The WPA and the Flying Heritage Museum met with the Paine Field Airport Director and two Council members in the Snohomish County Council Conference room to discuss several concerns that General Aviation (GA) pilots flying out of Paine Field have expressed.

Attendees at the meeting were: WPA: Richard Beckert, Jerry Barkley, Gregg Ortega; Flying Heritage Museum: Stacey Ellingson; Paine Field: Arif Ghouse (Airport Director); Snohomish County Council: Nate Nehring (council member), Sam Lowe (council member), Russell Wiita (legislative Aid).

The concerns WPA and Flying Heritage Museum discussed, and potential solutions include:

  1. The fuel pricing being charged by Castle and Cooke.  The price is $1.30/gallon more than Arlington and the most expensive of all the airports west of the Cascades that serve GA.  The fuel price charged by Castle and Cooke use to be competitive with Arlington prior to commercial air service at Paine Field.  From GA’s perspective it appears that Castle and Cooke is not that interested in serving the needs of GA.  Potential solutions discussed included:
    1. Encouraging a second GA friendly FBO or fuel supplier to start a business at Paine Field.
    2. Replace Castle and Cooke with an FBO that is more friendly towards GA.
  2. Fuel Availability – If Castle and Cook is busy, fueling GA aircraft is low on their priority list which has resulted in long wait times for fuel, or not being able to obtain fuel at all in some cases.  This creates safety issues for pilots landing with minimal fuel and cannot readily obtain fuel.  A trip to Arlington with minimal fuel could result in a forced landing.  Either of the solutions proposed in #1 along with getting self-serve fuel back on-line should address the fuel availability issue.
  3. Flight training activities – Paine based flight training operations may find it difficult to compete with adjacent nearby airports that offer flight training due to the difference in fuel prices.
  4. Ramp space availability for GA pilots dropping off passenger to catch a commercial flight.  Potential solution discussed was to make ramp space available for free for GA pilots to drop off passengers.
  5. Additional parking and hanger space for GA pilots.  Arif indicated this will be looked at in addressing the master plan update for Paine Field.
  6. Aviation Days/Young Eagle Days – Aviation Days has been terminated due to TSA security requirements.  We are looking at hosting “Young Eagles” flying events away from the main terminal with less security requirements.

Overall, the meeting with the county council members was well received.  They understood our issues and indicated that they would be working with Arif to address our concerns.  They also indicated that they will be setting up quarterly meetings to make sure that our concerns are being addressed.  The next meeting will be sometime in late March 2020.