Commercial airline service to and from Everett took a step closer to reality on Tuesday with the Federal Aviation Administration's approval of a plan to add service from two airlines.
Paine Field, currently home to Boeing's biggest assembly plant and to a private aircraft, will gain the service after a commercial terminal and parking are added to the airport.
Horizon Air and Allegiant Air sought approval to begin providing service between the airport and three cities -- Portland, Spokane and Las Vegas. Horizon was approved to operate Bombardier Q400 Dash 8s out of the airport, while Allegiant was approved to fly the MD83 aircraft.
An environmental review in September found that adding some commercial flights would not significantly increase noise, traffic or air pollution.
Allegiant Air wants to start operating four flights a week and increase to 20 per week over 5 years. Alaska Air Group, which owns Horizon, said in September that it had reconsidered its proposal to fly in and out of Paine Field. But a company spokeswoman said this week that Horizon would be compelled to offer service if a competitor began operating out of the airport.
Business leaders and elected officials in Snohomish County supported the addition of commercial service to Paine Field, despite concerns voiced by people living near the airport about added noise and traffic. The two airlines first proposed adding commercial service at the airport in 2008.
“The City of Everett has been on record supporting commercial air at Paine Field for many years now,” Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson said. “Commercial air is necessary for economic development and job growth. Hopefully we’ll soon be working with a company to provide commercial air at Paine Field.”
Paine Field's three-letter airport code is PAE.
Additional reporting from KING 5's Jake Whittenbert and the Associated Press.