Travelers in Seattle and cities to the nearby east and north of the major tech hub can now start buying tickets for flights from a new, potentially more convenient Seattle-area airport option.
Thursday, Alaska Airlines announced it was putting tickets on sale for 18 daily nonstop flights between Paine Field in Everett, Wash. and eight West Coast cities. The first flights are expected to begin on Feb. 11, 2019, pending government approval.
Paine Field is perhaps best known for its relationship to Boeing and its adjacent airplane assembly facilities. But growth of the greater Seattle area with an increased demand for flights at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to the south of the city, as well as nationally notorious traffic congestion, led to the push to add commercial airline service in Snohomish County north of Seattle.
Alaska Airlines plans to serve eight cities from Paine Field (airport code PAE) with regular service provided by its Horizon Air subsidiary on newer Embraer 175 aircraft. The announced destinations include Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orange County in California, Phoenix, Portland in Oregon, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose.
As part of its announcement, Alaska Airlines said it had acquired five additional gate times from Southwest Airlines, which had planned to serve Paine Field but has now dropped those plans, citing “business considerations” and that “terms of the agreement are confidential.” Southwest’s change allowed Alaska to schedule more frequent flights, from the original 13 to up to 18 daily nonstop departures. United Airlines also has announced it will fly from Everett, eventually serving San Francisco and Denver.
Not all flights are immediately available for February departures, based on a quick check of Alaska Airlines ticket availability by GeekWire. Alaska Airlines has posted a full list of scheduled flights and start dates on its blog. The original start of Paine Field service was originally anticipated for this fall.
The addition of commercial service at Paine Field was dependent on construction of a new commercial airport terminal, which is almost complete.
“We’re tremendously honored to be a part of this historic moment with the opening of a brand new commercial airport,” said Andrew Harrison, Alaska Airlines’ chief commercial officer, in a statement. “Providing all new service from Paine Field and further expanding where we fly our guests, including from our Global Partners’ major international hubs, highlights the strong growth in our region and a thriving West Coast.”
Aviation history buffs will know this isn’t the first time Alaska Airlines has served Paine Field. It also was a presence at the airport in the 1940s and 1950s — long before the current tech boom. Those hangers now, according to Alaska Airlines, are used by the Flying Heritage and Combat Armor Museum founded by Paul Allen.