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Paine Field - the alternative to Sea-Tac?

Mukilteo, Lynnwood, Everett, Whidbey - prepare for noise

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Tired of flying in and out of Sea-Tac? It may look great, have an amazing number of flights, but it is enormous and crowded. Parking can be expensive, or remote, or both. Seattle is growing. One alternative, grow Sea-Tac. Another alternative, add an airport. One of the best candidates is Paine Field in Everett.

Usually when a city talks about using an alternate airport they focus on some regional field that needs a few upgrades, maybe a longer runway, maybe improved equipment. Paine Field is beside Boeing’s Everett Plant, the place where they assemble the big airplanes: the 747, 767, 777, and 787. Evidently, the size of the airplanes or the length of the runway won’t be an issue. Because of Boeing’s plant, the roads already accommodate tens of thousands of cars every day.

Paine Field handles big airplanes, but few flights. The area handles all of those commuters, but the traffic isn’t exactly frictionless. When passengers arrive they’ll need a different access road, a larger terminal, more gates, more security, and more hangars.

The good news is that people who live north of Seattle wouldn’t have to drive through the bottleneck of downtown to get to the airport. Cut thirty minutes or an hour off the drive and the new site becomes attractive. That’s the hope and promise.

The problem is that airports are noisy. Mukilteo, Lynnwood, Everett, Whidbey Island, and other neighbors have enough voters that aren’t happy about the extra noise, cost, interruptions, and traffic.

Court fights have been going on for years, but a significant hurdle was crossed. According to KIRO News,

“A decision Monday by a state judge on the Court of Appeals found there was no reason to end an option-to-lease agreement between Snohomish County and Propeller Airports.“ - KIRO

The next step on the development side is to start small with the large task of establishing a two gate terminal within three years. The next step on the neighborhood side is to decide whether to appeal.