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With very few exceptions, US airports lag far behind many of their overseas counterparts.
Singapore Changi (SIN) is most often credited with offering a solid passenger experience, and Seoul’s new terminal at ICN is quite a looker as well. Despite massive investments, even the United States’ most prominent airports can’t be expected to match the level of service and amenities already available abroad. There is one new project I’m especially excited about, though.
It’s a new commercial terminal at Paine Field (PAE), just outside of Seattle. Located in Everett, Washington, the airport serves as a manufacturing base for Boeing. The 747 began its journey at PAE, and Delta’s last 747-400 even made a stop there on last year’s farewell tour. Today, it’s a key assembly site for Boeing 777s and 787 Dreamliners, alongside the company’s Charleston, South Carolina (CHS) facility.
Come 2019, Paine Field will be home to a brand-new passenger terminal, too, with flights operated by Alaska Airlines, United and Southwest.
A company called Propeller Airports is partnering with Snohomish County on the new venture, and the renderings look fantastic.
It’s really going to be an incredible building, and even though there are just two gates, airlines are expected to launch with about 24 flights per day — Alaska Airlines will be leading the way.
The main waiting area is simply stunning. It looks like a high-end lounge, though it’s open to all passengers. Assuming it doesn’t get too crowded, I certainly wouldn’t mind waiting for a flight there, even with a moderate delay. With limited operations at PAE, air and ground traffic shouldn’t see much of a backup, though.
Paine Field’s new terminal was expected to open this fall, but the FAA has squashed that plan after implementing a requirement for a revised environmental impact study. If all goes to plan, airlines could still launch some flights by the end of this year, or in early 2019.
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