City of Mukilteo loses legal battle to ground commercial flights from Paine Field

MUKILTEO, Wash. -- In a little over a year, you will have two airports to choose from if you want to fly in and out of the Seattle area. Everett's Paine Field will be on the map for commercial flights -- something the city of Mukilteo has been fighting to stop.

If you live anywhere near Paine Field, you already live with noise. Once the commercial airport is up and running, many Mukilteo residents say they are bracing for the noise to get even worse.

But the gripe goes beyond the noise.

“More fuel, more pollution,” resident Susan Tarpley said.

There are also worries about property values decreasing and traffic increasing.

“Mukilteo Speedway is already bogged down,” Tarpley said.

But Mukilteo’s efforts to keep commercial flights grounded ended when the state Supreme Court decided not to even hear the case.

“Our city is not a place (where) we want a lot of rental car agencies, that’s not a vision for our community,” Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Gregerson said.

Although the legal fight is over, the mayor says they will continue to hold Propeller Airports, the company operating the flights, accountable.

“We want to make sure they stay true to those and they don’t take a step beyond those lines that were drawn,” Gregerson said.

Alaska Airlines is the first to announce it will fly at least nine flights a day from Paine Field in the fall of 2018.

That’s reasonable for many Mukilteo residents -- but not anything more than that.

“I think we have opened Pandora’s box; it’s going to become much more of an expanded use,” Tarpley said.

Propeller Airports says they will work with stakeholders, emphasizing the airport will be an engine for more job growth and tax revenue for the region.

“I think it’s awesome,” Bianca Chivers said.

When you talk to local travelers outside of Mukiteo, more flights mean more options.

“I didn’t know it was happening. Sea-Tac gets really busy and packed, so that would be great,” Chivers said.

“Depending on the ticket prices, I think I would rather go all the way up there instead,” Quintrell Stenson said.

Alaska Airlines has not released the cities they will be flying to. The current restriction is 23 flights coming and going every day from Paine Field.

Gregerson says she is hoping Propeller Airports will stick to operating flights at reasonable hours so her residents can get some sleep.