Denver-bound passengers board a flight at Paine Field in Everett on Aug. 1. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Denver-bound passengers board a flight at Paine Field in Everett on Aug. 1. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Alaska Airlines anticipates more flights from Paine Field

In the weeks since service resumed, passenger volume shows promise, an airline executive says.

EVERETT — Less than four weeks after commercial airline service resumed at Paine Field, the Everett terminal is making an impressive comeback, according to an Alaska Airlines executive.

With passenger counts rising, Alaska hopes to add four more daily flights from the Snohomish County-owned airport in the next few months.

“Our goal in winter is to get back to six daily flights,” said Scott Kennedy, Alaska’s state and local government affairs manager.

Alaska currently offers two daily departures from Everett — to Las Vegas and Phoenix.

Kennedy’s comments were made Tuesday during an online meeting about travel and tourism sponsored by Economic Alliance Snohomish County.

Before the coronavirus pandemic curtailed most air travel, Alaska operated 18 daily flights from Paine Field to a dozen destinations, including Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County and Spokane.

United Airlines, which shares the terminal with Alaska, currently operates a daily flight to its Denver hub, down from four departures before the pandemic.

Ray Lane, an Alaska spokesman, said in an email that the carrier hopes it can “ultimately bring back flights to all of our pre-COVID destinations — but at reduced frequencies.”

System-wide, Alaska doesn’t expect normal passenger volumes to return for three or four years, Kennedy said. That’s in line with the most recent forecast from the International Air Transport Association. The trade group predicts that air travel won’t bounce back to 2019 levels until 2024.

Meanwhile, the Everett terminal, after completely closing for 10 weeks of ramp repairs, is making a strong return, Kennedy said. The terminal shut down in late May. By that point, the number of daily flights had already been curtailed to fewer than three a day. Service resumed Aug. 1.

“We’re pleased with the numbers,” Kennedy said of passenger volume.

Flights from Paine Field are about as full as those from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

For the first three weeks of August, spokesman Lane said, the load factor at Paine Field was 47%, compared to 48% at Sea-Tac. Load factor is an industry measure of the percentage of available seats filled by paying passengers.

Across its network, Alaska’s load factor is averaging 52% — down from 87% pre-pandemic.

In January, Alaska was serving 130,000 passengers a day throughout its network. In April, the airline experienced a 96% decline in passenger volume. “At that point we were flying 5,000 passengers a day,” Kennedy said.

Travel has recovered somewhat since then, but passenger volume at Alaska is still down 68% from normal.

Leisure travel to vacations sites such as Las Vegas and Phoenix has picked up this summer, but business travel hasn’t yet shown significant gains, Kennedy said.

“We look forward to getting back to pre-Covid levels,” said Brett Smith, CEO of Propeller Airports.

Propeller Airports, which built and operates the $40 million terminal that opened in 2019, is allowing only ticketed passengers inside the building. Masks are required inside the terminal and aboard all flights.

Janice Podsada;; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

Twins Leslie Davis (left) and Lyndsay Lamb stage a house in Everett as seen on the second season of "Unsellable Houses" on HGTV. (HGTV photo)
Sold: Snohomish twins back for more HGTV ‘Unsellable Houses’

The makeover show’s 13 episodes feature Snohomish County homes, with decor items sold at new store.

Tuesday's career fair will be at Everett Community College, which incidentally is also one of the participants. (Sue Misao / Herald file)
Snohomish County Career Fair set for Tuesday at EvCC

Job seekers can connect with more than 40 employers at this year’s annual event.

Workers build the first all-electric commuter plane, the Eviation Alice, at Eviation's plant on Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021 in Arlington, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
All eyes on Alice, the electric plane made in Arlington

If all goes well, Eviation’s battery-powered airplane will make its debut test flight later this year.

Snohomish County unemployment rate drops slightly to 5.6%

Washington added 16,800 jobs in August.

Report: Criminal indictment coming for former Boeing official

Mark Forkner was the 737 Max Chief Technical Pilot who is alleged to have lied to aviation regulators.

Bufeng Gao, owner of Qin Xi'an Noodles, receives a check from the Edmonds Chamber Foundation's Wish Fund outside of her restaurant that was burned in a fire on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021 in Edmonds, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
After arson burns Edmonds plaza, 14 businesses need help

Plum Tree Plaza — a cultural hub for Asian Americans — burned in a three-alarm fire early Sept. 11.

Hand drawn vector illustration of bottle of red wine and two glasses. Abstract cartoon style isolated.
You voted: The best wine list in Snohomish County

Even during a pandemic, folks still have their favorites.

Boeing sells land for $200M in plan to shrink holdings

Boeing has sold 310 acres of undeveloped land next to its Frederickson manufacturing plant.

Washington August jobless rate was 5.1%; 16,800 jobs added

August’s rate was the same as July’s rate, and increased even as COVID-19 cases surge.

Boeing moving 150 jobs from Washington and California to Texas

The affected jobs are in the company’s global parts distribution unit.

Commercial Aircraft Interiors General Manager James Barnett stands in a warehouse aisle of 777 overhead bins at the company's new building on Monday, May 20, 2019 in Arlington, Wash. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
12 Snohomish County aero firms get $19M for job protection

The Aviation Manufacturing Jobs Protection grants could save 2,280 Washington jobs for up to six months.

FILE - The logo for Boeing appears on a screen above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, July 13, 2021. Despite the pandemic's damage to air travel, Boeing says it's optimistic about long-term demand for airplanes. Boeing said Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021 that it expects the aerospace market to be worth $9 trillion over the next decade. That includes planes for airlines and military uses and other aerospace products and services. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, file)
Pandemic hasn’t dimmed Boeing’s rosy prediction for planes

The company is bullishly predicting a $9 trillion market over the next decade.