By Nate Nehring
Snohomish County has a rich history with the aerospace industry.
Paine Field, south of Everett, was originally operated by the Army Air Corps from 1941-48. In 1948, the county assumed ownership of the airport and shortly after the base was temporarily converted into Paine Air Force Base to support air force operations during the Korean War. Around that time, The Boeing Co. opened its first shop in Everett and has, since then, grown to be one of the biggest economic forces in Snohomish County.
Many decades of support of the aerospace industry in the county have led to some exciting developments coming in 2018. First, commercial passenger flights will begin to fly out of Paine Field. Back in May of 2017, Alaska Airlines announced a deal with Propeller Airports (who will operate the terminal) and Snohomish County. I attended the groundbreaking at Paine Field for the new terminal on June 5, 2017. Alaska has since announced that it will be flying to eight destinations on the West Coast, including Portland, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose.
These passenger flights are going be a significant opportunity for residents of North Snohomish County by allowing them to fly without fighting the increasing traffic congestion to get to SeaTac. As a recent study reported, the average morning drive just from Everett to Seattle is 90 minutes. This move also makes the county more attractive to employers and business opportunities as we will be more connected to other important economic hubs on the West Coast. Another huge move in 2018 is creation of County Executive Dave Somers’ Aerospace Task Force. Boeing is planning on a new midsize airplane (NMA) to replace the 757 program. I am excited to partner with Somers and the Task Force to work to secure the design and production of the new NMA in the county. The economic impact would be huge, not only in the direct employment of Snohomish County residents by Boeing, but also by the many ripple effects in the economy. We have many small- and medium-sized aerospace, manufacturing and tech companies that benefit from Boeing’s Everett plant. The aerospace industry in the county alone employs 41,000 workers who help keep our region one of the leaders in aerospace and innovation.
I cannot wait to get to work with the Aerospace Task Force to continue the decades-long tradition of support for aerospace in Snohomish County.
Nate Nehring is a member of the Snohomish County Council and represents District 1, which includes Arlington and Marysville. Contact: Nate.Nehring@snoco.org or 425-388-3494.