What we’ve done so far: Inventory & forecasts

Before developing alternatives for the Master Plan, it’s important that we start with a foundation of understanding how Paine Field works today as well as current and future demand for services at the airport.

Inventory of existing conditions

Paine Field has served general aviation needs in Snohomish County for 85 years. It briefly offered commercial service in its earliest days before being converted into an air force base. In the 1960s, the Boeing Company built its Everett assembly plant, and by the 1970s Paine Field was a hub for manufacturing and general aviation. Paine Field Passenger Terminal, operated by Propeller Airports, began scheduled passenger commercial service in March 2019 with air service provided by Alaska Airlines and United Airlines to a variety of destinations. As of November 2021, Alaska Airlines is the current carrier providing commercial service.

The property on which Paine Field is located serves a number of uses, including commercial and general aviation activities, manufacturing, museums, lodging, educational and commercial facilities, and airport support services and facilities.

Map of existing road access to Paine Field

Map of existing airport facilities

Types of aviation

Commercial Aviation

Commercial aviation refers to passenger flights. We measure commercial aviation in terms of enplanements – one enplanement is one passenger boarding a plane.

Air Cargo

Air cargo refers to shipping of goods by plane, whether on dedicated flights or in the belly of commercial flights.

General Aviation

General aviation is everything else and includes medical flights, firefighting operations, private/chartered flights, tourism, military flights, and recreation. Boeing’s manufacturing and testing operations at Paine Field fall under this category.

Impact of Boeing

As one of the airport’s major tenants, Boeing has a significant impact on operations at Paine Field. Boeing’s facility in Everett is heralded as containing the largest manufacturing building in the world, and the plant is also the largest in the world by volume. Boeing Everett has a workforce of approximately 30,000 people. And it’s not just Boeing: the area served by Paine Field is the center of commercial airplane production in the U.S., with 1,350 aerospace-related companies. Boeing has also inspired other aviation and aerospace industry to base their operations at or near Paine Field, such as ATS, Collins, Korry, and electric aircraft leaders magniX and Eviation.


Demand for passenger service at Paine Field is expected to grow to more than 4 million passengers by 2040.

Paine Field is forecasted to generate 4.3 million passengers per year by 2040, compared to about 1 million in 2019. We expect more rapid growth in the late 2030s as Sea-Tac capacity constraints become more pronounced. Continued population growth in the Puget Sound region will also drive growth.

Terminal capacity

More passengers will mean more needs for our terminal, general aviation and other facilities over time. This growth will not, however, mean more runways. We anticipate that Paine Field will remain a two-runway airport for the 20 years covered in this plan.

Demand for services is increasing, and eventually the existing terminal will no longer be able to accommodate the peak number of passengers. This chart illustrates the expected unmet demand that will result if we don’t plan now for future uses.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had significant impacts on air travel. Both the pandemic and the recent change to start offering commercial service mean the past several years have been highly unusual for Paine Field, so we’ve taken extra steps in developing the forecast to ensure that it is accurate. For the forecast, we have assumed that air travel demand returns to 2019 levels in 2025.

What does this mean for Paine Field?

Over time, as traffic continues to grow at Paine Field, some of the existing facilities at the airport will need to be expanded or improved. Defining the facility requirements is the next step in the Master Plan process and will help us determine alternatives for the airport.

Factors such as aircraft size, traffic demand, and peak volumes are key drivers of facility needs. Based on those factors, we will use standards and recommended practices from the FAA and others to determine what types and sizes of facilities will be needed in the future.

Areas we looked at

Airfield system, including runways, taxiways, and apron areas
Access roads to and from the passenger terminal
Corporate and private hangars
Passenger terminal
Air cargo facilities

At this point, we expect the following changes will need to be made in the next 20 years to meet the future needs of the airport.

Airfield system

  • Improve taxiways to improve airfield capacity
  • Rehabilitate various airfield pavements
  • Expand deicing capabilities

At this point, we expect the following changes will need to be made in the next 20 years to meet the future needs of the airport.

Passenger facilities and access

  • Allocate future land for potential terminal expansion requirements
  • Increase access road capacity when needed

At this point, we expect the following changes will need to be made in the next 20 years to meet the future needs of the airport.

