State airports committee plans public hearings

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A state airports committee will conduct public hearings this week to take testimony on possible solutions for growth at Sea-Tac Airport, including constructing a brand-new airport in either Pierce or Thurston counties.

The committee has information at, and is taking public comments there through March 22.

The first public hearing will be from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 8. Register at

The other will be from 5:15 – 6:15 p.m., Thursday, March 9. Register at

The committee so far has recommended increasing service at Paine Field near Everett and to continue pursuing a new airport in either Pierce or Thurston counties.

Pierce and Thurston counties have lodged opposition to the idea. Pierce County's Council formally requested the two sites in its county be removed from consideration. Paine Field could be the top option, but it wouldn’t meet all of the capacity needs expected, the coordinating committee said.

While Paine and Sea-Tac already have some growth plans, airport demand studies say the state’s airport system needs to grow faster to avoid reaching capacity soon and to accommodate air cargo and commercial service needs predicted for 2050. There were 24 million airline passenger boardings in 2018, and there could be double that number by 2050, the committee said.

The committee is called the Commercial Aviation Coordinating Commission and is run by WSDOT. The public can send questions or comments to

The committee will provide its final recommendation to the state Legislature by June 15 this year.


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