Snohomish County Airport
|IATA: PAE – ICAO: KPAE – FAA LID: PAE|
|Serves||Snohomish County, Washington|
|Elevation AMSL||606 ft / 184.7 m|
Paine Field, also known as Snohomish County Airport (IATA: PAE, ICAO: KPAE, FAA LID: PAE) is a public airport located in unincorporated Snohomish County, between Mukilteo and Everett, Washington. It is served by a Federal Aviation Administration control tower, and has precision and non-precision instrument approaches available to pilots.
Paine Field has three runways: 16R-34L, 16L-34R and 11-29. 16R-34L, at 9,010 feet (2,750 m) in length, is suited for the majority of aircraft, and sees occasionally heavy traffic. It is in very good condition. Runway 16L-34R is 3,000 feet (910 m) in length, and suitable only for small aircraft. Its pavement is in fair condition, with a noticeable rise in elevation mid-field, when compared with the ends. Runway 11-29 is currently closed except for taxiing, and Boeing is leasing some of the runway to park partially completed 787 aircraft.
The airport has 456 general aviation hangars, of which 326 are leased by the County, and 130 are "condominium" hangars. Wait time for a hangar currently ranges between 6 months and 5 years, depending on type.
Paine Field is also home to Aviation Technical Services (ATS), one of the nation's largest aviation maintenance facilities. ATS operate a 950,000-square-foot (88,000 m2) facility; formerly operated by Goodrich, and sold to ATS in the fall of 2007. ATS does 'heavy' checks for a number of airlines and cargo companies. According to their web page, they average of 443 Aircraft Redeliveries each year.
Paine Field is home to four flight schools — Chinook Flight Simulations, Regal Air, Northway Aviation  and Everett Helicopters  — making it a popular destination for flight training. A popular flying club, Puget Sound Flyers, is also starting up.
The FAA-operated control tower maintains limited hours, operating only between 7 AM and 9 PM local time. During times that the tower is operational, all runways are active, but after hours, only runway 16R-34L is open.
Paine Field was originally constructed in 1936 as a Works Progress Administration project. At the time of development, it was envisioned that the Airport would create jobs and economic growth in the region by becoming one of the ten new "super airports" around the country.
Paine Field was taken over by the U.S. Army prior to entry into World War II as a patrol and training base. In 1947 it was transferred to the U.S. Air Force which continued that operational plan until the early 1960s. At about that time Paine Field was under consideration by the U.S. Army Air Defense Command as one of several sites for the SENTINEL Anti Ballistic Missile System due to its central location to several military bases and defense industries in the Puget Sound Region. That program was eventually dropped in favor of the limited SAFEGUARD system.
On July 25, 1966, Boeing announced that it would build the Boeing 747, a jet airliner capable of carrying nearly twice as many passengers as previous models. To build the giant jet, Boeing had to construct a facility large enough to handle the world's largest commercial jetliner. Land just north of Paine Field was chosen to construct the new facilities, including some development on the airport itself. Both the local government and the FAA concurred with the development. Work on the massive building began in August 1966 and the first employees arrived in early 1967. The 747 made its first flight at Paine Field on February 9, 1969.
In late 2005, construction of the Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour building was completed. The project, formerly known as the National Flight Interpretive Center, includes the Boeing factory tour as well as a gallery that highlights the newest developments in aviation; including both parts and components of airplanes manufactured by Airbus and Boeing. The facility was opened to private audience on December 16, 2005, the following day the facility was open to the public. The Museum of Flight also has a restoration center at the airport's main gate; located further south is the Me 262 Project. Paul Allen's Flying Heritage Collection has a large, refurbished hangar at the south end of the field, which opened as a museum June 2008. Historic Flight Foundation also houses and maintains early military aircraft.
Commercial air service
The use and expansion of the airport is currently governed by an agreement that was forged during 1978–1979 negotiations, called the Mediated Role Determination (MRD). The MRD recommends the role of Paine Field to be as a general aviation and aerospace manufacturing airport (Page A-3 Paragraph 1), while discouraging other types of activities including supplemental/charter air passenger service (Page A-3 Paragraph 6).
In 2005 Snohomish County commissioned a panel to review the MRD, and in conclusion suggested the MRD "should not be ratified or revised, but should be retired as a policy document". In June 2008 the Snohomish County Council rejected the findings of the panel, and as in 1989, 1992 & 2001, restated its opposition to commercial air passenger services operating from Paine Field. The council stated:
Reaffirm our county's commitment to preserving the existing general aviation role of Paine Field, and [to] pursue any and all lawful and appropriate means to discourage any action that would facilitate, directly or indirectly, use of Paine Field for scheduled air passenger service or air cargo service, which may include an interlocal agreement.
