United ending commercial passenger service at Paine Field

United Airlines has announced that it will discontinue its last remaining service – Everett to Denver – from Paine Field effective Oct. 5, effectively terminating its operations at this facility. (Photo courtesy United Airlines)

United Airlines has announced that effective Oct. 5 it will no longer operate commercial flights to Denver out of Everett’s Paine Field. As its last remaining flight from Paine, this decision terminates United’s presence at that facility.

The carrier had been operating routes from Snohomish County-owned Paine Field to both San Francisco and Denver, but halted the San Francisco service in February 2020, citing the decision as “part of its continuous review of demand in the markets it serves.”

This recent announcement came as a surprise to the Paine Field Airport Commission, which reviews and recommends updates to the airport master plan, changes to the airport capital improvement program and capital facilities plan and strategies for airport noise reduction.

“I was surprised by the news this morning and look forward to learning more from the Snohomish County Airport staff at our upcoming airport commission meeting this Thursday evening,” Commission Chair Alicia Crank said Monday. “We have an amazing local airport, both commercial and general aviation. I hope that this means that Alaska Airlines will expand their service/coverage while staying within the parameters of the number of flights allowed out of PAE.”

As with its earlier decision to halt service to San Francisco, United again cited demand for its services as the underlying reason.

“United has continued to evaluate and adapt its network and based on demand trends, the airline will suspend service from Denver (DEN) to Everett, Washington (PAE), effective Oct. 5, 2021,” said a United spokesperson on Monday. “United will continue to serve the region with non-stop service to Seattle (SEA) from Denver, New York/Newark, Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.”

This latest announcement leaves Alaska as the sole airline operating passenger flights from the Everett facility. However, Alaska’s recent announcements of a new route to Tucson and its intent to return to full service of 18 daily flights by next spring, Paine Field’s future as the world emerges from the pandemic appears strong.

“Carriers are making post-pandemic adjustments to their schedules and markets, so this [United’s decision to pull out of Paine] is not surprising news,” said a spokesperson for Propeller Airports, operator of the Paine Field commercial flight facility. “Paine Field continues to enjoy strong passenger demand, our flights are departing full, and our hometown carrier Alaska Airlines remains committed. We are excited about Alaska’s new routes to Boise and Tucson starting later this year. 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.”

— By Larry Vogel

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