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Mon, Jan 12, 2009

Horizon Air Making Plans To Begin PAE Service In April

Opposing Snohomish County Councilmen Concede They're Powerless To Stop It

Alaska Air affiliate Horizon Air has announced plans to provide air service to Snohomish County's Paine Field (PAE), starting as early as April 1.

The Everett, WA Daily Herald reports that Horizon Air seeks to conduct six flights a day to begin with, including two flights to Spokane and four connections to Portland. Formal negotiations with County officials are likely to commence as early as next week.

Allegiant Air also revealed its intent to provide service to Las Vegas, but did not disclose a timetable and has not yet requested negotiations with the county.

Of course, the announcements drew opposition from some factions. The nearby cities of Mukilteo, Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace and Woodway have been rallied by Mukilteo Mayor Joe Marine against the proposed increase in air traffic. Already a busy GA airport and home to the Boeing Company, Paine Field averaged 376 operations daily in 2008.

Marine urged opponents of the introduction of airline service into the airport to not give up and accept it. "I hope they can stick with it. It is not a done deal," he said. "The one thing that will kill us is apathy." Marine said $250,000 has been set aside to do battle in court.

Councilman Dave Gossett said that since the airport receives federal funding, "we have obligations under federal law. We can't prevent a carrier from going there. Whether commercial service is at Paine Field is not a decision by the county. It is a decision by the carriers and we have had two carriers who have made the decision."

Although initially opposed to the idea, Councilman Brian Sullivan conceded there is little that can be done. He added that many area residents have become frustrated with using the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and consider Paine Field a preferable alternative, avoiding the travel distance and congestion at Sea-Tac.

FMI: www.alaskaair.com, www.allegiantair.com, www.painefield.com

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