Lindsay Peyton
The public was invited to provide input during the first community meeting for the King County International Airport's new master plan. Attendee Chuck Kegley wrote a few thoughts down for consideration.

Public input part of the process for developing a master plan for the King County International Airport

By Lindsay Peyton

Before a new master plan for the King County International Airport can prepare for take off, staff members are seeking public input.

The first of a number of community meetings was held tonight at the airport, also known as Boeing Field, located at 7277 Perimeter Rd S.

Gary Molyneaux, airport planner, said that the time is right for taking a thorough look at the facility, which is one of the busiest primary non-hub airports in the nation, averaging around 200,000 takeoffs and landings each year.

“Our last master plan was adopted in 2004,” Molyneaux said. “We just need to bring the project back online. We have changed so much in the past 12 years.”

He explained that corporate use of the airport has increased over the years. “The recreational flying is down,” he said. “That’s been going on for quite a while. It was hit hard in the 2008 recession – and it’s been a long time in recovery.”

Still, the 74 hangars at the airport are 100 percent leased – and Molyneaux wants the facility to be prepared for future growth.

The Master Plan Update is also necessary for the airport to continue to receive federal funding through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The updated plan will serve as a roadmap for the next 20 years – paving the way for needed improvements and setting goals for economic growth.

Molyneaux said the first step is examining the airfield, including all of the dimensions of runways, flight paths, taxiing routes and the surrounding buildings.

“All of that is being evaluated and analyzed,” Molyneaux said. “Everything we do is about safety. That is the first thing we look at on every project that we do.”

Environmental stewardship and community partnership are other key ingredients.

Molyneaux said stakeholder input is critical – and feedback from area residents, as well as airport tenants and users will be closely monitored.

The planning process for the $1.2 million project began in January, when the airport hired consultants and developed the scope of work.

Molyneaux noted that the airport is self-supported and does not rely on general tax revenues.
There are 49 employees at Boeing Field – and the facility houses tenants, which supply 5,300 jobs and support more than 16,000 jobs in the region. The airport’s economic impact is estimated at $3.5 billion in terms of local business sales.

The facility serves small commercial passenger airlines, cargo carriers, private aircraft, helicopters, corporate jets, and military aircraft. The airport is also home to Boeing operations, the Museum of Flight and Galvin Flying, a school of flight.

An advisory group representing the industries has committed to serving on this project for the next three years.

Molyneaux said the final plan should be available in December 2017 – and he expects to have approval in 2018.

Mark McFarland, principal at Mead & Hunt, the consulting firm hired for the project, is looking forward to setting the plan in motion.

“It’s one of our most interesting projects,” he said. “There just isn’t another facility around like this.”

McFarland said that having Boeing on site – coupled with the airport’s close proximity to downtown Seattle – makes it an ideal facility for commercial growth.

“We feel we have a good grasp on what’s going on here,” he said. “It’s a challenging project – but we’ll do it well.”

The next community meeting will be held in January.

For more information, follow the King County International Airport blog https://kingcountyairportblog.com or visit the web site www.kingcounty.gov/transportation/kcdot/Airport.

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