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Alaska launches service to SoCal from Paine Field, Seattle’s other airport

Alaska launches service to SoCal from Paine Field, Seattle’s other airport
An Alaska Airlines Embraer 175 airplane gets a water-arch departure on Monday as it taxis for take-off for a flight to Portland, Ore., at Paine Field in Everett, Wash. The flight was the first flight on the inaugural day of commercial passenger service from the airport. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

Alaska Airlines began service Monday from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., to LAX, Orange County and San Diego.

Paine Field, about 40 miles north of Seattle, is a convenient alternative to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where passenger use in the last five years has grown 43%.

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Alaska also will offer service to Las Vegas; Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; San Francisco; and San Jose from Paine. United is scheduled to begin daily flights to San Francisco and Denver from Paine on March 31.

The airport had been awaiting final approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, which was granted last week. The commercial operation of the airport had been delayed by the 35-day government shutdown, which ended Jan. 25.

“For the flying public this is about more options with tremendous convenience and less headaches, and importantly to us, it represents a restoration of civility to the airport experience,” said Brett Smith, chief executive of New York-based Propeller Airports, the company that designed, financed and built the new two-gate terminal.

The new flights represent a “back-to-the-future” moment for the airport. The facility was built in 1936 as part of the Works Progress Administration, a program instituted to counter the devastating unemployment of the Great Depression.

After World War II, regional carriers used Paine Field, but it never grew into the large commercial airport as was hoped. Since the 1960s, the Boeing Co. has used the airport for its nearby assembly plant.

The airport is expected to have about two dozen flights a day, the Seattle Times reported.

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