Expanded operational facilities

  • Accommodate future general aviation facility expansions
  • Plan for possible future expanded air cargo operations
  • Designate a place to accommodate possible increased demand from corporate jets

Paine field is adapting to changing times

Paine Field Airport is vital to the quality of life and economic sustainability of Snohomish County’s residents. As our region continues to grow, we rely on a strategic framework, the Airport Master Plan, that guides development of the airport. To receive updates about the Airport master planning process, please sign up below.

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Paine Field

By the numbers

As of 2018, Paine Field (PAE) supports 158,227 jobs and has a total economic impact/business revenue of $59.9 billion annually. It has the highest economic impact of any airport in the state of Washington.

The airport has two parallel runways for arrivals and departures: Runway 16L/34R serves general aviation aircraft, while the 9,010-foot-long Runway 16R/34L accommodates large jet aircraft, up to and including the largest aircraft in the world.

In its first 12 months of service, the privately-owned and operated commercial passenger terminal at PAE welcomed approximately 1 million passengers. These passengers were utilizing the 24 arrivals and 24 departures each day before the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted air travel.

Paine Field serves an average of 315 aircraft operations per day (general aviation, Boeing, and commercial air service), and it is home to approximately 509 general aviation based aircraft.

During times of emergency, say an earthquake or other natural disaster, Paine Field provides much-needed transportation capacity and flexibility for government planners.

A strategic vision for Paine Field

An Airport Master Plan is a long-range planning document that recommends a strategy for development of airport land and facilities. The plan’s goal is to prepare the county’s airport to support the needs of the future. The plan will also ensure the airport balances our economic, environmental, and social values.

The Master Plan is informed by Snohomish County residents, government agencies, chambers of commerce, civic groups, environmental organizations, business leaders, and others with an interest in the airport. The Master Plan will ultimately be approved by County Executive and the Snohomish County Council, and then submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for acceptance. The current Paine Field Master Plan was adopted by the Snohomish County Council on December 4, 2002 and accepted by the FAA on November 13, 2003.

Developing our future together

Paine Field Airport, which is owned and operated by Snohomish County on behalf of its residents, values our community, and we need your input as we develop a plan for the coming decades. Public outreach will occur at key milestones during the project to enable the public to review and comment. In addition, this website will provide informational updates as the plan is developed and will include ways for the public to provide ongoing input.


Developing the Master Plan is a two-phase process that we expect to take two and a half years, if all goes according to plan, concluding in 2022.

Phase One

Phase One, which began in 2020, includes information gathering and study. We’ll use the information we gather to develop options for how the airport can develop over the next 20 years. These ideas will be developed into preliminary alternatives and then we’ll determine requirements for those alternatives for consideration.

During Phase One, we’ll engage with the community through open houses as well as website updates and other information sharing.

Phase Two

During Phase Two, we’ll evaluate the preliminary alternatives and come up with a single preferred alternative. Once a preferred alternative has been identified, we’ll study environmental impacts, implementation scenarios, and projected finances for the alternative.

During this phase, we’ll also engage with the community through public meetings, post updates to this website, and host online open houses.

Stay informed

You can follow along with our progress by signing up for email updates.

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Master Plan committees

There are three primary committees that will help develop the Master Plan: the Steering Committee, the Stakeholder Advisory Committee, and the Technical Committee.

Steering Committee

The role of the Steering Committee is to guide Snohomish County’s goals and priorities for the airport and provide ongoing policy and strategic guidance throughout the Master Plan process. The Steering Committee includes members from Paine Field, the Port of Everett, and business leaders.

Stakeholder Advisory Committee

The Stakeholder Advisory Committee is an advisory committee comprised of key aviation stakeholders such as major tenants, local businesses, representatives from the community, and technical experts. Its purpose is to provide a venue for members to communicate issues of key interest and provide informed feedback regarding the purpose and scope of the Master Plan. The Stakeholder Advisory Committee represents a broad range of airport/aviation/community interests, and its members will have specific technical knowledge regarding the airport and/or community they serve.

Technical Committee

The Technical Committee is comprised of senior airport staff and the consultant team. The committee’s primary role is to provide technical input and review of the various technical documents.

Get involved and stay informed!

This website will share information and updates as the plan is developed, including invitations for public participation in online open houses. Please join our mailing list to receive updates.

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Paine Field Airport
3220 100th Street SW, Suite A
Everett, WA 98204