78 years ago United Airlines launched commercial service from Paine Field (PAE) just north of Seattle. After decades without commercial flights, a new terminal is opening and United will resume commercial service to two hubs.
Paine Field was a product of the Depression-era Works Progress Administration and opened in 1939. Closed to commercial traffic during WWII, the airport was chosen by Boeing in 1966 as its widebody assembly plant. The 747 was constructed here and today the Paine facility produces 747, 767, 777, and 787 aircraft. The airport also serves as a major maintenance based used by many airlines.
Sensing an opportunity for a booming Seattle market, a private equity group invested in the airport and has constructed a brand new passenger terminal with two gates. Alaska and United have announced service, already filling the airport’s commercial side to near capacity.
United will operate six daily flights to Denver and San Francisco starting in Fall 2018. United has not yet announced schedules, but it’s safe to assume the flights will be timed to optimize domestic and international connections and therefore likely depart in the early and late morning with a potential afternoon or evening service.
Meanwhile, Alaska Airlines will serve nine West Coast cities from Paine Field in California and Oregon.
Right now 96% of flights at Paine Field are on small private aircraft (Boeing averages 7.6 takeoffs/landings per day). New flights from United and Alaska won’t change the dynamics of the airport too much, but will offer residents of Northern Seattle and the surrounding region an alternative to Seattle-Tacoma International.