Final federal approval of commercial passenger service at Paine Field, which was expected to begin Feb. 11, could be delayed by the ongoing government shutdown.

Gregory Martin, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman in Washington, D.C., told The Daily Herald that "the partial shutdown could potentially delay" the agency's approval or disapproval, which will be based on a revised environmental assessment.

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The outcome is widely expected to be approval, and airlines have been booking flights to and from Paine Field for weeks. Alaska Airlines and United Airlines are offering a combined 24 daily departures from Everett, with Alaska planning to launch service beginning Feb. 11 and United starting March 31.

But on Tuesday, Alaska conceded there could be a snag if the shutdown drags on.

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