December 07, 2005
New Regional Air Carrier To Operate From Bellingham

The Bellingham Herald reports today that pending FAA certification, Western Airlines expects to be offering flights next year from Bellingham to West Coast destinations and perhaps Utah, Nevada and Arizona.

Jerry Welch, president of Western Airlines, said..."The trend in the airline industry continues toward low-fare, low-overhead, regional-based airlines with routes based essentially on the needs and wants of the traveler in the region," Welch said. He said the plan is to pattern Western Airlines after other airlines that have done well offering direct flights out of smaller airports, such as Frontier and Jet Blue. Welch said the company has completed its first round of funding from local investors....Currently Allegiant Air Service and Horizon Air offer commercial service out of Bellingham.

"People in our community have asked for additional air service and we believe this presents an excellent opportunity to provide new service," said Port Commission President Doug Smith. "Last year we added Allegiant Air Service to Las Vegas, which has been very successful, and our passenger studies show there still is considerable unmet demand for flights to other destinations."

In a previous life, I learned all about congestion at at major airports. I think Western will do well; and they'll certainly draw customers who live in the populous areas south of Bellingham. Paine Field in Snohomish County better get in the game, or lose out.

UPDATE, Via Tim Goddard: Washington Conservative PAC and the Quality of Life Council will hold a dinner debate forum on commerical service at Paine Field with two guest speakers. Date: Thursday January 19th 2006, from 7 to 9 PM. Place: Elmer's Restaurant, 3411 184th St SW, Lynnwood. Please RSVP well in advance, limited seating: (206) 595-4553. Dinners + beverage + tip are usually less than $15 per person.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at December 07, 2005 03:59 PM | Email This
1. Trouble is, no one around Paine Field wants commcercial air going there. I've got no objections to it myself, but I don't think I've talked to anyone who lives around me who feels the same way.

I do think it would be a better deal for the county if they built something farther north in a less populated area, for reasons I'll elaborate on in a post someday.

Posted by: Timothy on December 7, 2005 04:28 PM
2. Good luck.

Not sure what the current stats are, but the survival rate among new entrants in the airline industry are atrocious...used to be around 5% that made it past 5 years.

Sounds like it would be great for Bellingham and north, however.

Posted by: Shaun on December 7, 2005 05:15 PM
3. I live in Mukilteo.
Good luck with any air service getting to Paine.
The city and many people who live there have said NO-WAY!

Been to a few meetings... OUCH.

I don't really have a problem with it, if they ensure the air service uses the real quiet planes.

Posted by: Army Medic/Vet on December 8, 2005 09:57 AM
4. TimG,

I don't know how long you've lived in Snohomish County, but a NE airport location has been suggested before without noticable signs of success. Arlington would be the most likely candidate, but given the growth in that area in the past 10 years, the reception isn't likely to have improved. Plus I believe there are flight path problems to the north. I don't know if a suitable Skagit County site exists.

As a receipient of SE Snohomish counties' gravel truck traffic (thanks in part to Rinker Rick Larsen) I think the Mukilteo types are all hypocrites. But I agree, commercial traffic to Paine Field is a dead issue with this County Council.

Time for Boeing to do some more night engine testing!!

Posted by: TimF on December 8, 2005 11:33 AM
5. Yeah, these guys should do ok.

Paine needs to be developed as a regional airport. Many cities Seattle's size have two, and some are in populated areas, like San Jose, Orange County, and Midway.

I worked at the Boeing facility at Harbour Pointe, right under the flight path. Was often outside smoking. Even the old birds were not that noisy. It is a great facility, and could easily support Horizon and others. Folks of Muk-a-Muk have to realize that planes are now quiet. These are not 707's, which made a racket.

Times change, and the time is right now for Paine. The Arlington plan was deficient because they wanted to fill in the valley to the north, rather than using the naturally flat land to the south. A companion facility is in Skagit, Skagit regional airport, same layout as Arlington and Quilaute. In fact, I was involved in a feasibility study for Skagit Regional.

But, the "locals" will whine, and snivel, and drive for an hour through Seattle.


The Geezer

Posted by: The Geezer on December 8, 2005 09:54 PM
6. TimF
I think the Mukilteo types are all hypocrites.

Gee thanks Tim.

I do live right in the flight path and have no problem.
Having been to a few of these meetings. Most of the people who were dead set against the plan were Boeing people who live in Mukilteo?
Go figure.

Posted by: Army Medic/Vet on December 10, 2005 08:33 AM
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