get you to quite a few places now.



Yes, Bellingham is now an alternative. I think they actually fly to other places directly-not via SeaTac.


There is difference of opinion between airport user and airline consultant view.

I am interested — can you expand?


Unfortunately, these kinds of navel-gazing NIMBYs are everywhere and they are to a great extent to blame for America’s steady decline. Good jobs are lost because these self-serving egomaniacs (often poorly disguised as environmentalists or as people who want to “protect the little children”) work hard to stop all activities, which cannot demonstrate any immediate and direct benefits to them personally.

I would suggest that these people voluntarily and permanently put themselves on TSA’s No-Fly List – after all, why would they want to damage the communities around SeaTac or Bellingham or any other airport that they would otherwise fly in or out of???

R Lopaka

Save Our Community group. Have they looked into banning carbon based fuels for local trucks,buses and cars? I’m positive they ALL have sold their cars/SUVs. Refuse to purchase any item delivered by killer polluting truck,rail or aviation. Banning all transportation via air by their community citizens. Maybe go back to horses or pedal power? Don’t let that horse manure pile up! How about banning travel to SEA-TAC. Just think of the pollution caused by traveling to SEA-TAC. Apparently it’s OK to pollute somewhere else.Save Our Community….by screwing OTHERS should be their motto. Save our Community hypocrites would be a better name. Enjoy your SAILBOAT trip to Hawaii!!


I was an engineer for the Third Runway at Seatac. The neighboring communities hotly contested that project. Representatives from Mukilteo and Lynnwood went out of their way to support the project. Perhaps turnabout is called for.

I live within the Class D for PAE. I support commercial service. I remember scheduled service from PAE to PDX back in 1988.

The vast majority of those opposed to commercial service are latte sipping, SUV driving NIMBYs. If they believe half the stuff that comes out of their mouths, they would not fly out of SEA as it would cause detriments to the neighboring communities.

Hi,this is awesome,I really like it.Hope to see more near future.Thanks.

Paul in Bothell

PAE-LAX, PAE-SFO, PAE-PDX, PAE-LAS daily non-stops please.

hi this is one of the best is very informative keep it up

I’m surprised by how many groups seem to be opposed to allowing flights from Paine Field. It would be a much nicer drive from Marysville and other areas north of Seattle. I’ve put a website together where people can get more information on the current status of commercial flights out of Paine Field: .


I fly on average weekly out of SEA. I’m hoping for this commercial service to begin soon. Driving from Mill Creek to SEA is insane.

Those of us that support this may have to get politically involved.


I am a prospective homeowner shopping for homes in the Mukilteo area. I’m attracted to the area for a number of reasons: good schools, convenient access to Boeing, great communities, and sweeping views of the sound in one of the few affordable areas left in the Puget Sound area. So I’m happy to have found a home and have scheduled an inspection. So far so good.

So I was dismayed to learn that Paine Field is being courted by two airlines to start commercial service out of that airport. I deeply oppose airport expansion for the following reasons:

1) The biggest concern I have of course is home values. Eventually I will want to move, and I want to know that given inflation that I will come out a little ahead or break even when I do go to sell. Having an active airport less than 2 miles from my home will drastically and irreversibly damage the value on the homes in my area, and will have a catastrophic impact on the assessed value of the land and thus taxes collected. This has many knock-on effects, not the least of which is the loss of funding to the schools. We don’t want to mortgage our childrens’ future and our communities’ reputation for having quality education in a good, stable area just for a quick buck in licensing fees and tax revenue from increased business at the airport.

2) President Obama, and others, have publicly stated their desire to increase exports from America. I support this, and Boeing is leading the charge. They have over 7 years of backlog! That’s billions and billions of dollars in money Uncle Sam and Boeing can take to the bank. Paine Field is thus of strategic national interests and serves as a unique “air shipping port” if you will, as most customers take delivery of their airplanes out of Paine Field. Furthermore, Boeing is anticipating the increased demand by building a brand new (and much larger) staging, reception, and delivery center right on the south end of their property.

