EVERETT, Wash. — Commercial passenger service kicked off at Paine Field on Monday, launching what leaders hope will be an economic boost to the region.
“It’s been a little bit of an impediment for businesses who want to expand to come up here to Snohomish County, just because it’s too difficult to get out, so this is really good,” said Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers, who voted for the terminal when he was on the county council.
Alaska Airlines and United Airlines have launched 24 daily flights to major west coast hubs, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Phoenix. Propeller Airports, which invested about $40 million in the Paine Field project, expects most travel during the week to be business-related, but hopes more vacation travelers will fly out on weekends.
The company estimates the terminal will generate $300 million for the area annually.
Paine Field is already the economic driver for Snohomish County creating nearly half of Washington’s aerospace jobs and injecting $20 billion in the economy annually. However, leaders hope access to air travel will draw other business to Everett.
“Part of the reason why the mayor was so adamant about this was because they’ve lost a lot of new development here because of the issues getting to the airport, and access to the rest of the country and the world,” said Propeller Airports CEO Brett Smith.
Back when the Snohomish County Council approved the terminal in 2015, then Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson said regional air service was one of the top five questions companies asked about when deciding whether to come to Everett. The answer to that question can now be a yes.
Snohomish County estimated the airport will bring 1.4 million people through its gates each year, and said area hotels, motels, and casinos hope the airport’s proximity will encourage travelers to stay up north rather than fly into Sea-Tac.
Smith estimated the airport alone created 300 jobs and that several thousand jobs were created indirectly. Local food establishments, such as Beecher’s Handmade Cheese and Caffe Vita, are among those setting up shop in the terminal and benefiting from the expansion.
“Whether you’re here for business and for pleasure, this is the place to be,” said Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin.