Seattle-Tacoma Airport has experienced a huge amount of growth the past few years. Not only has Delta turned it into a hub, but hometown favorite Alaska has continued to grow, as have several other airlines. So while the airport was a mid-size airport several years back, it now feels like a major international airport, and is having capacity problems.
While perhaps not directly related, but rather more a reflection of increased demand in the region, I was interested today to see that Alaska Airlines will begin flying to Paine Field. Starting in fall 2018, Alaska Airlines will begin commercial service to Paine Field, located north of Seattle. This is of course pending government approval.
Paine Field is home to the Boeing Everett Factory, which is the world’s largest building by volume, and also where Boeing’s widebody aircraft are assembled. This will make for some great plane spotting for avgeeks flying out of the airport. 😉
Alaska will be the first commercial airline to operate to Paine Field — as of now the airport doesn’t even have a terminal. Construction on the new terminal will begin in June, and should take about a year.
Alaska says that they plan to operate nine daily departures out of Paine Field initially, using Boeing 737 and Embraer 175 aircraft. However, they haven’t yet announced the routes — instead the flight schedules and routes will be announced early next year.
I suspect we’ll see mostly service within the Pacific Northwest, like flights to Portland. After all, that’s where the biggest potential time savings are, since presently some people have a longer drive to SeaTac than the flight itself from Seattle to Portland.
However, maybe we’ll also see one or two longer west coast flights, perhaps to Los Angeles or San Francisco, for example.
— Alaska Airlines (@AlaskaAir) May 17, 2017
According to Alaska Airlines’ CEO:
“As our region continues to grow at a record pace and Sea-Tac Airport nears capacity, the time is right to bring air service to our valued guests living in the North Sound,” said CEO of Alaska Airlines Brad Tilden. “Today’s news means less time stuck in traffic on Interstate 5 and more time enjoying your vacation or making the most of your business trip.”
According to publicly available traffic data, by flying out of Paine Field, Everett residents, for example, could shave up to 80 minutes off their airport commute, during peak traffic congestion.
I’ll be curious to see how Alaska does on these routes, and how much they expand their presence at Paine Field over time.
What do you make of Alaska’s Paine Field expansion?