Unknown if second Alaska Air hub in Seattle will impact Missoula flights

By Martin Kidston/Missoula Current

Alaska Airlines this week said it will begin scheduled flights from a second Seattle-area airport next year, reducing traffic congestion and cutting the time it takes commuters to travel to and from the airport.

The airline, which provides several daily nonstop flights between Seattle and Missoula, plans to operate nine daily departures from Paine Field using both Embraer 175 and Boeing 737 aircraft.

The airline won’t likely announce impacted routes until next year.

“As our region continues to grow at a record pace and Sea-Tac Airport nears capacity, the time is right to bring air service to our valued guests living in the North Sound,” Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden said in a statement.

According to the airline, the move will relieve its dependence Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, which is not expected to add capacity for 10 more years.

Located south of Seattle, Sea-Tac handled more than 45 million passengers last year. Propeller Airports has been contracted to build a new passenger terminal at Paine Field.

Alaska provides nonstop service from Missoula to both Seattle and Portland. It also serves five other Montana airports with an Embraer 175 aircraft.

Officials at Missoula International Airport traveled to Seattle in February to met meet with Alaska Airlines officials about adding a second daily flight from Missoula to Portland, and to explore direct service to Boise.

The airline recently merged with Virgin America.