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

Commercial Aircraft Interiors General Manager James Barnett stands in a warehouse aisle of 777 overhead bins at the company's new building on Monday, May 20, 2019 in Arlington, Wash. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
12 Snohomish County aero firms get $19M for job protection

The Aviation Manufacturing Jobs Protection grants could save 2,280 Washington jobs for up to six months.

FILE - The logo for Boeing appears on a screen above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, July 13, 2021. Despite the pandemic's damage to air travel, Boeing says it's optimistic about long-term demand for airplanes. Boeing said Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021 that it expects the aerospace market to be worth $9 trillion over the next decade. That includes planes for airlines and military uses and other aerospace products and services. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, file)
Pandemic hasn’t dimmed Boeing’s rosy prediction for planes

The company is bullishly predicting a $9 trillion market over the next decade.

Bufeng Gao, owner of Qin Xi'an Noodles, receives a check from the Edmonds Chamber Foundation's Wish Fund outside of her restaurant that was burned in a fire on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021 in Edmonds, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
After arson burns Edmonds plaza, 14 businesses need help

Plum Tree Plaza — a cultural hub for Asian Americans — burned in a three-alarm fire early Sept. 11.

Hand drawn vector illustration of bottle of red wine and two glasses. Abstract cartoon style isolated.
You voted: The best wine list in Snohomish County

Even during a pandemic, folks still have their favorites.

Boeing sells land for $200M in plan to shrink holdings

Boeing has sold 310 acres of undeveloped land next to its Frederickson manufacturing plant.

Washington August jobless rate was 5.1%; 16,800 jobs added

August’s rate was the same as July’s rate, and increased even as COVID-19 cases surge.

Boeing moving 150 jobs from Washington and California to Texas

The affected jobs are in the company’s global parts distribution unit.

Genna Martin / The Herald
David Barney, owner of Barney's Pastrami on Evergreen, has changed the last names of the dozens of celebrities who's photos hang on the wall of his restaurant to Barney.  The newly named celebrities include Humphrey Barney, Uma Barney, Marilyn Barney, Olivia Newton-Barney and Stevie Ray Barney.  
Photo taken 11252014
Where’s Barney? His pastrami shop has served its last hoagie

Even the Evergreen Way deli’s landlord is looking for him. David Barney has vanished.

Tasty and healthy asian food - spicy ramen with wheat noodle, meat, eggs and onion in white pot with chopsticks. Vector illustration of traditional korean cuisine for menu, recipe books or printing
You voted: The best Vietnamese food in Snohomish County

Even during a pandemic, folks still have their favorites.

School-age lead Emilee Swenson pulls kids around in a wagon at Tomorrow’s Hope child care center on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021 in Everett, Washington. A shortage of child care workers prompted HopeWorks, a nonprofit, to expand its job training programs. Typically, the programs help people with little or no work experience find a job. The new job training program is for people interested in becoming child care workers. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
HopeWorks to offer career training for child care workers

The Everett nonprofit hopes to train workers as child care centers struggle to hire staff.

‘Fulfillment center’ proposed along Bothell Everett Highway

Amazon denies that it’s involved in the project. But permitting documents include the company name.

A drawing of the giant Funko Pop! balloon depicting Baby Yoda, which will wind through the streets of New York during this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Funko) 20210912
It’s OK to Pop! this balloon: Funko to join the Macy’s parade

Funko’s incarnation of Baby Yoda will float by in this year’s Thanksgiving Day event.