Everett

Commercial air traffic at Paine Field on hold

Commercial air traffic at Paine Field on hold
EVERETT, Wash. -- Passenger air service may not be coming to Paine Field anytime soon.

The Snohomish County council says Allegiant Air did not accept their terms to build a passenger terminal at the Everett airport and the county rejected the airline's counter proposal, said Peter Camp, executive director of Snohomish County.

The Las Vegas-based airline expressed interest in starting passenger service from Everett after a four-year study by the FAA concluded it would have no significant impact on the surrounding area. Alaska Airlines also expressed interest but only if another airline were to first offer service from Everett.

Camp says the Snohomish County council authorized an architectural firm to design a terminal that would be about two gates, 20,000 square feet big at a cost of $3-4 million to build. But the county also wanted a long term lease, a framework for consulting with each other, and assurances that roughly $750,000 in design work and environmental studies would be repaid to the county in the event the airline changed their mind after design work was completed and abandoned the project.

Alaska Airlines said they would agree to the framework of the deal with a few changes, including a provision that another airline had to commit first, Camp said.

But Allegiant rejected those terms outright and wanted the county to give them the land for free, Camp said. The airline said they would foot the initial bill for the cost of constructing and operating the terminal, to be paid back by parking revenue and a passenger ticket surcharge.

When Camp presented their counter proposal to the council, members said they had concerns if Allegiant operated terminal, it could create a competitive imbalance to other airlines.

"There might be opportunities for subtle mischief," Camp said.

The council worried they would be put in the role of traffic cop and could be legally liable if other airlines could prove they were discriminated against by Allegiant.

"We're not terribly interested in having responsibility but not control," Camp said.

Camp said he will go back to Allegiant and see if they have any renewed interest in accepting the county's terms.

No other airlines have expressed interest in Paine Field, Camp said.