Though it has long been an open airfield for private aviation and a construction and testing facility for Boeing, Paine Field in Everett is now booking commercial flights via Alaskan Airlines and United Airlines.
Paine Field is just 30 miles north of downtown Seattle, and will be an alternative to battling the traffic that tends to jam up the Seattle-Tacoma corridor. The hope is that Paine Field can help bear some of SeaTac’s load; roughly 4,700 SeaTac travelers make their way down from Snohomish County every single day, and now they have a new option.
Service will be limited, with flights going only to Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orange County, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose.
Despite the limited destinations, the airport will have a full schedule of 18 flights per day. The airlines will not be using the full sized 747’s or Airbuses, but rather Embraer 175 jets, which seat about 80 passengers.
Paine Field has already become Washington’s third largest airport. It is estimated to see 656,000 passengers in 2019, putting only the SeaTac and Spokane International airports ahead of it in the state.
Planners are anticipating rapid growth for the new airport. According to Ankit Gupta, vice president of domestic network planning for United Airlines, “As the airport expands, we’ll look at either flying bigger jets or flying to more cities.”
Paine Field’s terminal is shooting for a higher scale feel. The airlines have said that they want the terminal to feel like a high-end hotel with features such as concierge service, valet parking, fireplaces and outlets for all of the waiting area seats. The terminal will also feature high-quality food from Beecher’s Café, bars and coffee from Café Vita. According to Crystal Paul of the Seattle Times, the airlines were successful. “Fireplaces, couches and lounge chairs positioned by the wall of windows that overlook the tarmac and make you feel like you’ve walked into a private club.”
The drive to SeaTac is still shorter for many Eastside residents, but hopefully congestion will dissipate on the major highways as more people choose to utilize Paine Field’s new services.