The Paine Field Commercial Airport Expansion

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Most Prominent Transportation Initiatives in Puget Sound

By William Hillis

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William Hillis

Broker & Research Editor, Realogics Sotheby's International Realty

"If a significant number of flights continue to be added at Paine Field, home-buying choices might also be affected." 


In May, Alaska Airlines announced that they would be serving Paine Field at Everett with nine flights daily starting in 2018. United Airlines followed suit in August, announcing they likewise would add six flights per day to their hubs in San Francisco and Denver. Chatter on travel blogs alleged that Allegiant Air, currently serving Bellingham, will also add service to Everett.


Alaska’s passengers from Paine Field will be flown by Boeing 737s and narrow-body, twin-engine Embraer 175 jets to destinations in California and Oregon. CEO Brad Tilden anticipates that one in five of Alaska Air’s frequent passengers today flying from Sea-Tac International will prefer to board a plane at Paine Field instead, and is optimistic that more flights will be added.

These flights will be starting small relative to Paine Fields current operations, which serve 300 flights a day to general aviation pilots, as well as Boeing and other aerospace companies. Scott Smith, CEO of Propeller Airports—the company building and managing ground operations at Paine Field—reported that the new terminal would only have two gates, and at most could handle a couple dozen flights.

The cause for this service is the congestion on Interstate 5 that delays surface transportation to Sea-Tac International Airport even before the security-related delays at the airport itself. It is not difficult to imagine the effects of an alternative on the north side for domestic business travelers and others looking for a quick getaway. If a significant number of flights continue to be added at Paine Field, choices among home-buying locations might also be affected. The results would benefit sellers and developers in Skagit and Island Counties, as well as many in Snohomish County. Home-buyers priced out of King County have escalated purchases throughout these communities, so that the market for airport service on this side of Seattle has already arrived.

Impact: Additional flights and infrastructure at Paine Field will make business expansion and employment in Snohomish County even more attractive, driving a business case for further residential development in areas north of the King County border.