Boeing launch pad to get commercial air link

Boeing launch pad to get commercial air link

Jerome Greer Chandler

19 May 2017

Alaska to fly to second Seattle airport.

Boeing 777s at Paine Field. Photo: Cord Rodefeld.

It’s one of the most important airports on the planet, one you’ve probably never heard of.

It’s the place Boeing builds the widebody 747, 767, 777 and some 787s—and delivers those aircraft to airlines across the world.

It’s called Paine Field (PAE) and within a year you’ll be able to fly into the airport on regularly-scheduled service.

The move, in the works for a while now, means Boeing’s customers can get to their new aircraft without having to first land at often crowded Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Alaska Airlines, a major Boeing customer, is first to begin service, with flights scheduled to begin—subject to government approval—in the fall of 2018.

That’s when a new passenger terminal will be set to go. No word yet on destinations out of Paine, but here are a couple of logical ones: Portland, Oregon (PDX) and Chicago O’Hare. The latter is Boeing’s corporate headquarters.

Alaska Airlines says it will announce schedules and destinations early next year.

While these are the  ‘Big Picture’ advantages, locals should benefit too.

Snohomish County, Washington is home to the airport and, currently, anyone wanting to fly commercially out of the northern reaches of greater Seattle-Tacoma has two choices: Sea-Tac (SEA) and small Bellingham International Airport (BLI).

However, to get from the Everett-Paine Field area north of Seattle, passengers headed for Sea-Tac have to brave notoriously-congested Interstate Highway 5.

Paine rocketed to importance in the late 1960s when Boeing built a massive assembly building for a radically new kind of commercial airliner, the 747. It changed the way people flew, especially internationally. Boeing still builds the iconic “seven-four” (although in far fewer numbers) at Paine.