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The first regularly scheduled commercial flights took off from Snohomish County-owned Paine Field Airport as planned March 4, making a reality out of a decades-old dream.
County Executive Dave Somers marked the occasion by proclaiming commercial air service day at Paine Field. He also released this statement:
“This is an exciting time for Snohomish County and the entire Puget Sound region! Today, we begin a new era. Through our innovative partnership with Propeller Airports, we have finally realized our dream and the vision of those who built Paine Field 83 years ago. Snohomish County has a new gateway to the world.”
“Paine Field was named after Lieutenant Topliff Olin Paine. He was a Washington Husky and a park ranger. He served our country in the Army Air Corps during World War 1, and he loved to fly. I can’t think of a better summary of the spirit of Snohomish County and this airport than Lieutenant Paine.”
“Snohomish County’s Paine Field is already the economic engine of the county, and adding commercial air service will make us much more attractive for businesses looking to invest and for tourists wanting to visit the Pacific Northwest.”
Construction began on Paine Field in 1936, a Works Progress Administration project to help the region recover from the Great Depression. Planners dreamed the airfield would become one of 10 “super airports” around the country. They promised air travel would bring jobs and spur economic development in the region.
While that ultimately proved true, a different future unfolded during the more than 80 years Snohomish County has owned and operated the airport.
Paine Field’s runways and ramps first saw duty protecting freedom, starting during World War II and stretching into the Cold War.
A vibrant general aviation community took root here from the beginning, but for the last half century, Paine Field has been best known as a working airport that supports the Boeing Co. and other aerospace businesses. Indeed, nearly half the aerospace manufacturing jobs in Washington are located at or around Paine Field – an annual economic boon calculated at $20 billion.
Commercial flights are expected to connect Paine Field to new places, new people and new opportunities.