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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


Operators at King County Airport will not serve ICE flights, leaving no ground support for immigration transfers

Summary

Following an April 23 Executive Order, executives from Modern Aviation informed Executive Dow Constantine that the company will cease serving Swift Air flights carrying immigration detainees to and from King County International Airport. The other two operators at the airport indicated they will not pick up this service.

Story

Modern Aviation conveyed to Executive Constantine that it would no longer service Swift Air flights that carry immigration detainees. Swift Air, a Phoenix-based carrier, is believed to be the only charter used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the airport.

Swift Air has been identified by researchers from the University of Washington as a charter for ICE. Ground personnel at King County International Airport have also observed immigrant detainees boarding Swift Air flights. 

There are a total of three Fixed Base Operators (FBO) at King County International Airport with long-term leases, providing  hangar space and other facilities to refuel and service aircraft. FBO's Kenmore Aero Services and Signature Flight Support have communicated to airport officials that they will not contract with Swift Air for immigration flights. 

"I was heartened to learn that Fixed Base Operators at our airport have decided to accommodate the values of the people of King County," said Executive Constantine. "We are a welcoming community that respects the rights of all people. We do not want to see our publicly owned airport used for the wholesale deportation of immigrant detainees, and I applaud Modern Aviation for its civic mindedness."

In the deed signed after World War II that transferred King County International Airport from the federal government to local ownership, federal government aircraft have the right to use the airstrip and facilities.

Neither ICE nor its charters are legally obligated to file passenger manifests or flight schedules with King County. As a result, King County does not have information about the number and frequency of ICE flights, nor can airport personnel board planes or tell air traffic controllers which aircraft can land.

Relevant links

Quotes

I was heartened to learn that Fixed Base Operators at our airport have decided to accommodate the values of the people of King County. We are a welcoming community that respects the rights of all people. We do not want to see our publicly owned airport used for the wholesale deportation of immigrant detainees, and I applaud Modern Aviation for its civic mindedness. 

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

For more information, contact:

Alex Fryer, Executive Office, 206-477-7966


King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

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