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FAA decision could delay start of commercial flights at Paine Field

Rendering of the Paine Field terminal

EVERETT, Wash. -- The start of allowing commercial airline service from Everett's Paine Field could be delayed after the FAA reopened the environmental impact study Friday.

Three airlines -- Alaska, United and Southwest, had announced intentions to begin a total of 24 combined commercial flights later this year from the new terminal.

But the FAA says its original study, conducted in 2012, was based on the assumption of fewer flights and a different mix of aircraft.

"As a result, the FAA concluded that a re-evaluation of the proposal is required," the agency said in a statement given to KOMO News. "The supplemental EA will involve a review of the environmental impacts associated with these proposed changes."

The typical process takes about 6-18 months to complete, After the secondary review is completed, the agency will release the preliminary analysis and open it to public comment for 30 days before making any final determinations.

The FAA could decide the additional service still doesn't pose a significant impact, or it could decide the need for a formal environmental impact statement. The agency says no commercial service can begin until the environmental study is completed.

Propeller Airports is spending $40 million to build the two-gate passenger terminal at Paine Field and is scheduled to be completed in September. It's one of the few privately-run airport terminals in the U.S.

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