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[Speculation] AS Strategy for a Second Seattle Airport

[Speculation] AS Strategy for a Second Seattle Airport

Old Nov 1, 19, 8:31 pm
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[Speculation] AS Strategy for a Second Seattle Airport

Certainly, another Seattle area airport would not be operational for another several yearsóif ever. But, itís intriguing to speculate about how AS may play that. Conceivably, this development could be another headwind for AS.

Up to now, WN hasnít had much luck in the Seattle market, and that has been no doubt comforting for AS. But, if a second airport were to open up, WN could jump at that competitive opportunity; using this secondary airport would be most consistent with WNís business plan thus far. And if that airport is much less of a headache for passengers to access and fly through than SEA, WN could make a very convincing argument to Seattle area flyers, that could ultimately cause headaches for AS.
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Old Nov 1, 19, 8:58 pm
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I would argue that AS is playing the long game at Paine Field. They are already flying E-jets all over creation from there... and people I have talked to all love going in and out of there.

Clearly not SEA level in any way, but if there is going to be a new airport, it’s gonna be up north there somewhere, and PAE is the right place.
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Old Nov 2, 19, 2:47 am
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Originally Posted by navydevildoc View Post
...if there is going to be a new airport, itís gonna be up north there somewhere, and PAE is the right place.
Not necessarily. Mukilteo fought Paineís commercial terminal pretty hard, delaying it for years and years. Although itís certainly proven more popular than they thought it would be, thereís no reason to think that same vocal group of citizens will happily allow the size of that facility increased 20x or more. This is the third time in as many decades that WA has initiated the building of a new major Seattle-area international airport, and every other time, itís been shelved due to pushback from NIMBYs (along with other things). More of the locations on the short list are down closer to Tacoma than north of Seattle. Although, I have to express that a SEA-sized expansion of PAE would be just about perfect for me, I mean, unless they make it part of the new Northgate, I guess.

Reading the Timesí article about it yesterday, it seems like the commission's primarily goal is simply to find a spot where the locals wonít drive it out of town with pitchforks. https://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/the-search-for-a-second-airport-to-ease-crowds-at-sea-tac-has-kicked-off-again-what-do-you-want-to-know/
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Old Nov 2, 19, 3:08 am
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Anyone who thinks that Seattle is going to get another airport is a fool. It's much more likely that they would actually close PAE and other existing airports in the state.

Expanding Paine Field will continue to be a tug-of-war. A minor expansion of commercial service there might eventually happen after years more of struggle, but don't hold your breath expecting any dramatic changes.

The crisis that's been slowly building at SEA will continue unabated. Like every other crisis facing Seattle, it was created by the visionary "leaders" and was obvious to see coming for anyone who bothered to pay attention. The solution for that crisis will be the same solution used for every other crisis they've created: make those people who have to get through it suffer more and more, and impose escalating fees on them to discourage use. Only the most wealthy (or those who can wheedle exemption or subsidies out of our great visionary leaders) will be allowed to use these public amenities that we all have paid for for generations (roads, airports, open space, clean water, the list goes on). Regretfully, restricting use of these public facilities will be a sacrifice we all must make, you know, to save the orcas.
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Old Nov 2, 19, 11:02 am
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Originally Posted by ASeverywhere View Post
Certainly, another Seattle area airport would not be operational for another several years—if ever. But, it’s intriguing to speculate about how AS may play that. Conceivably, this development could be another headwind for AS.

Up to now, WN hasn’t had much luck in the Seattle market, and that has been no doubt comforting for AS. But, if a second airport were to open up, WN could jump at that competitive opportunity; using this secondary airport would be most consistent with WN’s business plan thus far. And if that airport is much less of a headache for passengers to access and fly through than SEA, WN could make a very convincing argument to Seattle area flyers, that could ultimately cause headaches for AS.
A second airport did already open up and Alaska already flies there (and Southwest apparently considered it but gave up):

How are the Paine Field flights? Will mainline Alaska ever fly there?

