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Alliance Opposes Commercial Boeing Field

A group of neighborhood, business and
regional leaders today announced the formation of Sound Air Alliance, a
regional stakeholder group opposed to establishing commercial passenger
service at King County International Airport (Boeing Field) in Seattle. The
Alliance was formed in response to a recent Southwest Airlines proposal to
build a passenger terminal and parking garage at Boeing Field in order to
accommodate 85 Southwest flights a day. Boeing Field is owned and operated by
King County.“Establishing commercial passenger service at Boeing Field is a bad idea,”
said Alliance steering committee member Steve Leahy, President and CEO of the
Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce. “This broad stakeholder group has come
together because we all agree there is no wisdom in having two busy commercial
airports located a few miles apart and sharing the same airspace.”
  Alaska and Horizon Airlines have indicated they will be forced to operate
as many as 100 combined daily flights at Boeing Field to compete with
Southwest. As a result, 5.4 million passengers could pass through the airport
every year to board passenger flights. At that level, Boeing Field would
exceed annual passenger boardings at large and well-known airports such as
Cleveland-Hopkins International, San Jose International, and Memphis
International. Cleveland and Memphis airports serve as hubs for Continental
Airlines and Northwest Airlines respectively.
  Alliance members object to the use of taxpayer dollars that will be
required for additional road improvements, additional aircraft noise
mitigation in surrounding neighborhoods, new routes for Metro buses, and many
other services needed to support the level of operations being proposed.
  “Anyone looking at the proposal to turn Boeing Field into a busy
commercial airport cannot, with a straight face, expect the public to believe
that taxpayer dollars are not going to be required,” said Bob Wallace, CEO of
Wallace Properties in Bellevue and a member of the Alliance steering
committee. “Scarce tax dollars, already stretched thin to fund important
regional transportation projects, should not be stretched further to cover
infrastructure for a project that is not a priority.”
  Alliance members pointed to long-standing regional planning that does not
include the use of Boeing Field for commercial passenger operations. In 1996,
the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) voted to meet the region’s air
capacity needs by supporting the addition of a new runway and facilities at
Sea-Tac Airport. Over the past five years, regional leaders have reaffirmed
the decision to keep Sea-Tac as the commercial passenger airport for the Puget
Sound area for the foreseeable future.
  “The decision about where to locate the next regional airport should be
made right here, not in a Texas boardroom,” said Pierce County Executive John
Ladenburg, in a statement issued during today’s news conference. “If Southwest
Airlines moves to Boeing Field, it won’t matter where we want the next gateway
airport because other airlines will follow and the decision will be made for
  Residents and neighborhood groups surrounding Boeing Field, as well as
those from communities within the airport’s flight path, are participating in
Sound Air Alliance. They object to additional noise and environmental impacts
that will result from the substantially high number of large aircraft
operations that will take place if Boeing Field is opened to commercial
passenger service.
  As many as 185 takeoffs and 185 landings are anticipated daily if
Southwest, Alaska, and Horizon Airlines operate the number of flights
indicated in recent statements. This will result in a combined 370 takeoffs
and landings daily.
  “The concept of using Boeing Field as another commercial airport for our
region defies common sense,” said Mark Cooper, a Georgetown resident and
Alliance steering committee member.  “The last thing King County residents
need right now is the noise and environmental effects that will come from
having an additional 370 takeoffs and landings every day at Boeing Field.”