FAA move could delay launch of commercial flights at Everett's Paine Field

EVERETT, Wash. -- The start of commercial air service at Paine Field, which was expected to begin this fall with completion of a passenger terminal, could be delayed by renewed Federal Aviation Administration scrutiny.

The agency has begun what it calls a supplemental environmental assessment of the effect of up to a combined 24 flights per day by Alaska Airlines, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines to cities throughout the West.

A 2012 assessment, which approved of passenger service at Everett's county-owned airport, involved different airlines and only up to 12 flights per day.

The FAA could not say how extensive the study might be, but supplemental environmental assessments typically take six to 18 months.

Paine Field spokesman Scott North said commercial passenger operations "will begin when the FAA completes its regulatory process. If the FAA approves it, we expect operations to begin late in 2018."