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Alaska to open commercial flights to Paine Field in 2018

Alaska Airlines will be the first commercial carrier to offer flights from Paine Field-Snohomish County airport north of Seattle when a new terminal opens in 2018.

The Seattle-based carrier will operate nine daily flights with a mix of 76-seat Embraer 175s and Boeing 737s from the airport beginning in the fall of 2018, it says in a statement.

"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," says Brad Tilden, chief executive of Alaska, in a statement. "[This] means less time stuck in traffic on Interstate 5 and more time enjoying your vacation or making the most of your business trip."

Alaska will outline routes and schedules in early 2018, it says. However, it mentions the possibility of service to Portland, Oregon, in its statement.

In addition to Seattle, the airline has hubs in Anchorage, Los Angeles and Portland, as well as San Francisco following its December 2016 acquisition of Virgin America.

The new air service will coincide with the opening of a new two-gate passenger terminal at Paine, which is located in Everett, Washington, about 58km north of Seattle Tacoma International airport.

Propeller Airports signed a long-term lease with Snohomish County, which operates the airport, to design, build, finance and operate the new terminal in 2015.

Alaska has spoken before about possibly serving Paine Field. In a 2013 filing with the US Federal Aviation Administration, the carrier outlined plans to serve Honolulu, Kahului, Las Vegas and Portland from the airport.

The service plan followed a 2009 one where Alaska-subsidiary Horizon Air was to fly to Portland and Spokane.

Allegiant Air raised the possibility of commercial air service to Paine Field in 2008, when it outlined a desire to link the airport with its Las Vegas base.

A spokeswoman for Allegiant says they have no plans to serve Paine at this time.

Paine is home to much of Boeing's widebody aircraft assembly lines, including for the 747, 767, 777 and 787.

Updated with comment from Allegiant

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