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United to no longer service Paine Field come October

written by Isabella Richards | July 20, 2021
United Airlines Boeing 767 (Wikimedia)

United Airlines has announced it will suspend its one daily flight from Paine Field this October, a move based on changing “demand trends”.

After two years of operating at the airport in the Seattle metropolitan area, United said it will halt its one Denver to Everett express flight on 5 October this year.

The airline will continue to serve the region with nonstop flights to Seattle from Denver, New York/Newark, Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, DC, and San Francisco.

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In the statement, the carrier said it had continued to “evaluate and adapt its network based on demand trends”, but no further details have been revealed.

Paine Field – also known as Snohomish County Airport – opened its passenger terminal in 2019, mostly to alleviate traffic from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

It was handling 48 daily arrivals and departures at most before the pandemic, but now it’s only commercial operating carrier is Alaska Airlines, only now starting to restore more flights.

Paine Field’s chief executive, Brett Smith, said on Monday he expected the announcement from United because of the changing environment of the pandemic.

“Carriers are making post pandemic adjustments to their schedules and markets, so this is not surprising news,” he said. “Paine Field continues to enjoy strong passenger demand, our flights are departing full, and our hometown carrier Alaska Airlines remains committed.”

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Washington-based Alaska Airlines plans to resume its full 18 daily nonstop departures from the Paine Field Airport by Spring 2022.

Fall this year will see the airline restore 13 daily departures, up from five originally as part of its incremental recovery effort, and will add a new route to Tuscan, Arizona.

Like others in the aviation sector, the airport suffered severe financial damage from the pandemic, and continues to even this year.

In May, Smith told The Seattle Times the terminal went from 3,000 passengers a day to 80 during the height of the pandemic and “was losing a massive amount of money”.

Paine Field last month received US$5.4 million in federal grants to assist in economic recovery, out of US$8 billion awarded by the Federal Aviation Administration to airports across the US.

Southwest Airlines originally planned to launch five daily flights to Paine Field, but rescinded its deal with the airport before launch.

While Alaska remains its only commercial airline, Smith boasted more carriers are set to enter service soon.

“We’ve had conversations with other carriers interested in starting service and remain confident that we will be back at full steam later this year,” he said.

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