Paine Field ready for takeoff

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By Brandon Gustafson | Oct 07, 2018
Courtesy of: Propellor Airports The future commercial terminal at Paine Field in Everett.

It appears everything is in order for commercial flights to start next year following a new draft environmental assessment study for an airport terminal at Paine Field in Everett.

In the past, Edmonds has joined the cities of Mukilteo and Lynnwood and the Town of Woodway in fighting a commercial terminal just east of Mukilteo city limits.

"Even though many in the city are concerned and opposed to the Paine Field expansion, it is probably time to treat the expansion as a reality,” Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling said Tuesday.

“The next goal will be to attempt to work with Paine Field to influence flight patterns and mitigate airplane sound."

The Federal Aviation Administration study, released Saturday, Sept. 29, showed no major issues need to be addressed, and the 30,000-square-foot terminal – already under construction – should open for flights in early 2019.

The terminal had initially been scheduled to open this fall.

Snohomish County owns Paine Field, but Propeller Airports signed a lease to design, build and operate the terminal.

The new study was deemed necessary after an increase in the projected number of daily flights from Paine Field.

The last environmental assessment, in 2012, examined the impacts of a maximum of 12 flights per day. There are now three airlines – Alaska, United and Southwest – that will combine for 24 daily flights (19.5 daytime and 4.5 nighttime).

Daytime is considered 7 a.m. to 9:59 p.m. and nighttime is considered 10 p.m. to 6:59 a.m.

Additionally, the aircraft assessed in the 2012 study were different than those the three airlines currently plan to use.

Alaska Airlines, with its partners Horizon Air and SkyWest Airlines, is planning 13 flights per day to eight different locations, with 11 daytime round trips and two at night. Alaska will fly to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Portland, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, and John Wayne Airport in Orange County. It will be using Embraer 175s, which seat 76 passengers.

United Airlines, also partnering with SkyWest Airlines (operating as United Express) is planning a maximum of six flights daily, the study showed (4.5 daytime and 1.5 nighttime). They also will be using the Embraer 175s, and will fly to Denver and San Francisco.

Southwest Airlines will fly a maximum of five times per day, with four in the daytime and one at night. They will be flying to Oakland and Las Vegas, and will be using Boeing 737-700s, which seat 143.

Alaska and United plan to substitute one and two flights, respectively, from the 76-seat Embraer 175s to Boeing 737-800s. Alaska’s flights would seat 159 and United’s would seat 166.

Noise was one concern with Paine Field adding passenger flights.

But the study found that the increase in flights from 12 to 24 would cause a small increase in plane noise.

“The minor noise impacts, when considered in addition to noise impacts of the cumulative projects, may have a minor increase in the overall ambient noise environment, but is not expected to lead to significant cumulative noise impacts,” the study said.

In addition to noise, the new assessment also showed no significant impacts with air quality, health and safety risks for children in the area, as well as on surface water and wetlands.

Another area of concern for citizens near Paine Field has been the impact on traffic.

The new study estimates the terminal will have 2,185 daily vehicle trips. The 2012 study had estimated there would be less than 1,000. By 2024, it is expected that traffic will increase to just over 2,200 daily vehicle trips.

The study claims travel isn’t likely to be affected on major roadways.

“The proposed action would not cause any Snohomish County arterials or any WSDOT, City of Mukilteo, or City of Everett intersections to change from an acceptable to a deficient level of service,” the study said.

“All of the Snohomish County arterials analyzed are anticipated to operate at acceptable levels of service with implementation of the proposed action for both 2019 and 2024.”

The assessment did point out, however, that some intersections will be negatively affected by the increase in traffic, but that that would have happened regardless of whether the terminal was built or not.

Those intersections include the Mukilteo Speedway (SR-525) at Beverly Park Road and Goat Trail Road.

There are still a few things the FAA is requiring, including completing operating agreements with the various airlines, as well as an amendment to Paine Field’s operating certificate to allow commercial airline service.

But the study found nothing major that would affect the completion of the terminal.

The FAA will host a workshop and public hearing from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29, at the Lynnwood Convention Center, 3711 196th St. SW, Lynnwood.

Attendees will have an opportunity to speak with the team that conducted the study from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., and comment on it from 6:30 to 8:30.

Citizens also can mail comments to Environmental Science Associates, the company that prepared the report for the FAA. The public comment period is open now through Nov. 2.

Those comments can be sent to Environmental Science Associates, Paine Field Supplemental EA, 5309 Shilshole Ave. NW, Suite 200, Seattle, WA 98107.

After the conclusion of the public comment period, the FAA will issue a written decision, which could ratify the new study’s findings. They also may issue a decision that the project requires even more examination.

Many Mukilteo residents have opposed the new terminal, and the city considerable time in the courtroom fighting the terminal’s construction.

The city is no longer spending money opposing the terminal, but Mayor Jennifer Gregerson hopes citizens will stay involved with the project now that the new environmental assessment has come out.

“I encourage our community to participate in submitting comments,” Gregerson said. “The city will be reviewing the document, and will likely also provide our input on the FAA's conclusions.”

Those wishing to view a physical copy of the draft environmental assessment can do so at Paine Field’s administrative office as well as online at

Brandon Gustafson is editor of the Mukilteo Beacon. Edmonds Beacon Editor Brian Soergel contributed to this story.



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