The two-gate passenger terminal at Paine Field in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

The two-gate passenger terminal at Paine Field in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Alaska Airlines cuts Paine Field departures to one per day

Commercial air service at small and regional airports, including Everett’s, has dwindled or vanished.

EVERETT — Alaska Airlines will now operate just one flight a day from the new terminal at Paine Field, a withering change in schedule that begins Friday and extends through June.

“We will have one daily departure from Everett, and it will be to Phoenix,” Alaska Airlines spokesman Ray Lane said in an email Thursday.

“This is a further capacity reduction,” Lane said. “As always, if we cancel a flight, we work with our guests to get them rebooked, or provide a refund.”

The move ends service to Los Angeles, San Diego and San Jose.

Lane hinted that Alaska could temporarily cease passenger service from the two-gate Everett terminal.

“If we need to temporarily suspend service at an airport, it’s something we never take lightly,” said Lane. “There’s little doubt these are challenging times for airlines and airports. Drastic measures are being taken that seemed unimaginable just a few months ago.”

The Seattle-based carrier initiated a first round of cuts at Paine Field in April, when it eliminated service to six of 10 destinations. Those cuts were part of a 70% reduction in flights across Alaska’s network.

The $40 million terminal is owned and operated by Propeller Airports, a private company that entered into a long-term lease with the Snohomish County-owned airport in 2015.

“We remain committed to our long-term partnership with Propeller and Snohomish County to provide service at Paine Field. Our first year of operations in Everett went very well,” Lane said. But he added, “Then so much changed.”

In March, the terminal celebrated its one-year anniversary, with more than a million passengers served. Before the pandemic, Alaska Airlines and United Airlines, which share the terminal, were flying at near the federal capacity of 24 departures and 24 arrivals per day.

It’s unclear whether United Airlines has altered its schedule. United was operating one or two daily flights to its Denver hub, but in recent days there has been no Denver service, according to Flightradar24, which monitors air traffic around the world. United could not be reached for comment Thursday.

The terminal’s anniversary seems long ago and far away now that the COVID-19 pandemic has upended the global economy. Airline and airport commerce has been crushed, with the outbreak forcing drastic reductions in domestic and international passenger service, amid an 80% or more decrease in passenger traffic.

Paine Field is one of many small and medium-sized regional airports across the country that have been hard-hit. The Lincoln Airport in Lincoln, Nebraska, saw passenger levels decline 95% in April.

Those facilities have seen their commercial flight operations dwindle or vanish — and revenues disappear, Todd Hauptli, president and CEO of the American Association of Airport Executives, told the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation earlier this month.

“The number of people flying has dropped precipitously, and U.S. carriers have idled roughly half of their fleet,” Hauptli said.

Delta Air Lines this week suspended service at 10 regional airports, including Chicago Midway, Oakland International and Westchester County in New York.

The Atlanta-based carrier is consolidating service and will operate from larger airports in a bid to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure to employees and travelers.

Large primary airports, including Seattle-Tacoma International, haven’t been spared and reported blistering passenger declines.

U.S. carriers are averaging 17 passengers per domestic flight and about 28 passengers per international flight, according to Airlines for America.

Sea-Tac, which has 80 gates, normally serves about 50,000 departing passengers a day. Now it’s serving only 2,500 travelers a day, a 95% drop.

When it was operating full-swing, the two-gate Everett terminal served about 1,400 departing passengers per day.

Janice Podsada; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

Homes in The Point subdivision border the construction of the Go East Corp. landfill on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Mudslide briefly stalls housing project at former Everett landfill

The slide buried two excavators in September. Work has resumed to make room for nearly 100 new houses.

Ameé Quiriconi, Snohomish author, podcaster and entrepreneur.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Snohomish author’s handbook charts a course for female entrepreneurs

She’s invented sustainable concrete, run award-winning wedding venues and worked in business… Continue reading

FILE - In this June 12, 2017, file photo, a Boeing 787 airplane being built for Norwegian Air Shuttle is shown at Boeing Co.'s assembly facility, in Everett, Wash. Boeing is dealing with a new production problem involving its 787 jet, in which inspections have found flaws in the way that sections of the rear of the plane were joined together. Boeing said Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, it's not an immediate safety risk but could cause the planes to age prematurely. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
FAA memo reveals more Boeing 787 manufacturing defects

The company said the problems do not present an immediate safety-of-flight issue.

A final environmental cleanup is set to begin next year at the ExxonMobil and ADC properties, neighboring the Port of Everett. Photo courtesy of the Washington State Department of Ecology.
Port of Everett to get $350K for its costs in soil clean-up

The end is finally in sight for a project to scrub petroleum from two waterfront parcels, owned by ExxonMobil and ADC.

Shawn Loring, owner of Lazy Boy Brewing, received $10,000 through Everett's federal CARES Act funding.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Everett, Snohomish breweries to open on Everett waterfront

Lazy Boy Brewing and Sound to Summit see a bright future at the port’s Waterfront Place.

A woman walks by models of Boeing Co. aircraft, including the manufacturer's new Boeing 777X, at the Dubai Air Show in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)
India’s Akasa Air buys engines worth $4.5 billion for new 737 Maxs

Boeing clinched a deal at the Dubai Air Show to sell 72 of the jets for some $9 billion.

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson speaks to lawmakers as Michael Stumo, holding a photo of his daughter Samya Rose Stumo, and his wife Nadia Milleron, sit behind him during a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing on the implementation of aviation safety reform at the US Capitol in Washington on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021. Samya Stumo was among those killed in a Boeing 737 Max 8 crash in 2019. (AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades)
FAA says Boeing is appointing people lacking expertise to oversee airplane certification

The company was replacing senior FAA-authorized engineers who took early retirement during the pandemic.

FILE - In this Wednesday, July 17, 2019, file photo, Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., center, talks with Paul Njoroge, right, who lost his wife and three young children, as Michael Stumo, left, who lost his daughter, looks on before the start of a House Transportation subcommittee hearing on aviation safety, on Capitol Hill in Washington. The year since the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max has been a journey through grief, anger and determination for the families of those who died, as well as having far-reaching consequences for the aeronautics industry as it brought about the grounding of all Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 jets, which remain out of service. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
Boeing settles with Ethiopia 737 Max crash victims

The agreement allows victims’ families to pursue claims in U.S. courts instead of their home country.

Dennie Willard, a Navy veteran, became homeless in 2014 and began job training through HopeWorks at Renew Home and Decor. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Looking for his ‘last job,’ veteran found new work, new life

U.S. Navy veteran Dennis Willard, once homeless, now works for the nonprofit that helped him.

People hold signs in protest of the vaccine mandate along Airport Road next to Boeing on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Report: 11,000 Boeing workers seek vaccination exemptions

Reuters says executives are scrambling to balance a company and federal mandate with the need to retain workers.

Port of Everett CEO Lisa Lefeber points back to the new retail site at Fisherman's Harbor at Waterfront Place during a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday, Nov. 8, 2021 in Everett, Washington. The project will construct two new buildings to house the new Asian-inspired Fisherman Jack’s restaurant, South Fork Bakery, and three marine-related offices adjacent to the new Waterfront Place Apartments and Hotel Indigo.
 (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Port of Everett breaks ground on a new ‘restaurant row’

American-Chinese restaurant Fisherman Jack’s and South Fork Bakery are two businesses that will call the waterfront home.

A private plane taxis past the Paine Field passenger terminal on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Forecast: A quadrupling of Paine Field passengers by 2040

How should Everett’s airport handle rebounding demand? A virtual meeting is set for Tuesday to talk about a master plan.