I presume you must have meant "a second major airport", rather than just "a second airport"?
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Old Nov 3, 19, 1:09 am
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They are looking at 2040, so there is a looooong way to go.
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Old Nov 3, 19, 9:34 am
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Hey, LKE (Lake Union) already has scheduled international service and it's way more convenient to downtown. Just need to dredge up those Boeing 314s and Alaska could have something way nicer than Mint for transcons!
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Old Nov 3, 19, 5:01 pm
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Strategy for an airport where they havenít even found a site for it, and itís 20 years away. LOL

We donít even know if AS or WN will exist in 20 years. Imagine us talking about TWA, Continental, AirTran and Northwest plans for market conditions in 2019 20 years ago.
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Old Nov 3, 19, 6:44 pm
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The Seattle area is narrow and long. That's geography. There will be no man made island in Puget Sound nor will the hills in the east around Snoqualmie ever be flattened. Any new airport is going to be north or south with a theoretical and unlikely exception of Wenatchee or Moses Lake, which is over the mountains from Seattle.

With that said, likely airports may be south near Tacoma or north near Everett.

I believe that the Tacoma market is too small so any airport is likely to have not much service.

I believe the that market in the north is larger so they can support a moderately busy airport. That leaves Paine Field or, if there is violent opposition that is likely, then a new airport in Arlington.

That's my prediction.
a. McChord Airport, near JB Lewis McChord (Ft. Lewis/McChord AFB). Just a little service, slightly busier than Bellingham or Eugene (opening date around 2060)
b. Paine Field expanded to 4 gates, all served by 737-900ER or equivalent plane.
c. Possible Arlington Airport (opening date: never or around 2100)
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Old Nov 3, 19, 8:58 pm
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My thinking is that any demand for more capacity should be met with larger aircraft utilizing the existing airport infrastructure.

Put some A380s on the PDX shuttle route
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Old Nov 4, 19, 11:38 am
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I know PAE is technically in Everett, but if you want to get that technical then Seattle has no airports as SEA is in the city of Sea-Tac.

So the main focus should be on AS's strategy for the existing 2nd airport at PAE. Time will tell if its a success I suppose, but I think the region is a long way off from needing a 3rd airport. Maybe someday if 520 is extended another 7-8 miles to Novelty they could put an east-side focused airport out there.

But when you look at US cities with 3 or more airports, you're looking at what? San Francisco, Los Angeles & New York?
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Old Nov 4, 19, 12:16 pm
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Originally Posted by nearlysober View Post
I know PAE is technically in Everett, but if you want to get that technical then Seattle has no airports as SEA is in the city of Sea-Tac.
Well, if we want to get that technical, Iíve flown as a revenue passenger BFI-YYJ. Helijet ran Lear jets on that route back in the mid-00ís (and got crushed, I was the only passenger on those flights and paid $90).

It makes a lot more sense to use BFI and PAE as relievers for SEA than some green field airport way in the middle of nowhere (and adding road capacity + infrastructure, all expensive propositions).
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Old Nov 4, 19, 2:28 pm
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Originally Posted by eponymous_coward View Post
Well, if we want to get that technical, Iíve flown as a revenue passenger BFI-YYJ. Helijet ran Lear jets on that route back in the mid-00ís (and got crushed, I was the only passenger on those flights and paid $90).

It makes a lot more sense to use BFI and PAE as relievers for SEA than some green field airport way in the middle of nowhere (and adding road capacity + infrastructure, all expensive propositions).
Technically the only half of BFI/King County Intl/Boeing Field is in Seattle (including the old terminal building); but the museum of flight isn't.
But the entire operation of LKE water aerodrome is in the city.

Longer term, I could see McChord doing the same sort of thing that happened at PAE -- 3 gates, 16-20 flights/day; to reduce pressure on SEA; and/or possibly moving more cargo to Boeing Field.

It strikes me the thing Seatac lacks is gate space; not runway capacity.

I don't see a greenfield approach happening in Seattle, at least not in my lifetime.
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Old Nov 4, 19, 5:24 pm
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Originally Posted by CZBB View Post
Technically the only half of BFI/King County Intl/Boeing Field is in Seattle (including the old terminal building); but the museum of flight isn't.
But the entire operation of LKE water aerodrome is in the city.

Longer term, I could see McChord doing the same sort of thing that happened at PAE -- 3 gates, 16-20 flights/day; to reduce pressure on SEA; and/or possibly moving more cargo to Boeing Field.

It strikes me the thing Seatac lacks is gate space; not runway capacity.

I don't see a greenfield approach happening in Seattle, at least not in my lifetime.
i agree, no greenfield. Just not enough open space to push in an airport amongst the trees and fields surrounding our suburbia.
Start with expanding PAE, than we go south of SEA to handle the, sure to come, population growth in Pierce & Thurston counties.
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Old Nov 4, 19, 9:51 pm
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Too bad Tacoma Narrows airport's runway is only half-as long as it would need to be
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