A rendering of the commercial airport terminal at Paine Field in Everett. (Photo: Propeller Airports)

MIAMI — Paine Field Airport (PAE) welcomed the millionth passenger to walk through its doors this week, a major milestone for the boutique airport as it approaches one year of operations next month.

The airport opened up its doors on March 4, 2019, as an alternative to passengers who were forced to commute to the larger and busier Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA).

Located in Snohomish County, Washington, PAE has long been home to Boeing’s wide-body production, as well as aircraft overhaul, maintenance, and refurbishment.

First constructed in the 1930s, PAE has been an industrial, military, and general aviation airport for most of its existence.

American Airlines’ first Boeing 787 taking off from Paine Field back in 2015. Courtesy: Brandon Farris

Today, the innovative regional airport is not only poised to become a model to bring commercial service to underserved communities across the country but also as a public-private hybrid, the airport is set to change the way municipalities and airport authorities work with the private sector.

According to Propeller Airports, the airport is fast becoming an economic success for the region, garnering praise from passengers, national media outlets, civic and business groups, and policymakers.


“Hitting a million passengers in under a year demonstrates the appreciation regional travelers have for Paine Field and the idea that you can use public-private partnerships to achieve civil projects to benefit the public not only here in Metro Seattle but around the country,” said Brett Smith, CEO of Propeller Airports, the firm that designed, built and operates PAE.

“Our partners in the County and local government, the airlines and the business community all shared our belief that if we built this, the public would embrace it. That has never been more evident than it is today,” added Smith.

The millionth passenger to walk through PAE’s doors

On Monday, United Airlines (UA) passenger Aristotle Roberts of Lynnwood, WA, a supervisor at a biopharmaceutical company, became the millionth Paine Field traveler.

To celebrate the milestone, Roberts was presented with one million days of free valet parking at the terminal, two round trip tickets to any of Paine Field’s 12 nonstop destinations, and a bottle of Dom Perignon.

“Surpassing one million passengers ahead of the terminal’s first anniversary is an amazing accomplishment,” said Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers.

Somers added, “after years of diligent work with Propeller, our team at the airport and our community partners, I’m proud of the passenger terminal’s success and its growing economic development and tourism benefits to the county and region.”

Paine Field continues to grow its map of nonstop offerings to west coast hubs, most recently with Alaska Airlines’ announcement of upcoming service to Boise, ID.