Paine Field in Everett set to resume passenger service

Commercial flights at a county airport in Washington state are set to resume Saturday with a limited schedule after workers spent more than two months replacing pavement at the airport.

Paine Field, also known as Snohomish County Airport, will offer one daily flight on United Airlines to its Denver hub and two daily flights on Alaska Airlines, one each to Las Vegas and Phoenix, The Daily Herald reported.

Before the coronavirus pandemic reduced air travel, the two airlines served 11 destinations with 24 departures and 24 arrivals every day.

“I’m hoping they add more flights,” said Brett Smith, the CEO of Propellor Airports, the company that operates Paine Field’s passenger terminal. He stopped taking his salary in March and said the airport no longer offers free parking for flight ticket holders.

The terminal as of March 4, a year after it opened, had served more than 1 million and logged more than 8,560 flights, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

Two months later, the number of flights was down to three a day, and the number of passengers had plummeted.

“I fully believe we will lose money for the foreseeable future, and we’re prepared to do that, but we’re going to be the cleanest and safest airport in the country,” Smith said.

Coronavirus precautions include a new airport cleaning schedule, temperature screenings, mask requirements, and plans to install a hospital-grade air filtration system.

The airport received federal approval to close in May for the previously planned ramp repair, which was originally scheduled to take four months while passenger air service continued, Smith said.

Construction crews replaced the original asphalt pavement near the airport’s gates with concrete after the surface proved to be structurally unsound, with bumps and divots. It was a more expensive but permanent fix, Smith said.