gunsontheroof From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 3509 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (3 years 12 months 21 hours ago) and read 1340 times:
Last I heard, the FAA was still reviewing community comments on the issue that came out of a meeting in Mukilteo discussing the issue. Community opposition to the current proposals (10x weekly PAE-PDX on QX and 2x weekly PAE-LAS G4) is pretty strong in the neighborhoods surrounding the airport and shows no signs of letting up. Seems like a lot of fuss over twelve flights a week (especially considering the fact that nobody in the area would raises a stink if Boeing deliveries went up/ATS scored a big new maintenance contract resulting in a similar increase in flight ops), but I think some of the NIMBYs probably correctly see a "if you give a mouse a cookie..." effect on the horizon if PAE opens to commercial ops. The market area for PAE is large enough to support a fair amount of service in the near-term future--PAE could easily support RJ service to SFO and LAX right away and markets like DEN, PHX and even ORD probably wouldn't be too far behind. I don't think a casual observer of flight ops would notice a difference between current flight ops if that happened, but a daily commuter in the area might. Airport Way outside of PAE (the most likely conduit to any would-be terminal) already gets pretty messy at peak hours of the day (particularly when Boeing changes shifts) and I can understand why some locals might have reservations about commercial service at PAE. For that matter, some of the airlines that have thus far been absent from the debate (WN comes to mind) almost certainly have PAE pegged as a potential new alternative to SEA (not for a full-blown switch mind you, just as a cheaper place to send some of their Seattle area flights).
All that being said, the business case for opening PAE to commercial traffic is simply too strong to be ignored for much longer. Snohomish County has the population base to support daily service to a number of markets and the drive to SEA isn't getting any easier. Heck, PAE could probably be the airport of choice for a sizeable portion of the North King County market as well...I know that my folks out in the Redmond/Woodinville area would prefer the drive up I-405/I-5 to PAE over the often unpredictable haul down to SEA. It'll be interesting to see how quickly things develop--the NIMBYs around the airport are loud, but I don't think they're going to win in the long-run. PAE is already a huge aviation complex and an economic boon to the whole county--I really don't think it's in the best interests of the majority of residents to give way to the concerns of property owners who knew full-well that they were moving in next to a big airport.