Would you want to crimp Boeing’s ability to increase exports and support American jobs by letting more passenger traffic in to Paine Field?

3) Increased traffic will clog our highways in the area even more so. Boeing has over 30,000 workers coming and going at all times of day. It already takes an hour to go from Paine Field to Seattle (one of the other reasons I’m moving closer to Paine Field). Why make that worse?

4) If Bellingham’s airport, Sea-Tac, and other airports are any indication, we will have more crime, including prostitution (I need only direct you to the escorts section of to give you evidence of this … the vast majority of women “advertising” their “services” say they’re at Sea-Tac, Tukwila, or Seattle). I don’t want to run into prostitutes on my way home from work any more than I want my future kids seeing that.

5) Increase in air traffic will inexorably lead to an accident, leading to massive loss of life. I rue the day that that will happen and pray it doesn’t but statistically speaking one day it will.

I could go on, but I think you see my point. Furthermore, I am considering not buying in Mukilteo should the airport decide to expand. I think it makes logical sense NOT to support it’s expansion.


I looked at the save our communities website, and I think it’s one of the funniest things I’ve heard in a while. I am all for expanding Paine Field.

Cap the number of flights that can go and in out of Paine – then you have a deal. No – Southwest wont be moving out of Sea Tac to Paine. What you are looking at is non stop air service to Las Vegas, Phoenix and Southern Califonia – if you are lucky maybe even Hawaii. Horizon will fly to Northwest locations, possibly Vegas and So Cal as well. I dont see when you have 10 flights a day leaving in total, how does this destroy the quality of life at an airport where Boeing can test louder aircraft anytime that they want? Jobs would be had, tax revenue would be obtained and yes the existing local hotels would see an increase in occupancy. Paine is not going to come close to even Bellingham – where you can fly non stop to Denver, Maui, Honolulu, Vegas and most Western Destinations. This is mainly due to Canadians who come across the border to take flights that are much cheaper than what they could get if they flew out of Vancouver. Boeing could add 10 more flights a day to test aircraft and yet there is no complaints? So now that there are actual passengers on these same flights it is an issue? Sorry – you can not have it both ways. Boeing would welcome the opportunity to have their business partners to have direct flights into their operation. The many businesses that are in Everett would then have the ability to bring in their clients and workers closer to their headquarters. Room tax, sales tax, parking fees, jobs – let alone the chance to decrease traffic to Sea Tac – it makes no sense why Paine does not move forward at worst on a limited basis. Sorry detractors – you wont become a San Diego or another Sea Tac. If Bellevue still had it’s airport, there would be a long line of people who would take flights out of there. Crime and prostitution come along with this? Please! Bellingham is not seeing any of this and neither is Pasco – who have now great air service.

Mesa, Arizona opened up commercial flights last year – Spirit and Allegiant are flying into this former business airport. It HAS driven down prices and has not dealt with the grief that Paine detractors have provided. The same ones who will see a cheap airfare to take their kids to Disneyland, sorry they are not going to boycott Paine then – they will be buying tickets to fly out of Everett. Carlsbad, CA is now offering commercial flights. The aircraft that executives use today, in many cases they are no bigger in size than the small planes we see many airlines using right now anyway.

I dont see airlines pulling out of Sea Tac. With so many airlines cutting back on flights, jamming more and more people on tight airplanes out of Sea Tac – having airlines willing to add planes should be welcomed. Most cities right now would die for this opportunity. Orange County has noise restrictions, Montreal has a curfew, same with Buffalo – so these major cities have been able to put restrictions in place – why cant Paine detractors look at how these cities dealt with the situation and get a minimum amount of flights launched? Sorry – having 10 flights a day with actual passengers on the planes is not going to destroy someone’s home value. It is basically putting passengers on 4 747 or Dreamliners that leave daily testing anyway.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *