Alaska Air Group regional carrier Horizon Air started scheduled service from a new passenger terminal at Paine Field Snohomish County Airport (PAE) north of Seattle, Washington, on March 4, after a three-week delay caused by the recent US government shutdown.

Alaska Airlines flight 2878, an Embraer E175, bound for Portland International Airport, Oregon, took off from PAE several minutes early at 10:03 a.m. local time, according to flight tracking site FlightAware.

The flight kicked off scheduled commercial service from PAE, which is home to Boeing’s Everett assembly plant for the 777 and 787 airliners.

Propeller Airports, a New York City-based development firm, built and now operates the $40 million, two-gate passenger terminal on land leased from Snohomish County in a public-private partnership agreement.

Alaska Airlines plans to operate 18 daily departures from PAE to Las Vegas, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose and Orange County, California. The carrier acquired eight 76-seat E175s specifically to serve PAE, Alaska Airlines CCO Andrew Harrison told an opening-day press gathering.

Chicago-based United Airlines plans to begin flights from PAE on March 31, also using E175s. It will operate two daily flights from Denver and four daily flights from San Francisco.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines in November dropped earlier plans to operate to PAE and transferred landing slots to Alaska Airlines.

Alaska Airlines had planned to start flights from the airport on Feb. 11 but postponed the launch date because FAA employees responsible for approving the service were furloughed during the shutdown of US government agencies that lasted from Dec. 22, 2018-Jan. 25, 2019.

The FAA’s Northwest Mountain Region headquarters in Renton, Washington, approved air carrier operations from PAE on Feb. 22, The Everett Herald reported.

PAE offers people living in the region access to West Coast destinations without fighting traffic to reach Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

“Opening Paine Field for commercial air service continues to build our economy in Everett and in Snohomish County, supports local jobs and drives tourism for the region,” said Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee, during the opening-day event. “The airport is going to improve travel options for passengers in the region and provide much-needed relief to traffic congestion.”

Bill Carey, bill.carey@aviationweek.com