Shutdown is a real Paine for Alaska Airlines

Paine Field
An artist’s conception shows Alaska Airlines planes at Everett’s Paine Field passenger terminal. (Propeller Airports Illustration)

The much-anticipated first commercial airline flights from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., have been postponed until March 4 at the earliest, due to the partial government shutdown.

Alaska Airlines had been planning to start service at Paine Field on Feb. 11, pending government approval. But it turns out that the previous sentence’s dependent clause carried more than the usual weight.

“Several key groups within the Federal Aviation Administration, which conduct crucial certification and oversight work required for the start of commercial air service at Paine Field, are subject to furloughs because of the government shutdown,” Alaska Airlines explained today in a blog posting. “The FAA’s work on the environmental assessment continues. However, essential work groups within the FAA are furloughed and further delays are expected if the shutdown continues.”

In light of the snag, Alaska said “the responsible action” was to postpone the start of scheduled service until March 4 — again, “subject to receipt of all required government approvals.”

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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