EVERETT, Wash. -- When Paine Field was built in 1936, it was planned as a commercial passenger airport. But World War II changed those plans, and passenger flights were put on the backburner.
The new terminal is taking shape at Paine Field, and it will contain two gates carrying passengers on 24 flights a day up and down the west coast.
Brett Smith, the CEO of Propeller Airports, says his company is spending $40 million to create an experience you won’t see at many airports, with valet parking, a terminal that looks more like a lounge, and a design that can get passengers from the front door of the terminal to the front door of a jet in less than ten minutes.
“The whole environment is not going to be what anyone is used to in this country,” said Smith. “It will be very inviting, warm, welcoming, with staff that really treat you like a customer and not just a number.”
Smith says his company is trying to get everything just right for Paine Field’s first passenger flights, and he’s already got a triple threat of airlines. Alaska, United, and Southwest are all ready to fly out of Everett.
Smith estimates there will be two to three hundred direct jobs created at the airport, and up to 3,000 indirect jobs in the area with a boost to the local economy of $250 million dollars.
“The community needs it,” said Smith, and he’s betting that a lot of people in Seattle and all areas north of the city will choose to fly out of Paine Field and avoid the traffic and lines getting in and out of Sea-Tac Airport.
He also believes his company is pushing an idea that could start a trend around the country, a trend of privatizing terminals in publicly owned airports.
“Why should taxpayer dollars be funding something that can be done in the private sector, and be done just as well, if not better?”