Alaska Airlines Will Begin Flying To A Second Seattle-Area Airport

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.

Alaska Airlines-Paine-Field

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.

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?

Comments

  1. Alaska also currently operates a flight between Seattle-Charleston, SC which coincidentally happens to also share runway space with another large Boeing plant. I’m pretty sure that flight is mostly used by Boeing employees shuttling back and forth between coasts but perhaps that Charleston flight might be moved from Sea-Tac to Paine Field?

  2. Guarantee you will see flights to SJC given the huge tech centers. Aside from that, PDX seems likely, and maybe BUR. If they keep the paxex on both ends nice and simple it could save a LOT of time for commuters.

  3. I wonder if it’ll now cost less points to fly to the new airport and more to the hub. I fly from Victoria, and want to be able to connect to further destinations.

  4. Any rail access up there? I don’t have to rent a car or take a taxi when I fly into SeaTac

  5. @bhcompy There is a morning/evening commuter train that runs across the coast, and you can take a bus from the station to Paine I am sure, but like everywhere in the Seattle Area, public transport sucks.

  6. Unrelated, but I miss the old website. It was so easy to click into Boarding Area with one click on the banner at the top. That banner is gone now.

  7. Flying out of PAE makes long-term sense as Alaska expands its route network/number of flights. They already fly out of BLI (108 miles/a 2+ hour drive north from SEA): nonstop to PDX, LAS, HNL, OGG and 55 min. flights to SEA, with connections to everywhere. Adding PAE (approx. 38 miles/1 hour north of SEA) will allow them to expand, and — since no commercial carriers except AS have announced they’ll begin flight ops out of PAE — they’ll have a “north county” alternative. I expect a similar departure network from PAE: non-stops to the Bay Area, and maybe LA; perhaps Hawai’i and Las Vegas, and beyond . . .

    @Matt mentioned LAX and BUR. FWIW, BUR is roughly the same distance from LAX as PAE is from SEA (though driving times are considerably different). LAX-ONT is only 60 miles away, but the driving time corresponds to SEA-BLI.

  8. Seattle native here ….. I am about 99.9% positive that AS will be moving their SEA->CHS non-stop to PAE. That flight is known, on both ends, as the Boeing Bus. It exists because of the massive Boeing presence at each end.

  9. @ Robert D — There’s a tab in the lower right of the screen, so you can still click directly through to the other BoardingArea bloggers if you’d like 🙂

  10. We live on Whidbey Island and flying out of Sea-Tac is quite an affair given the massive traffic at almost all times of the day. Getting to Paine Field is virtually painless (a short ferry ride and drive), and would make air travel very convenient.

  11. This is AWESOME news. I work for Boeing and live about 6 miles away from Paine Field.

    @stvr: IIRC, he took the private hart out of Boeing Field, which is in South Seattle.

  12. Now if we could only get a flight between Kodiak ADQ and Everett and/or Seattle without having to fly up to (or down from) Anchorage.

    As I age, sleeping in the airport becomes a non-option when trying to get back from the East Coast.

  13. What about catering flights? Does Paine field have the facility to do this? BTW, ever since this new format I don’t get my daily emails.

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