EVERETT – The Boeing Co. would not object to air passenger service being operated at Paine Field, a company official said in a letter to Snohomish County officials on Thursday.
For the first time since debate began in earnest three years ago over commercial flights at the county-run airport, Boeing has taken a stand on the issue. Until now, the company has remained steadfastly neutral.
The company is not advocating for passenger service but said such flights would not affect its operations, wrote Ross R. Bogue, vice president and general manager for the 747 program and commercial airplanes at Boeing’s Everett site.
Based on a 2002 projection of operations at the airport if passenger service were to be included, Boeing flights would still account only to about 1 percent of the total, Bogue wrote.
“Consequently, we believe Boeing would not be negatively impacted by the addition of commercial air service to Paine Field,” Bogue said. The letter was addressed to Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon and County Council Chairman Mike Cooper.
Opponents of air passenger traffic at the airport have suggested Boeing operations could be put at risk by the addition of commercial air service to the Paine Field mix of small, private aircraft and occasional military and Boeing flights.
Of greater concern to Boeing, however, is continuing to ensure that the airport receives federal funds for airport improvements, Bogue said. If Snohomish County were to refuse airline service at Paine Field, federal aviation law could require that funding be withheld.
Most of the money goes to runways and runway-related improvements.
“This on-going funding is absolutely critical and can not be put at risk,” Bogue wrote.
Reporter Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439 or firstname.lastname@example.org.