Government shutdown could delay launch of passenger flights at Paine Field

EVERETT, Wash. -- Final federal approval of commercial passenger service at Paine Field, which was expected to begin Feb. 11, could be delayed by the ongoing government shutdown.

Gregory Martin, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman in Washington, D.C., told The Daily Herald that "the partial shutdown could potentially delay" the agency's approval or disapproval, which will be based on a revised environmental assessment.

The outcome is widely expected to be approval, and airlines have been booking flights to and from Paine Field for weeks.

Alaska Airlines and United Airlines are offering a combined 24 daily departures from Everett, with Alaska planning to launch service beginning Feb. 11 and United starting March 31.

But on Tuesday, Alaska conceded there could be a snag if the shutdown drags on.