Groundbreaking for Paine Field passenger terminal

The modern, two gate terminal will usher in an era of commercial service at the Everett airfield.

Snohomish County and developer Propeller Airports broke ground Monday on a new passenger terminal at Paine Field.

The modern, two gate terminal will usher in an era of commercial service at the Everett airfield.

Alaska Airlines has announced plans to offer up to nine flights at Paine Field. That number could one day rise to as many as 24 flights per day.

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Howver, many who live in neighboring Mukilteo worry about noise and traffic.

"We've never worried about traffic coming out here to Mukilteo Beach," said Karen O'Meara-Pullen, as she soaked in the sun Monday afternoon. "Years from now it might be a different story."

The groundbreaking follows three decades of talk and planning. Approximately 300 flights currently fly in and out of Paine Field on a typical day. Many are small, personal aircraft. Others are test flights for Boeing.

The new commercial terminal will operate from 6 a.m. until approximately 9 p.m.

Propeller Airports will run the terminal. CEO Brett Smith said traffic and noise will not be an issue.

"People worry this will be Sea-Tac North. It will not. The market does not bear that. It bears a small, regional airport that goes to five or six cities, potentially," said Smith.

Alaska Airlines signed on as the first carrier to utilize the new terminal. CEO Brad Tilden said 20 percent of the company's customers who fly through Sea-Tac Airport will use the new Everett terminal. It is expected to draw passengers from Redmond, north Seattle, and beyond.

Supporters say adding commercial flights in and out of Paine Field is necessary as the region grows, and will give North Sound residents a closer option than Sea-Tac.

The terminal is expected to open in the fall 2018.

Alaska has not announced which cities it will service from Everett. Propeller hasn't specified any other airlines that will operate out of Paine Field, however Smith said, "the interest has been tremendous."