In 1928, by a rate of 86 percent, King County voters approved a $950,000 plan for construction of the region’s first municipal airport. Today, King County International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the nation and it ranks among the most successful public investments in state history.
Originally named in honor of Boeing Company founder William E. Boeing, the airport helped to support the early growth of the Boeing Company. Throughout the 1930s, it served as a regional center for the burgeoning industries of commercial and recreational aviation.
On December 6, 1941, just one day before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the airport was closed to the public and taken over by the federal government because of its strategic location and its importance as a Boeing production center. During World War II, the airport was devoted to the production of thousands of B-17 and B-29 bombers, which played key roles in the Allied war effort.
After the war, Boeing Field reopened for civilian use and it served as the area’s primary passenger airport until the development of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
Today, King County International Airport is one of the busiest general aviation airports in the nation, serving about 375,000 flights each year and a wide variety of aircraft, ranging from small recreational airplanes to helicopters, corporate jets, cargo carriers, Boeing planes, and military aircraft.
The airport is owned by the taxpayers of King County and managed by the King County Department of Transportation, Airport Division. It is financed by fees paid by airport tenants and customers, and receives no general tax revenues.
||The airport’s official dedication was attended by 50,000 people. William E. Boeing was honored.|
||Ground was broken for the first county hangar. Newspapers announced take-off times for Pacific Air Transport and West Air Transport service to Portland and San Francisco.|
||The terminal and administration buildings were completed.|
||Work began on improvements costing $490,000, including draining, grading, fencing, and installation of air traffic obstruction lights and other navigational lighting.|
||The airport went on a 24-hour schedule.|
||A national defense appropriation of $223,000 was granted for paving.|
||A new runway opened: 5,825 feet long, and paved.|
||Construction costing $2,670,000 was authorized by the War Department, including extension of the paved runway to 7,526 feet.|
||A new 1,800 foot runway for light planes opened.|
||The main runway was extended to 10,000 feet, with approximately 62,000 square yards of nine-inch-deep paving added.|
||Commercial aviation history was made as the Boeing Company’s 707 "Dash 80" prototype made its maiden flight from the Renton Boeing Plant to King County International Airport.|
||A new control tower was dedicated and opened for use on the west side of field, next to—and at the approximate midpoint of—the main runway.|
||The small plane runway was extended to its present length of 3,710 feet.|
||King County International Airport was selected from among 610 competing Northwest airports to receive the Airport Improvement Award.|
||King County International Airport was awarded the first Airport Operating Certificate issued to a nonscheduled air carrier airport by the FAA Northwest Region.|
||A new Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting/Police Station was built at the base of the control tower.|
||The airport celebrated its 50th anniversary with a plaque presented by the community.|
||The Arrivals Building was completed next to the terminal to house U.S. Immigration and Customs.|
||The Airpark Hangars Complex was built to house 20 business-sized aircraft.|
||The Museum of Flight was dedicated.|
||The Airpark Hangars Complex was expanded by 16 bays.|
||The northeast apron was constructed, creating 55 aircraft tiedowns.|
||Lighted taxiway guidance signs were installed.|
||An instrument landing system (ILS) was installed on runway 31L.|
||The newly constructed Northeast T-Hangars provided 22 full and 2 small bays.|
||King County International Airport was selected by the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) as one of the “100 Most Needed Airports” in the United States.|