Horizon Air said Thursday it wants to begin commercial passenger service out of Paine Field in Everett. But it faces local political opposition...
Horizon Air said Thursday it wants to begin commercial passenger service out of Paine Field in Everett. But it faces local political opposition to making that a reality.
Although Everett’s city council and mayor support introducing commercial flights at the airport, Snohomish County officials led by County Executive Aaron Reardon are opposed.
The county-owned airport is used by Boeing to deliver its large wide-body jets; small general-aviation airplanes also fly in and out.
Horizon, the regional airline subsidiary of Alaska Air Group, proposes daily flights of 76-seat Bombardier turboprop aircraft to Portland and Spokane, starting by next summer. The schedule would allow same-day business trips to those cities.
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A group of residents living near the airport, concerned about increased airplane noise, has organized an intense lobbying campaign to prevent moves to expand flying at the airport. The cities of Mukilteo, Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood have all passed resolutions against expansion.
However, because the airport has received about $57 million in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funding, the county is required to negotiate in good faith with airlines proposing commercial service.
“For personal reasons, I don’t believe commercial air is compatible with current operations at Paine Field or the numerous households now surrounding the airport,” Reardon said in a statement. “But we will continue following the law.”
In contrast, the Everett City Council commissioned a report that concluded commercial service at the airport would be good for the city and the county.
Last month, the council, backed by Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson and representatives of the local Chamber of Commerce and the county Economic Development Council, voted 6-0 to support commercial flights.
In May, Las Vegas-based low-cost carrier Allegiant Air also proposed to start flying from Paine Field. It is in talks with both the county and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on what infrastructure improvements would be required.
The existing terminal at Paine Field would have to be expanded before passenger services could begin, but the county has not discussed any funding arrangement for that.
Paine Field occupies more than 1,300 acres of land and has three paved runways. It is home to major aeronautics companies that account for more than 30,000 jobs in the Puget Sound area, including Boeing, Goodrich, ATS and the soon-to-be-relocated Korry Electronics.
Dominic Gates: 206-464-2963 or email@example.com