This flight’s on time: Paine Field terminal work progressing

15 flights a day by Alaska and United are expected to begin in less than a year.

Construction on the new airport terminal at Paine Field is shown from Wednesday. Alaska Airlines and United Airlines have both signed agreements to use the two-gate terminal. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Construction on the new airport terminal at Paine Field is shown from Wednesday. Alaska Airlines and United Airlines have both signed agreements to use the two-gate terminal. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

EVERETT — The company building a passenger terminal at Paine Field secured building permits from Snohomish County earlier this month and reports steady progress on the project.

Propeller Airports CEO Brett Smith said the first regularly scheduled flights remain on the horizon for next fall.

“Right now, we’re on track with construction to be done by the middle of July,” Smith said. “There will be a break-in period and we expect the first flights to be in September.”

He said his company at this point is fully permitted to build the terminal. Crews broke ground in June after Propeller received a grading permit. The building permit will allow work to start on the shell.

When complete, the terminal will cover more than 27,000 square feet between Paine Field’s administrative offices and the airport control tower. Fentress Architects in Denver, a firm with an extensive airport portfolio, designed it.

Alaska Airlines and United Airlines have both signed agreements to use the two-gate terminal.

United announced six daily flights to its hubs in Denver and San Francisco. Alaska plans up to nine daily flights, but isn’t likely to announce specific destinations until early next year. Some possible contenders are thought to include Portland, Spokane, the Bay Area and southern California.

Airline execs and political leaders have talked up the facility as a convenient alternative to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport that would allow air travelers from Snohomish County and nearby areas to avoid Seattle traffic.

Propeller has hired Fisher Construction Group in Burlington to build the project. A day before Thanksgiving, workers in neon construction vests milled around the building’s foundation.

“As you know, there are more cranes in the Seattle area than anywhere in the country,” Smith said. “This is an important project for the region so there was a lot of interest.”

Snohomish County issued the building permit Nov. 17. It includes 20 special conditions. Conditions are not unusual on commercial building permits, said Tom Barnett, a project manager in the county planning department.

Some conditions seek to limit aircraft noise. That was a major concern for many people in Mukilteo and other nearby communities who spent years trying to stop regular commercial air service from coming to town.

Propeller Airports must seek voluntary agreements with the airlines at its terminal to limit scheduled 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 arriving during those times because of weather delays, mechanical problems or re-routing.

Propeller Airports and Paine Field also agreed to cooperate with the air carriers on ways to reduce jet noise at takeoff.

Propeller also must pay a combined $330,000 for traffic impacts to the state, the county and the city of Mukilteo.

The company is required to install at least four electric-vehicle charging stations and work with Everett Transit on serving the facility.

Some other conditions are intended to limit stormwater pollution in nearby Japanese Gulch.

The terminal would be the first in operation for Propeller, which is headquartered in New York and has opened an office at Paine Field.

The terminal site covers about 11 acres. The county is due to receive $429,000 per year in rent plus a share of flight and parking revenues once operations start.

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

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