Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport expects a “significant increase” in summer passenger capacity this year as more tourists visit Alaska.
The state’s largest airport projects an increase of 6 percent in aircraft seat capacity this summer after a 4.5 percent increase last summer, according to an airport statement. The 2019 forecast means an additional 68,000 passenger seats on flights to Anchorage compared to last year.
Several airlines are expanding their service to Anchorage for summer. Alaska Airlines, the biggest carrier, is increasing passenger capacity between Anchorage and Seattle, according to the airport. Allegiant will add service between Anchorage and Bellingham, Washington, in May. United Airlines is adding more flights from New York, and Air Canada is upping flight frequency between Anchorage and Vancouver.
The summer of 2018 continued an upward trend for Alaska’s tourism market overall. Visitor volume to the state increased 5 percent last year between May and September, the fourth consecutive summer of growth, according to a report last month from Anchorage consulting firm the McDowell Group. That includes visitors traveling via air, cruise, highway and ferry.
Most of the growth in summer 2018 was from cruise ship passengers. The number of people visiting Alaska by air grew by 1 percent last summer. That was the air market’s sixth consecutive summer of growth, according to McDowell, but that growth “slowed significantly” the last two years.
This year is supposed to be “another record year” for tourism in the state, according to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.