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Gov. shutdown prompts Alaska Airlines delay at Everett’s Paine Field

(KIRO 7)

Alaska Airlines is pushing out the opening day of service at Everett’s Paine Field and is pointing to the government shutdown as the cause.

RELATED: FAA says Everett airport won’t have noise issues

The airline was initially intended to begin service out of Everett on Feb. 11. Now, officials say flights will begin on March 4, “subject to receipt of all required government approvals.” The March 4 date was chosen to allow for politicians to resolve the shutdown issue. But Alaska officials admit that it is unknown when the shutdown will end. The company therefore may delay the opening date at Paine Field yet again if the shutdown does not end in time.

According to Alaska:

We hope you can appreciate the adage “good things come to those who wait” …. Several key groups within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), 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. 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.

More than 17,000 Federal Aviation Administration employees are currently being furloughed as a result of the shutdown, the Associated Press reports. Alaska officials warned in early January that the shutdown could halt the opening flights.

Customers who have purchased tickets prior to March 4 can expect an email from the airline. They will be deferred to Sea-Tac Airport for a flight nearest their original time out of Everett. Customers can also postpone their flights until after March 4. All fees will be waived. Refunds are also possible.

Alaska ran a series of $39 specials to kick off service from Paine Field. Alaska will fly 18 nonstop departures daily to eight West Coast destinations: Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Orange County, California; Phoenix; Portland, Oregon; San Diego; San Francisco; and San Jose, California.

United Airlines and Southwest Airlines are also expected to fly out of Paine Field. United is expected to start on March 31.

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