EVERETT — Alaska Airlines announced this week that the daily nonstop flight from Paine Field to Honolulu will become a seasonal offering in May.
Service from Paine Field to Daniel K. Inouye International Airport ends May 15 and will resume Oct. 1, said Alaska spokesperson Ray Lane.
“We are shifting to a seasonal market to enable some other flights in Everett during the peak summer season this year,” Lane said Tuesday evening in an email to The Daily Herald.
Several Everett flights, including service to Palm Springs and Tucson, are also seasonal flights, offered only in the fall and winter months.
At 2,700 miles, service from Everett to Honolulu, which launched in November, is the longest flight offered from the Snohomish County-owned airport.
The Honolulu route had been served by a Boeing 737 Max 9, until Alaska Airlines grounded its 737 Max 9 fleet on Jan. 6, the day after a door plug on one of its 737 Max 9s blew out in flight, depressurizing the cabin and leaving a gaping hole in the fuselage. Later that same day, the Federal Aviation Administration ordered all Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft temporarily grounded.
Service from Everett to Honolulu is now provided by a Boeing 737-990ER.
However, federal regulators recommended this week that all older 737s, including the 737-900ER which shares the same door plug design as the 737-Max 9, be inspected for defects.
After the door plug blew out on Alaska Airlines flight 1282, both Alaska Airlines, which has 65 Max 9s in its fleet of 737 aircraft, and United Airlines, which has 79 of the planes, said they’re reconsidering whether to purchase more 737 models.
Since Alaska Airlines and the FAA grounded these aircraft, Alaska is canceling between 110 to 150 flights every day, Alaska CEO Ben Minicucci said last week in a video message. Cancellations and schedule changes have affected thousands of Alaska passengers, he said.
This week, Minicucci told NBC News the airline has found many loose bolts among its Max 9 fleet.
“I am more than frustrated and disappointed,” Minicucci told NBC. “I am angry. This happened to Alaska Airlines. It happened to our guests and happened to our people. And — my demand on Boeing is what are they going to do to improve their quality programs in-house.”
Minicucci said the Seattle-based carrier is “sending our audit people to audit their quality control systems and processes to make sure that every aircraft that comes off that production line, that comes to Alaska has the highest levels of excellence and quality.”
In an interview Tuesday with CNBC, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said, “I think the Max 9 grounding is probably the straw that broke the camel’s back for us. We’re going to at least build a plan that doesn’t have the Max 10 in it.”
On Tuesday, The Boeing Co. announced it would pause production and delivery of the 737 in a one-day stoppage set for Thursday, to “evaluate what we’re doing, how we’re doing it and make recommendations for improvement,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes President Stan Deal said.
Workers at the Renton assembly plant, where the 737 Max series is built, will attend quality workshops.
Boeing said it would hold additional “Quality Stand Downs” at other factory and fabrication sites involved in commercial airplane production. That would include Boeing’s Everett assembly plant at Paine Field where the 777 and 767 (including the military KC-46) series aircraft are assembled. The company said it would begin assembling some 737 models at the Everett factory later this year, but that hasn’t happened yet.
The FAA has not set a timetable for the return of the 737 Max 9 to service.
Commercial airline service began at Paine Field in 2019, with service provided by Alaska Airlines and United Airlines.
United Airlines discontinued flights from Everett in 2021.
Currently, Alaska and Horizon are the only airlines serving the Everett terminal.
Together, they operate about a dozen daily flights to mostly West Coast destinations. Horizon operates smaller Embraer E175 jets that seat 76 passengers.
Alaska Airlines now flies to 10 cities in five states: California, Nevada, Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii.