Commercial service necessary

Around military bases it is not unusual to hear jet aircraft noise referred to as “the sound of freedom.” It makes me think of commercial air service at Paine Field as “the sound of jobs.” While noise used to be a major negative objection for commercial air operations, it is no longer true, due to quieter aircraft and operating procedures. Trains passing through Mukilteo and Edmonds create more noise.

Paine Field is presently operating under 35 percent of capacity and continues to trend lower. Further, commercial air flights would probably only support up to 30 flights (one landing or one take-off) per day after three or more years. This amounts to 3 percent of airport capacity.

Commerce is centering more and more around airports. Commercial air is a “key economic engine” making it happen. Commercial air supports job growth with a 5 to 1 multiplier. (Example: Allegiant Air at Bellingham now employs 150 people, which has created 750 jobs in the local economy.) In addition to the airline jobs, an environment is created for new jobs with the expansion of local companies and new companies locating to our area. These jobs create multi-millions in personal income, business revenue and taxes. Its a win-win-win. Additionally, many of our citizens who travel would benefit from flights at Paine Field.

Our unemployment rate is 8.8 percent. We are in a very competitive and changing world. If Snohomish County is to retain and grow our job base, it’s critical we institute commercial air service at Paine Field to move people and products in a timely manner. Without more jobs it will be moving time for man and our standard of living and quality of life will decline.

Hank Robinett