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Seattle's second airport is oh-so-close to taking off

Seattle's second airport is oh-so-close to taking off
A flight status video display at the new passenger terminal at Paine Field in Everett, Wash. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

Paine Field is almost ready to take off. Poised to become Seattle’s second airport, the site passed a final FAA hurdle Wednesday on its way to start passenger flights in March, a first since the site was built in 1936.

The process had been delayed during the partial government shutdown that ended in January. Three procedural steps still need to be completed before the airport can start operating, but more on that later.

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Seattle Business magazine described the new airport in Everett, Wash., as a “604-acre, fog-free unpopulated site 23 miles north of Seattle.”

Alaska Airlines plans to start flying March 4, and United Airlines on March 31. The airport will host 24 daily flights to nine destinations, including Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose in California. (Kayak.com showed LAX round-trip flights March 6-8 for $245 on Alaska.)

Flights also will travel to and from Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver and Portland, Ore.

The airport 30 miles north of downtown Seattle offers travelers an alternative to busy Sea-Tac. It has a brand-new passenger terminal operated under a private-public partnership between Propeller Airports and Snohomish County.

On Wednesday, Paine Field received a “finding of no significant impact” from the FAA, which leaves a few more steps before flights can take off and land. Propeller must pay mitigation fees to the city of Mukilteo and the county, and the airport needs to file an amended application for certification. The FAA can then authorize carriers to operate at Paine Field.

The Transportation Security Administration also signed off on the new airport’s security plan.

Paine Field was built in 1936 as a federal Works Progress Administration project. At one time, it was destined to become one of 10 “super airports” across the country aimed at creating growth in the region.

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