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United Airlines announced this morning that they will begin service to Seattle’s soon to be #2 commercial airport, Everett Paine Field. New service on United Airlines will connect North Seattle and Everett’s metro area to United’s hubs in San Francisco and Denver.

Front of PAE passenger terminal.

United has not announced a start date for the new service or route times, but will offer six daily flights to Paine Field once the airport opens. My guess is that there will be three flights to each Denver and San Francisco, or four to SF and two to Denver. The announcement opens a slew of opportunities for flyers from Northwest Washington.

“Bringing new service to Paine Field offers customers more ways to conveniently connect to the country’s largest business and leisure destinations,” said Dave Hilfman, United’s senior vice president of Worldwide Sales. “We know our customers value time and convenience when traveling, and North Seattle and Northwest Washington area travelers will now have easy access to our hubs in Denver and San Francisco and to opportunities to connect to business centers around the world with just one stop.”

Paine Field Growth into Scheduled Air Service

Everett Paine Field had commercial air service when the airport opened in 1939 as a day-operation only airport. Yet, through negotiates with the city, Boeing, and others, the airport moved away from scheduled commercial operations. The Mediated Role Determination that Paine Field was to be used for general aviation and aerospace manufacturing. The 1979 decision also discouraged other types of activities including supplemental/charter air passenger service.

The airport has been a general aviation airport and home to Boeing widebody jet production ever since. Paine Field is home to Boeing’s largest manufacturing plant and produces the 747, 767, 787 and 777 jets.

In 2008, the airport began looking at re-launching commercial operations and by 2014 after several fights with surrounding communities, the FAA determined that commercial airplanes could fly out of Paine Field without significantly adding to local noise and traffic.

In early June, 2017 construction of the two gate terminal at Paine Field broke ground. Even before construction began, Alaska Airlines announced plans for nine daily flight to Everett Paine Field. The terminal is to open fall of 2018, nearly a year from today.

Paine Field Is Already A Success

With Alaska Airlines and now United Airlines already planning service to Paine Field, the airport authorities can say the new Seattle area airport is going to be a success. The airport will only have two gates and will initially only have slots for 16 daily flights. With nine flight from Alaska and six from United, the airport will open next fall at near capacity!

United may be able to regain some ground the have lost in the Seattle market form the Delta invasion. Meanwhile, Alaska will continue to offer more point-to-point service. Seattle’s hometown airline will continue to be the West Coast’s dominate airline.

I am surprise to see the airport hitting capacity so quickly. Yet, with little room to grow at Seattle-Tacoma international airport and a growing Seattle population, Everett makes sense. It would be nice to see some LCC Competition at Paine Field and I’m honestly surprise to not see Allegiant making a move in Everett. After all,  Allegiant Air has been in talks with the county since 2008. Maybe LCC and ULCC will look to Seatac for growth.

What do you make of the new service announcements? Do you think Delta or others will also announce service to Paine Field? And if so, will it become another brawl like Dallas Love Field

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