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EVERETT, Nov. 5, 2018 — Snohomish County’s Paine Field Airport today entered into a memorandum of cooperation with the Shanghai Airport Authority (SAA), which operates one of the busiest airports in the world.
“Great things are happening at Snohomish County’s Paine Field Airport, including our strategic relationship with Shanghai Airport Authority,” said Dave Somers, Snohomish County Executive. “We will continue to look for opportunities to link our major job center with economic engines in the Pacific Rim. The Shanghai Airport Authority has experience with both the aerospace industry and commercial passenger service, and by sharing our best practices, we can continue generating jobs and improving our economy.”
The agreement establishes a cooperative relationship between the airports and places an emphasis on supporting the development of each region’s aerospace industry. The Shanghai Airport Authority operates two airports, Pudong, a major international airport, and Hongqiao, a domestic airport.
“The Snohomish County Council has been a strong supporter of Paine Field and its partnerships with other strategically important centers for aerospace,” said Stephanie Wright, Chair of the Snohomish County Council. “Our work to foster foreign engagement and investment will help us diversify our economy and provide the family-wage jobs we know are needed.”
This is the first such arrangement between Paine Field Airport and a China-based airport. Although there are differences, the airports share key attributes. Paine Field and Shanghai Pudong Airport both serve as hub airports supporting maintenance and overhaul of commercial aircraft. Both airports also have “a strong connection to The Boeing Company,” the agreement notes.
“Both Shanghai and Snohomish County share ecosystems of high-tech innovation, entrepreneurial success, and aerospace excellence” said Mercy Kuo, President of the Washington State China Relations Council. “The Washington State China Relations Council supports strategic cooperation that advances investment and innovation collaboration between Washington state and China.”
“Washington is the most trade dependent state in the country, and our relationships in China offer continued opportunity for growth in the strongest sectors of our economy, including aerospace,” said Brian McGowan, CEO of Greater Seattle Partners. “Leveraging strategic relationships in China, like this memorandum of cooperation with the Shanghai Airport Authority, will pay dividends down the line for the Puget Sound region.”
“Closer strategic ties between one of the most dynamic Chinese airports and our own Paine Field will further strengthen our connections to China. China is an important trading partner for Snohomish County and our region. This partnership will align our long-term economic interests with China’s continued growth, and we will continue to support efforts to position ourselves to best take advantage of that growth,” said Patrick Pierce, President and CEO of Economic Alliance Snohomish County.
“The Shanghai Airport Authority has been a global leader in economic development, and Paine Field is proud to sign this agreement to formalize our partnership,” said Arif Ghouse, Director of Paine Field Airport. “As the economic driver for Snohomish County, Paine Field will continue expanding opportunities and tapping into expertise across the world, particularly the Pacific Rim.”
The Shanghai Pudong Airport in China is home to Boeing Shanghai Aviation Services. The company provides maintenance, repair and overhaul work for commercial jets, including 787-8 Dreamliners. Paine Field is home to Boeing’s assembly plant for the 747, 767, 777, and 787 aircraft. It also hosts Aviation Technical Services, one of the largest third-party aircraft inspection and repair facilities in North America, providing services for airlines such as Alaska, American, JetBlue, Southwest and others. Shanghai airport serves more than 60 million passengers each year. It is the second-busiest airport in mainland China and 13th busiest in the world.
Paine Field Airport is gearing up for commercial flights, now expected to begin in early 2019. Under an innovative agreement with Propeller Airports, $40 million in private funds have been invested in a state-of-the art terminal, now nearing completion on land leased from Snohomish County. Propeller will own and operate the terminal. Commercial flights are expected to bring 1.4 million people to and through the airport each year.
In 2017, Paine Field signed a memorandum of cooperation with Chubu Centrair International Airport in Japan. Snohomish County continues to build its network of strategic relationships, raising the visibility of Paine Field and the aerospace companies based there.