A long-awaited report, released today by the Federal Aviation Administration, clears the way for commercial passenger flights from Paine Field, Snohomish County’s airport just south of Everett.
Allegiant Air, which flies regionally to small cities, including Bellingham, has an interest in commercial flights. Alaska Airlines says if another carrier starts flying in and out of Paine Field, it will pursue commercial flights there, as well.
The FAA has been working on an assessment of whether flights would work at Paine Field since 2008, when Allegiant Air first announced its interest in running regional flights from the airport. A group of Mukilteo residents called Save Our Communities has been fighting the prospect of commercial flights for years. The county airport, near Everett’s Boeing plant, doesn’t have a passenger terminal.
The subject has been politically contentious in Snohomish County. Mukilteo Mayor Joe Marine is opposed to commercial flights, but Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson supports the idea. Today’s FAA report and the “Finding of No Significant Impact,” or FONSI, is a green light.
There are 60 days to appeal to the FAA. Before any commercial flights could begin, there would be a state environmental study, a process that is called SEPA.