The new passenger service coming to Paine Field in Everett next year will not have restrictions on the number of daily flights, aside from the physical limitations of the airport. And nighttime flights will be allowed.
Contrary to assertions by one local elected official, the new passenger service coming to Paine Field in Everett next year will not have restrictions on the number of daily flights aside from the physical limitations of the airport.
And nighttime flights will be allowed, though airlines are asked to voluntarily limit those.
Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Gregerson, who has opposed bringing passenger service to Paine Field largely due to concern about increased noise over residential areas, told The Seattle Times in May that airport developer Propeller has agreed to limit the number of commercial flights to a maximum of 22 per day and to restrict commercial air operations to the hours from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
This incorrect information was repeated in Thursday’s story about United Airlines becoming the second carrier to announce service from the airport beginning next fall.
On Thursday, Gregerson conceded she was mistaken — there is no such agreement with Propeller.
“I either had the wrong information or I just wasn’t clear,” she said in a phone interview.
Instead, she said it’s the Snohomish County permitting process and environmental- impact analysis that imposes limits on the hours of operation and number of flights.
She said this document imposes a limit of 16 departures per day (or 32 takeoffs and landings), with no flying after 10 p.m.
“If they go beyond those limits, they would have to do a new round of environmental studies,” Gregerson said.
However, the document Gregerson cited Thursday, the county’s “Mitigated Determination of Nonsignificance,” does not impose such limits.
To assess the environmental impact, that document estimates the maximum number of daily passenger departures at 16, based on the logistics of operating only two gates.
But that number is not a limit.
Deputy airport director Bill Dolan said Propeller would need further permission and a new environmental assessment to construct additional gates. However, if the company instead managed to have faster turnaround and higher throughput of airplanes at the initial two gates, that would not trigger additional review unless it was deemed to add a “substantial” new negative impact.
In addition, nighttime flights are not prohibited.
Instead, the county’s environmental review asks Propeller to seek voluntary agreements with the airlines using the airport to limit their nighttime flights (after 10 p.m.) to “no more than four” in any 24-hour period.