Southwest Airlines announces Everett flights, filling up Paine Field’s capacity

Southwest Airlines 737 jet
Southwest Airlines is the third and final airline to announce commercial passenger service to Paine Field in Everett, Wash. (Boeing Photo)

Southwest Airlines says it’ll add up to five flights to the daily departure schedule for the yet-to-be-completed passenger terminal at Paine Field in Everett, Wash.

That makes Southwest the third airline to plan service to Everett, after Alaska Airlines and United — and the terminal’s operator, Propeller Airports, says there’ll be no more.

“We’re full,” the Everett Herald quoted Propeller CEO Brett Smith as saying. “That’s it, there are no more airline announcements. Any other airline that comes will be told there’s no more room.”

Southwest CEO and Chairman Gary Kelly made the announcement today in a recap of the airline’s year-end financial results, but provided no details about destinations. Those are expected to come this spring, well in advance of the terminal’s scheduled opening this fall.

Southwest will serve Everett with Boeing 737 jets, in contrast to the smaller Embraer 175 regional jets that Alaska and United will use.

The airlines are focusing on Everett, 28 miles north of Seattle, as an alternative for travelers seeking to avoid the traffic congestion and crowds associated with Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, which is a roughly 15-mile drive south from downtown Seattle.

Commercial air service will kick up the activity level at Paine Field, a general-aviation airport adjacent to Boeing’s Everett airplane assembly plant.

The anticipated departures from Everett’s 27,000-square-foot, two-gate passenger terminal add up to 24: Alaska is planning 13 daily departures to eight West Coast cities. United will offer six departures to its hubs in Denver and San Francisco. Southwest’s five departures would make up the rest.

Federal government approvals will still be required for all those flight plans, and some of the communities surrounding the airport already have voiced concerns about noise. But Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers said he welcomed the news about Southwest.

“We now have three airlines that will be serving our residents and helping to strengthen our economy,” Somers said in a statement. “We look forward to a strong partnership with these airlines.”

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