Snohomish County has adopted the policy of not spending funds to subsidize airlines or to pay for the infrastructure needed to support commercial air service. The local governments of Snohomish County (the airport's operator), and the neighboring cities of Brier (pop. 6,410), Edmonds (pop. 40,773), Lynnwood (pop. 34,017), Mountlake Terrace (pop. 20,078), Mukilteo (pop. 20,938), and Woodway (pop. 1,144) and local citizens groups such as Save Our Communities, have all adopted resolutions against the use of Paine Field for commercial airline flights. In contrast, the Everett city (pop. 99,384) government has adopted a resolution in favor of the use of Paine Field for commercial air service.
In 2008 two airlines, Allegiant Air and Horizon Air, expressed interest in establishing passenger flights to Paine Field to the airport authority. In May 2008, in response to these requests, the Chairman of the Snohomish County Council sent Allegiant Air a letter stating their opposition to the request to start air service.
The FAA in June 2008, in receipt of correspondence between Allegiant Air and Snohomish County and county executives, wrote the airport authority to reiterate that a recipient of federal FAA grants requires the County to not discriminate against commercial aeronautical activities offering services to the public, or risk an enforcement action under FAR 16. The FAA also stated that it would reasonably expect the airport operator to change the existing Class IV Airport operating certificate (AOC) to a Class I AOC in the event that Allegiant Air can secure facilities and/or land at the airport.
The airport is currently conducting an environmental assessment of the effects of commercial aviation at Paine Field. A draft of the study was finished in December 2009, and the public comment period ended on February 5, 2010. Opposition to Paine Field hosting commercial air service was overwhelming in meetings held for comments on the draft environmental assessment. The neighboring city of Mukilteo has hired aviation attorney Barbara Lichman of the firm Chevalier, Allen & Lichman of Costa Mesa, California. to represent the interests of the city during the environmental assessment and to stop the destruction of neighborhoods[neutrality is disputed] near the airport. In addition Mukilteo has promised to "make it time consuming, expensive and stretch it out. We'll fight the terminal legally." The FAA expects it will be June 2010 before they will be finished responding to the comments.
On December 4, 2012, the FAA concluded that commercial airplanes could fly out of Paine Field without significantly adding to local noise and traffic. The findings clear the way for commercial operations along with construction of a terminal building. In February 2013, Alaska Airlines informed the FAA that they would pursue 3 offering daily flights to Portland, and one daily flight to other vacation destinations.
On February 5, 2013, the cities of Edmonds and Mukilteo, along with two individuals, filed notice with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco that they intend to challenge the results of the Environmental Assessment released on December 4th, 2012.
On July 15th, 2013 Allegiant Air refused the county's terms to operate a terminal at Paine, effectively ending plans for passenger air service from Paine Field.
- Regal Air
- Northway Aviation
- Everett Helicopters
- http://www.co.snohomish.wa.us/documents/County_Services/mrd/mrdreport.pdf page 188
- County Council Reaffirms Commitment Opposing Commercial Passenger Air Service at Paine Field
- Save Our Communities
- Thompson, Lynn (June 6, 2008). "FAA says county must talk to Allegiant Air". The Seattle Times.
- Cooper, Mike, et al (May 2008). "Letter to Robert Ashcroft, Allegiant Air". Retrieved 2009-12-16.
- Expression of Interest for Allegiant Air to Operate at Snohomish County (Paine Field) Airport, Everett Washington
- Thompson, Lynn (January 4, 2010). "Crowd against passenger service at Paine Field". The Seattle Times.
- Thompson, Lynn (January 21, 2010). "Mukilteo crowd lambastes Paine Field passenger plan". The Seattle Times.
- Mukilteo promises battle over Paine Field flights
- http://heraldnet.com/article/20100314/NEWS01/703149858 Paine Field results delayed by months
- FAA gives all-clear for commercial flights at Paine Field
- Paine Field website
- Future of Flight Aviation Center website
- MRD Mediated Role determination
- Biography of Lt Topliff Olin Paine - National Postal Museum
- Everett Public Library's Digital Collection/Northwest Room/Aviation
- Boeing Major Production Facilities - More information about the Boeing plant at Paine Field
- Historic Flight Foundation - Vintage Military Aircraft
- Hangar 201 Project - Hangar Space at Paine Field
- (PDF), effective December 12, 2013
- FAA Terminal Procedures for PAE, effective December 12, 2013
- Resources for this airport: