SEATTLE, July 21 (UPI) -- Southwest Airlines Thursday proposed a detailed plan to expand, and then use a regional airport closer to Seattle than the one it currently occupies.
The discount air carrier says operating out of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is getting too expensive. Southwest proposed building a terminal at King County's close-in Boeing Field.
That set off an immediate reaction from competitors who demanded equal access to Boeing Field, which is smaller than Seattle-Tacoma but more convenient.
Southwest proposed to King County officials building an eight-gate commercial terminal with parking, concession spaces and baggage handing and screening facilities at Boeing Field.
"We are giving King County a $130 million airport and by doing this, preserving low fares for all the people of the Puget Sound Region," said Gary Kelly, Southwest's chief executive.
"As a result of estimated direct expenditures, taxes paid and the preservation of low fares, there will be a projected $1.6 billion total economic gain to the region."
Within minutes of Southwest's proposal, competitors Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air said a move by Southwest would force them to also seek access to Boeing Field.