Alaska Airlines adds Paine Field route as United drops one

Feb 5, 2020

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Alaska Airlines is again growing its route map at Paine Field near Seattle, adding service to Boise even as United Airlines cuts flights to the airport.

The Seattle-based carrier will offer a daily flight between Paine Field (PAE) in Everett, Washington, and Boise (BOI), Idaho, starting June 18, Alaska spokesman Ray Lane told TPG Wednesday. The flight will be flown with a 76-seat Embraer 175.

The Boise flight will replace one of the three daily that Alaska offers between Paine Field and Portland, Oregon (PDX), he said. The airline will continue to offer 18 daily flights to Paine Field, he added.

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Alaska’s new route follows United’s decision to discontinue service between Paine Field and San Francisco (SFO) in March. The Star Alliance carrier said the move was part of its regular review of its network, though U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics data shows that the flights were barely half full during the first eight months of service, from March to October 2019.

United will add a third daily flight between Paine Field and its Denver (DEN) hub on Feb. 13.

Alaska, at least for now, does not plan to take over the three flights at Paine Field — the terminal is capped at 24 daily flights — that United will stop using when it ends San Francisco flights, said Lane.

United declined to comment on its plans for the three flights when asked by TPG.

Related: United throws in the towel on San Francisco-Paine Field route

Alaska will offer nonstop service to 11 cities from Paine Field with the new Boise flight. Destinations include: Boise, Las Vegas (LAS), Los Angeles (LAX), Orange Country (SNA), Palm Springs (PSP), Phoenix (PHX), Portland, San Diego (SAN), San Francisco, San Jose, California (SJC) and Spokane (GEG).

Overall, Alaska  plans to grow system capacity by 3-4% year-over-year in 2020. The focus will be on growing its markets along the West Coast and in the Pacific Northwest.

For Boise, Everett will become Alaska’s eighth route from the airport. The carrier already flies from Boise to Seattle, but Paine Field will give Boise customers a nonstop route to an airport near Seattle’s northern suburbs.

Alaska is the top carrier from Seattle/Tacoma, the region’s primary airport that sits about 15 miles south of downtown Seattle. But traffic in the fast-growing metro area has made for a difficult drive for some travelers living north of Seattle, something Alaska Airlines noted when it announced it would add Paine Field as a secondary Seattle airport in 2017.

“As our region continues to grow at a record pace and Sea-Tac Airport nears capacity, the time is right to bring air service to our valued guests living in the North Sound,” Alaska CEO Brad Tilden said at the time. For those customers, Tilden said Everett “means less time stuck in traffic on Interstate 5 and more time enjoying your vacation or making the most of your business trip.”

Paine Field is located about 25 miles north of Seattle.  The airport had gone decades without commercial passenger service until Alaska’s service there launched in early 2019. United began flying there a short time later.

Contributing: Ben Mutzabaugh, TPG.

Featured image by Edward Russell/TPG.

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