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Boeing KC-46 Flight Test Program

Earlier this year, The Boeing Company began flight testing its new KC-46 Pegasus refueling aircraft. The KC-46 Pegasus is a wide-body, multi-role tanker that can refuel all U.S., allied, and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures.

Boeing is taking steps to minimize impacts on airport neighbors, and routinely complies with all federal, state, county, and city codes, including the Boeing Quiet Hour procedures and the King County International Airport Fly Quiet Program.

Two Navy F-18 jets have operated out of King County International Airport/Boeing Field over the past several months as part of the refueling exercises. Both F-18 jets have left the airport and are not expected to return in 2016.

We’ll provide updates on KC-46 flight test program changes in 2017—or sooner—as information from Boeing becomes available. King County does not have authority over military operations, but works with Boeing to minimize the noise impacts.

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King County International Airport/Boeing Field

King County International Airport—also known as Boeing Field—is one of the busiest primary non-hub airports in the nation. Just four miles south of downtown Seattle, it averages around 200,000 operations (takeoffs and landings) each year. In 2001, it was named by the National Air Transportation Association as one of the “100 Most Needed Airports” in the United States. It is financed by airport tenants’ and customers’ fees, and receives no general tax revenues.

Boeing Field ranks among the most successful public investments in state history. The airport’s economic impact is $3.5 billion in terms of local business sales that support 16,336 jobs and create $1.8 billion in labor income in the county. The airport’s 150 tenant businesses also directly support 5,209 jobs in the local economy. (For details, see our 2013 economic impact study.)

The airport serves small commercial passenger airlines, cargo carriers, private aircraft owners, helicopters, corporate jets, and military and other aircraft. It is also home to the Boeing Company’s 737 aircraft flight-test program, along with other Boeing operations. The Museum of Flight is located there, with its wide variety of aircraft and exhibits showcasing aviation history. It is frequently host to celebrities and dignitaries, including the President of the United States, who prefer Boeing Field because of its proximity to downtown Seattle and other commercial areas.

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