Aviation Commission Recommends Two Potential Options for New Aviation Capacity

After months gathering public feedback and reviewing technical analyses, the state Commercial Aviation Coordinating Commission submitted Phase II recommendations (PDF 974KB) to the Washington State Legislature that include continued study of two options for future aviation capacity.

The two options were submitted on Oct. 15 and include:

  • Growing Paine Field according to its Airport Master Plan (with potential for additional capacity).

   – This assumes Seattle-Tacoma Airport executes its Sustainable Airport Master Plan, and includes a recommendation to assist other airports interested in pursuing regional commercial service (distributed air service supported by emerging technology)

  • Continue to develop a greenfield site option with a two-runway configuration.

   – Pierce County Central, Pierce County East and Thurston County Central were recommended for additional technical analysis and community outreach. A map of the sites (PDF 974KB) is available online.

The demand for aviation in Washington state is growing and will soon exceed the capacity of existing airports. The Phase II recommendations come eight months after the commission recommended six preliminary airport sites (PDF 369KB) with potential for expansion to meet both short- and long-term aviation needs.

“This is an opportunity for the state to consider how to meet capacity limits while also planning for an airport of the future,” said David Fleckenstein, WSDOT Aviation Director and chairman of the commission. “Increasing the use of sustainable aviation fuels could significantly reduce harmful emissions. Emerging aeronautics technology could also reduce noise from airplanes while also providing additional commercial air service options to more airports around the state.”

In the coming months, the commission will offer additional opportunities for public input and study additional technical data about each greenfield site still being considered. To learn about updates and new developments in the process, please sign up for email updates (under News, select “CACC”). A final recommendation is due to the Legislature by June 15, 2023.

The commission is considering environmental effects, economic and technical criteria and public feedback and opinion as it develops recommendations to improve Washington’s air transportation capacity.