FAA offers no decision on Paine Field flights

EVERETT — No decision on whether to allow regular commercial flights at Paine Field was released by the federal government today.

Snohomish County council members received a letter on Friday morning from Peter Camp, who oversees the airport for the county executive’s office, saying that the Federal Aviation Administration was planning to release its decision today.

Neither Camp nor an FAA spokesman had any further comment today.

Two airlines asked for permission in 2008 to fly from the Snohomish County-owned airport — Allegiant Air of Las Vegas, and Horizon, a subsidiary of Alaska Airlines of Seattle.

In September, the FAA released an environmental review that concluded that adding 23 commercial flights per day at the airport by 2018 would not significantly increase noise, traffic or air pollution in surrounding communities. Agency officials said at the time they would have a decision by the end of the year on whether to allow flights at Paine Field.

Horizon said in September that it was no longer interested in using the airport, and that’s still the case, spokeswoman Bobbi Egan said.

Allegiant, however, still hopes to offer service to an from Paine Field, spokesman Carl Zablotny said today.

The airline originally proposed to start running four flights per week from Paine Field and increase to 20 over five years.

“Allegiant remains interested in providing low-cost, leisure-focused air service from Paine Field,” Zablotny said. “It does meet our business model, in terms of flying from small cities.”

Proponents of flights, led by a group called Citizens’ Right To Fly From Paine Field, call the airport an under-utilized asset and say flights would bring convenience and jobs. Opponents, led by Save Our Communities, say allowing even just a few flights would open the door to many more and eventually degrade neighborhoods with noise and traffic.

Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439; sheets@heraldnet.com.

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