EVERETT, Wash. — Commercial airline flights began taking off again from Paine Field on Saturday after services were suspended for 10 weeks.
KIRO 7 was there as the first flight taxied out. That flight was one of three departures expected to leave daily.
Also, at the airport were community leaders and elected officials.
“In the future, air travel is going to increase, and Paine Field and the terminal here are going to be a critical solution to that demand,” said Snohomish County executive Dave Somers.
When the pandemic hit, the usual volume of 3,000 passengers a day dropped to 50.
Airport officials said a drop in the numbers locally and across the U.S. allowed them to take advantage of the opportunity to complete essential safety work.
The airport shut everything down so that it could get resurfacing done quicker than planned.
And now that Paine Field has reopened, leaders are working to push back against the downturn.
“Passengers are here. Place is clean. We’re making sure everybody is comfortable,” Paine Field’s CEO Brett Smith said.
To make sure this airport is on the up-and-up, congressman Rick Larsen said there are plans in place to get federal money to shore up small airports, including Paine Field.
“I have some level of optimism that we’ll have a new formula and a new program that will help out Paine Field,” said Larsen.
When KIRO 7 went inside the terminal, we met traveler Alicia Christianson who had this to say about the airport, “So it’s super clean; everyone is really nice and super quick.”
She was one of the first passengers to fly out Saturday and said she is sure she will come back.
“It’s super close to everything up north. Way easier to get in and out of, so I would use this airport again for sure,” Christianson said.
People who are looking to fly out of Paine Field are being reminded that ticketed passengers will only be allowed in the terminal and that masks must be worn at all times because of the pandemic.
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