John Kirby, Alaska’s vice president of capacity planning, stands in front of a 737-800 and the Paine Field Tower on Tuesday in Everett. Eight new routes will be operating from Paine Field to five California locales and three others. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

John Kirby, Alaska’s vice president of capacity planning, stands in front of a 737-800 and the Paine Field Tower on Tuesday in Everett. Eight new routes will be operating from Paine Field to five California locales and three others. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Alaska Airlines will fly from Everett to 8 West Coast cities

Two destinations that didn’t make the list were Spokane and Hawaii.

EVERETT — Before announcing eight West Coast destinations they plan to serve from Paine Field starting this fall, executives at Alaska Airlines took a close look at where passengers from Snohomish County were already flying.

That led them to pick Portland, Phoenix and Las Vegas, as well as five California locales: Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose.

“They are some of the most popular (routes) for the Everett community, specifically,” said John Kirby, Alaska’s vice president of capacity planning. “We think it’s going to be very successful.”

Alaska Airlines unveiled the destinations Tuesday in a press release and a later media event at Paine Field. A passenger terminal is now under construction at the south Everett airport, after years of lawsuits and regulatory hurdles. There was a groundbreaking in June. Construction is on schedule to wrap up in July with air service starting in September.

The announced flights would max out capacity at the two-gate terminal.

Seattle-based Alaska last year became the first airline to commit to flying from the future terminal, but waited until now to reveal destinations. At the time, the airline envisioned nine flights per day.

“We received so much positive feedback when we announced the nine flights that we increased it to 13,” Kirby said.

All of the flights, at least initially, will be operated by Horizon Air, a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group. Crews would start service with Embraer 175 jets. The E-175 has 76 seats. If demand grows at Paine Field, Alaska could start using versions of the Boeing 737 on some routes, more than doubling capacity.

“We’ll see what happens over time,” said Andrew Harrison, Alaska Airlines’ chief commercial officer. “There are a lot of growth opportunities without adding to frequency and noise.”

Airline executives have said Paine Field offers an appealing alternative for travelers from Snohomish County, and much of the north and central Puget Sound region. As traffic worsens through Seattle, getting to Sea-Tac can take longer than the flight time to many regional destinations.

“They’ll be able to get a lot of hours back in their life flying out of Paine,” Harrison said.

Two destinations that didn’t make the list were Spokane and Hawaii.

Kirby said either one “could be in the mix” depending on demand. Hawaii might make sense as a future seasonal destination.

Tickets will go on sale once there’s a more certain opening date for the terminal.

“Hopefully this spring,” Kirby said.

United Airlines also has announced plans to fly from Everett to San Francisco and Denver. From those hubs, Chicago-based United serves cities throughout the world.

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers welcomed Alaska’s announcement.

“As Paine Field becomes a connection to the world, our residents will have more options for business and leisure travel,” Somers said in a prepared statement. “We know that commercial passenger service will have a significant impact both on our economy and on our ability to attract world-class businesses to our region.”

Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin said the flights should have a major effect, both in terms of economics and convenience.

“This is a fantastic list,” Franklin said. “I think we’re really well-positioned.”

Local business leaders say that companies from other states —and other countries — are often scared away from establishing themselves in Snohomish County after braving I-5 traffic through Seattle. Having regular passenger flights to Paine Field could change the equation. Silicon Valley and the Bay Area present tantalizing access to tech companies and venture capital.

“Being one stop away from the rest of the world is really exciting as we seek to draw interest from global companies,” said Patrick Pierce, CEO and president of Economic Alliance Snohomish County. “There are opportunities at all of those destinations.”

The 27,000-square-foot terminal building is under construction between Paine Field’s administrative offices and the control tower. The project is being carried out by Propeller Airports, which hired Denver-based Fentress Architects to design it and Fisher Construction Group of Burlington to build it. Propeller is based in New York but has established offices in Everett.

The county government runs the airport. Under a lease agreement, Propeller will pay the county a $429,000 annual lease plus a share of flight and parking revenues.

Opposition to the commercial terminal has been persistent in nearby cities, especially Mukilteo.

To minimize noise and other effects, the county is requiring Propeller to seek voluntary agreements with airlines to limit flights late at night and early in the morning. They’re not supposed to allow more than four flights between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. in any 24-hour period. The cap won’t apply to unscheduled flights that use the airport because of weather delays, mechanical problems or rerouting.

Late-night and early morning departures or arrivals are unlikely for relatively short West Coast trips, if for no other reason than inconvenience to travelers, officials from Alaska and Propeller said.

Harrison, Alaska’s chief commercial officer, said the company already works out of numerous other smaller communities in the Northwest.

“Our goal will be to be a fantastic neighbor to the community,” he said. “I think they’ll find that we’re a good partner, a listening ear.”

Paine Field already averages about 300 flights per day, from general aviation, the Boeing Co. and other aerospace firms.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@herald net.com. Twitter: @NWhaglund.

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

This condo on Norton Ave. in Everett was sold Friday, June 18. (Sue Misao / The Herald)
Snohomish County home values soar in latest assessment

Lack of affordable housing put the squeeze on buyers and drove up home prices across Snohomish County.

Pilot Dan Tarasievich lines up for a landing at  Arlington Municipal Airport after a morning of flying with friends on Saturday, April 20, 2019 in Arlington, Wash. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Could Snohomish County’s two largest airports be expanded?

A study explores expanding runways at Paine Field and Arlington Municipal to relieve a coming crunch.

Alain Warchilde racks an e-bike available for Saturday's parking lot sale at Sharing Wheels in Everett on June 16, 2021.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Need new-to-you bike? It’s time for a sale at Sharing Wheels

The Everett nonprofit kept fixing and donating bicycles in spite of pandemic closure and challenges.

Site preparation for housing development was underway Tuesday, June 8, at the property known as Frognal Estates near Edmonds. (Chuck Taylor / The Herald) 20210608
Site prep underway at contested development near Mukilteo

The site near Picnic Point recently sold for $24 million after the previous developer filed for bankruptcy.

A portion of the site of the proposed Lake Stevens Costco at the intersection of Highway 9 (right) and South Lake Stevens Road (below, out of view). (Chuck Taylor / Herald file)
Shovel alert: Groundbreaking on Lake Stevens Costco is near

A land sale in early June cleared the way. The mayor says dirt could be flying as soon as next week.

The final version of the 737 MAX, the MAX 10, takes off from Renton Airport in Renton, WA on its first flight Friday, June 18, 2021. The plane will fly over Eastern Washington and then land at Boeing Field  (Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times via AP, Pool)
Boeing’s newest version of the 737 Max makes first flight

The Max 10 took off near Seattle for an expected two-hour trip.

Colorful sweet cakes or pies slices pieces set. Set of four berry crumble pies. Vector illustration.
You voted: The best pie in Snohomish County

Even during a pandemic, people still have their favorites

The Everett Post Office is shown with a "now hiring" sign in 2019. (Sue MIsao / Herald file)
Washington unemployment rate dipped to 5.3% in May

Private sector employment increased by 7,000 jobs and government employment increased by 1,300 jobs.

Boeing 737 Max airplanes, including one belonging to TUI Group, left, sit parked at a storage lot, Monday, April 26, 2021, near Boeing Field in Seattle.  Lawmakers, on Tuesday, May 18,  are asking Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration for records detailing production problems with two of the company's most popular airliners. The lawmakers are focusing on the Boeing 737 Max and a larger plane, the 787, which Boeing calls the Dreamliner.  (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Biden administration talking to China on Boeing Max approval

The planes remain banned in the country while other jurisdictions have reauthorized it following crashes.

Most Read