Company chosen for all Paine airplane and passenger services

McGee Air Services, an Alaska Air subsidiary, will handle baggage and do other work for three airlines.

EVERETT — The private company building a passenger terminal at Paine Field has tapped an Alaska Airlines subsidiary to do ramp work, including baggage handling, for all three carriers.

Propeller Airports said in a news release Wednesday that McGee Air Services of Renton will employ about 70 union-represented people when passenger service begins, likely in early 2019. McGee will handle aircraft marshaling and cleaning, baggage loading and unloading, and passenger services such as wheelchair assistance inside the terminal.

McGee is a subsidiary of SeaTac-based Alaska Air Group. It has 1,700 employees and serves airlines under contract at Sea-Tac Airport, as well as the airports in San Francisco, Phoenix, Portland and San Jose. Employees are represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the company said.

Three airlines — Alaska, United and Southwest — are expected to begin serving Everett with 24 daily flights to 10 cities early next year, after Federal Aviation Administration approval. Everett-based Propeller Airports is building the terminal, which is nearing completion next to Paine Field’s control tower, and will manage it under a lease agreement with the airport’s owner, Snohomish County.

Having a single company serve multiple airlines is unusual, Propeller said. Normally, airlines negotiate ground-services agreements separately.

“McGee is the right partner to manage these operations, and I am confident that they will make the entire operation more efficient,” Brett Smith, Propeller’s CEO, said in the news release. In providing an alternative to Sea-Tac, which is 36 congested highway miles away, Propeller’s stated goal has been to excel at passenger service and convenience.

“From the beginning, the terminal at Paine Field has been about bringing civility back to the airport experience,” Smith said.

In another development, Snohomish County has hired former Airport Director Dave Waggoner to help manage the county’s role in the completion of construction and the start of scheduled air service. He will report to Paine Field Airport Director Arif Ghouse for up to six months at a salary of $12,885 per month, which was what Waggoner was paid before he retired in 2014 after 22 years in the role.

“We were lucky to entice him out of retirement to provide project management support and to serve as an internal consultant,” Ghouse said in a news release.

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