EVERETT — Alaska Airlines expects to resume its original allotment of 18 daily departures from the Paine Field passenger terminal next spring, if not sooner.
“With increasing confidence that air travel is on a steady climb to return to pre-pandemic levels in the coming year, Alaska Airlines is planning to resume our full schedule of 18 daily non-stop departures at Paine Field-Snohomish County Airport by spring 2022, possibly earlier,” the Seattle-based airline said on Thursday in a statement.
“As part of the path to recovery, we’ll have 13 daily departures at Paine Field later this fall — up from five now — as we bring back more destinations, increase flight frequencies and even add an exciting new route to Tucson, Arizona,” the company said.
United Airlines, which shares the two-gate terminal with Alaska, currently offers one daily departure, to its Denver hub.
Airline travel, which began to take off this year after being crushed by the COVID-19 pandemic, continues to rebound. On Memorial Day, more than 1.9 million passengers passed through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints across the U.S., compared to 353,000 travelers on the same day last year and 2.5 million in 2019.
That’s a far cry from a year ago, when the number of scheduled daily flights from the Everett airport plummeted to one or two. With air travel here and across the globe at a near standstill, Propeller Airports, which built and operates the two-gate terminal, suspended operations for 10 weeks to make ramp repairs. The terminal reopened on Aug. 1, 2020, but service was limited to just four flights a day. Since then, the schedule has slowly revived, reaching six and seven daily flights this year.
“It has definitely been a difficult stretch, but our commitment to Paine Field never wavered,” said Brett Catlin, vice president of network and alliances at Alaska Airlines. “Our guests love the convenience of the airport. Next year, as we continue to offer additional flights, we’ll be in a position to resume our full allotment of 18 departures every day to the places our guests want to fly to the most.”
Here’s what Alaska’s new schedule will look like in the coming months:
• Beginning June 17, Alaska Airlines will offer non-stop flights to Las Vegas, Orange County, Phoenix, San Diego and San Francisco.
• On Sept. 8, Alaska will add two daily flights each to Boise, Spokane and Las Vegas for a total of 11 daily departures to seven destinations.
• On Oct. 7, the carrier will resume a seasonal flight to Palm Springs, which it temporarily discontinued last month.
• On Nov. 19, Alaska will add a daily departure to Tucson, Arizona.
Tickets are available now for all Paine Field flights, including the new service between Everett and Tucson, Alaska Airlines said.
When the passenger terminal opened in March 2019, Alaska offered 18 daily departures. In the first year of the terminal’s operation, more than a million passengers were served and, including United’s timetable, there were 24 daily round-trip flights on the schedule.
Janice Podsada; email@example.com; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods