By Bill Sheets For the Enterprise
EVERETT — It will likely be a few more months before federal officials reach any conclusions regarding an environmental study of airline service at Paine Field.
Officials originally estimated they had about 700 comments on the study, received in public hearings in January and in writing.
“When the comment count was done it turned out to be 900-plus,” said Mike Fergus, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration’s regional office in Renton.
A draft of the study was finished in December and the public comment period ended Feb. 5. Officials with the FAA at first thought they could be finished responding to the comments on the study by late March or April.
Now it looks as if it will take at least until June, Fergus said.
“Barring any other emergency projects that come up, that’s what we’re shooting for,” he said.
The study addressed a proposal by Horizon Air to operate 10 flights a week from Paine Field to Spokane and Portland, Ore., and by Allegiant Air to operate two flights per week to Las Vegas. The study concluded those flights would have no significant negative effect on noise, air quality and auto traffic in the area.
The study was conducted by the Barnard Dunkelberg Co. of Tulsa, Okla., with a $450,000 grant from the FAA.
Fergus said the FAA wants to be thorough in its review, which will involve responding to the comments and determining whether more study on the issue is warranted.
“This process is not a lip service to formalities,” he said.
Both airlines said the added time won’t affect their plans.
Bill Sheets writes for the Herald.