Alaska’s largest airport expects more passengers this summer

Denali provides a backdrop to a United Airlines jet approaching Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport viewed from Kincaid Park in Anchorage, Alaska. Alaska’s largest airport saw its busiest summer for passenger traffic in 2018. Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport manager Jim Szczesniak says 1.53 million passengers embarked on flights from May through September, an increase of 68,724 passengers, a nearly 4.5 percent increase over summer traffic in 2017. (Dan Joling/AP Photo)
Airport managers in Anchorage, Alaska are expecting more passengers this summer.

Passenger capacity on planes flying to the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is projected to increase by 6 percent. That’s based on airlines adding new planes, frequency of flights, and new service options.

“We’re very excited at the fact that we’ve got two new destinations we’re serving this year non-stop,” Airport Manager Jim Szczesniak said. “You’ve got Allegient Airlines, which is a brand new airline coming into the market. They’re going to Bellingham, Washington. And Sun Country is coming in, they’re going to be handling that non-stop flight to Las Vegas.”

Szczesniak says the 6 percent increase translates to 68,000 additional passenger seats. And that, he says, means more money for the state.

“That 68,000 additional seats — the vast majority are going to be filled with tourists,” Szczesniak said. “With those — you figure the typical tourist is going to spend at least $1,000 when they come to Alaska. That’s going to be tens of millions of dollars that’s going to be poured into Alaska’s economy from those extra seats.”

This year’s forecasted growth follows a 4.5 percent increase in passenger capacity in the summer of 2018.

Szczesniak says passengers shouldn’t expect the airport to be noticeably busier than it usually is during the summer season.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Competition Bureau says Arctic airline merger could cause higher prices, fewer flights, CBC News

Finland: New terminal to help airport in Arctic Finland face tourism boom, Yle News

Norway: Norway’s Tromso airport still the busiest in northern Scandinavia, stats show, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russian regional airline cancels only direct Murmansk-Oslo link, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Swedish regional airline Nextjet files for bankruptcy, cancels all flights, Radio Sweden

United States: When the ice melts, what will happen to Arctic tourism?, Cryopolitics Blog

Abbey Collins, Alaska Public Media

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