Anchorage airport anticipates more passengers this summer

The view from inside the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. The airport is anticipating a 6 percent increase in passenger capacity this summer. (Photo by Abbey Collins, Alaska Public Media)

Airport managers in Anchorage 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.