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

Bill McSherry, vice president of government operations for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, walks back to his seat, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, after testifying before the House Finance Committee at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. The committee was hearing testimony on a bill introduced at Boeing's request to suspend the aerospace giant's preferential business and occupation tax rate in Washington state unless the United States and European Union reach an agreement on their long-running international trade dispute that would allow the lower tax rate. Last year, the World Trade Organization body ruled that Boeing received an illegal U.S. tax break from Washington state that damaged sales by European archrival Airbus. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
A Boeing executive delivers good and bad news for Everett

The commercial headquarters could indeed come to Paine Field. But demand for big jets will not rebound quickly.

An Israeli Air Force Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopter from the 113th Squadron, also known as the Hornet Squadron, lands during a display for the foreign press in Ramon air force base near the Israeli town of Mitzpe Ramon, in the Negev desert, southern Israel, Monday, Oct. 21, 2013.(AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Boeing’s Arizona chopper plant under scrutiny by Army team

The company reported quality problems it says were caused by a derelict technician.

FILE - An American Airlines Boeing 737-823 lands at Miami International Airport, Monday, July 27, 2020, in Miami.American Airlines said Tuesday, Aug. 25 that it will furlough or lay off 19,000 employees in October as it struggles with a sharp downturn in travel because of the pandemic. Flight attendants will bear the heaviest cuts, with 8,100 losing their jobs.  (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)
American plans flights with Boeing 737 Max by year-end

Customers can see on American’s website the type of plane for any flight if they know where to click.

Patrick Ky, executive director of the European Aviation Safety Agency, in Amsterdam on Nov. 27, 2018. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Yuriko Nakao.
Boeing Max judged safe to fly by Europe’s aviation regulator

A synthetic sensor to aid pilots when the mechanical angle-of-attack sensors fail is still two years out.

The Boeing factory at Paine Field in Everett. (Boeing Co.)
Could Everett become Boeing’s next jetliner headquarters?

The company is considering selling the Commercial Airplanes division offices at Longacres in Renton.

Cop turned pinup model in Gold Bar charged with $67K fraud

Brenda Cavoretto was injured when a dead body fell on her in 2012. She’s accused of overselling its lasting impact.

Washington unemployment rate drops to 7.8%

Most job growth occurred in leisure and hospitality, construction and other services.

Premera Blue Cross will eliminate hundreds of jobs as it seeks to cut costs sparked by the current economic downturn. (Submitted photo)
Mountlake Terrace-based health insurer Premera cuts 285 jobs

The layoff at Premera Blue Cross, prompted by the economic downturn, represents about 8.3% of its workforce.

FILE - In this Feb. 8, 2018, file photo, the logo for Twitter is displayed above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.  Twitter is imposing new rules, Friday, Oct. 9, 2020,  ahead of the U.S. presidential election, prohibiting people,  including candidates, from claiming an election win before it is called by either state election officials or two authoritative, national news outlets. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
Twitter to pay $100,000 over Washington campaign violations

The company failed to maintain records related to ads that ran from 2012 through 2019.

FILE  - In this Sept. 30, 2020, file photo, a Boeing 737 MAX jet, piloted by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) chief Steve Dickson, prepares to land at Boeing Field following a test flight in Seattle. Boeing says the pandemic will reduce demand for new planes for the next decade, long after experts expect a vaccine for COVID-19. The company updated its forecast of the airplane market on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. It remains upbeat about long-term prospects driven by increasing air travel in Asia. Boeing, which along with Europe’s Airbus dominates the aircraft-building industry, has seen orders and deliveries of new planes crumble this year. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Boeing’s struggles continue: No jetliner sales in September

The company has suffered 448 cancellations for the Max and dropped another 602 orders from its backlog.

Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President of the EU Commission, speaks at a press conference in Berlin, Germany, following the informal talks of the EU Trade Ministers on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020.  (Bernd von Jutrczenka/Pool via AP)
Rule: EU can impose $4 billion in tariffs over Boeing support

Tax breaks for Boeing from Washington state were deemed to have unfairly harmed certain Airbus jets.

Kellie Shanahan loads Jacob McGovern's vehicle with his class tool bag at Meadowdale High School in Lynnwood on October 1, 2020.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
How do you teach auto shop remotely? Edmonds class finds out

For some local high school students, auto shop is the thing that keeps them from dropping out.