The Dreamlifter Operations Center at Paine Field. FedEx will take over the lease from Boeing and use it for cargo operations. (Janice Podsada / Herald file)

The Dreamlifter Operations Center at Paine Field. FedEx will take over the lease from Boeing and use it for cargo operations. (Janice Podsada / Herald file)

FedEx to begin weekday flights between Paine Field, Memphis

The cargo carrier has taken over the lease for the Dreamlifter center, which Boeing no longer needs.

EVERETT — FedEx Express has taken over the Dreamlifter Operations Center at Paine Field and plans to launch cargo operations from the airport beginning this fall.

Last spring, the Boeing Co. was reportedly in talks to sublet the Dreamlifter facility, which the airplane maker leased from Snohomish County, to FedEx. On Friday, officials at the Snohomish County-owned airport said that they approved the transfer of the lease from Boeing to the cargo carrier.

“In July, Paine Field received a request from The Boeing Company to assign its lease of the Dreamlifter Operations Center complex, including the aircraft ramp, buildings, and vehicle parking lot, to FedEx Express. Airport staff has reviewed the request and approved the lease assignment,” Airport Director Arif Ghouse said in a statement.

“As Snohomish County’s largest economic engine, accounting for nearly $60 billion in annual economic activity, Paine Field supports the success of its tenants. We look forward to working with our newest tenant, FedEx Express, and our continued partnership with Boeing,” Ghouse said.

“We welcome the prospect of additional employment opportunities when FedEx Express starts operations later this year. This is welcome news for Snohomish County’s residents as we continue to recover from the pandemic,” Ghouse said.

FedEx will begin operating Boeing 757 flights Monday through Friday between Everett and the FedEx hub in Memphis, and the cargo carrier indicated the former Dreamlifter Center could accommodate additional activity.

“We are proud to grow our presence and enhance our services in the north Seattle market by expanding operations to Paine Field,” said Tim Wertner, senior vice president for U.S. operations west at FedEx. “Paine Field is already a driving economic force in Snohomish County, and this expansion positions our network for continued success in delivering for our customers.”

The Paine Field facility consists of three stalls for big airplanes, 25,000 square feet of warehouse space, 10,000 square feet of office space and an aviation refueling station.

FedEx said the arrangement comes with “the ability to expand with additional gates.”

The Dreamlifter’s primary use was transporting Boeing 787 airplane components. But operations at the Dreamlifter center have significantly cooled since Boeing shifted all production of the 787 model to the company’s North Charleston, South Carolina, assembly plant in March.

In a statement on Friday, Boeing said, “The Dreamlifter currently flies into Paine Field to deliver large components from Spirit AeroSystems for 767 production at a rate of three airplanes per month, greatly reducing the need for a dedicated Dreamlifter Operations Center in Everett.

“When we received an unsolicited offer for this space, we reviewed it and engaged Snohomish County to work out assigning our existing lease for the property. We refer you to Snohomish County for questions about the property and FedEx for questions about their plans,” the company said.

The Dreamlifter center opened in 2013. Snohomish County foot the cost for the $30 million facility.

Janice Podsada; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; 425-399-3097; Twitter: JanicePods

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