EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — Paine Field plans to suspend passenger service from May 22 to July 31 for aircraft ramp maintenance and repairs amid a massive drop in demand for air travel linked to the coronavirus pandemic, the Everett airport’s passenger terminal operator announced late Friday.
“The travel industry has never faced an economic challenge of this magnitude,” Brett Smith, CEO of Propeller Airports, said in a news release. “We are going to use this temporary disruption to the advantage of Paine Field and our airline partners by completing necessary infrastructure improvements faster than we would have been able to while the terminal was open and flight operations were taking place.”
Initially the work was slated for a phased approach over four months. The work schedule was coordinated with Alaska Airlines and United Airlines — the two carriers sharing the year-old Paine Field passenger terminal — and approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, Propeller said.
Alaska Airlines, which on Friday reduced its flight schedule at Paine Field to one daily departure, to Phoenix, was supportive.
“The airport has a unique opportunity to consolidate and accelerate several smaller construction projects into a larger project that will ultimately impact fewer passengers for a shorter period of time,” said Matthew Shelby, Alaska’s managing director of airport real estate.
Alaska said it will work with passengers who will be affected by the Paine Field closure, including rebooking their travel through Sea-Tac International Airport.
United Airlines could not be reached for comment on whether it planned to alter its schedule there.