Bring the Paine: Everett's possible commercial hub.

Image: Wikipedia

Nonstop plane service to...Everett? It isn't something that Alaska Airlines will pursue, according to a statement by the company's vice president of planning and revenue management last week. Andrew Harrison says "Adding commercial air service to a regional airport located 42 miles away from the state’s largest airport"—that would be Sea-Tac, obviously—"and an hour’s drive from Bellingham International not a good alternative for our region."

But hold on, northsiders. There's definite momentum for turning Paine Field in Everett into a commercial destination, instead of simply an airfield used by private pilots and The Boeing Company. Allegiant Air, a regional airline that currently has routes out of Bellingham, has expressed interest in Paine. And last week, the FAA approved commercial passenger flights out of what's also known as the Snohomish County Airport. Some 23 flights a day could come out of Paine, and a terminal building would be erected first.

It was Alaska's sister airline, Horizon, that got the ball rolling on Everett commecial routes. So is Alaska sticking to that Sea-Tac Only position? Not exactly. Harrison again: "With this said, if a competitor begins commercial service at Paine Field, we would respond by adding flights using both a Bombardier Q400 turboprop and Boeing 737 jet." Jeez, Alaska, if all the other airlines jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?

So what this means for travelers on the north end, hoping to avoid the long slog to Sea-Tac: a big fat maybe. The FAA may have given the go-ahead for Paine's new use, but the Snohomish City Council will still have a say, and, of course, there's no terminal yet. The closest you'll get to an airliner in Everett is the Boeing Factory Tour.

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