Alaska airports brace for robust tourism

Officials at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and Fairbanks International Airport are forecasting robust growth in visitor industry traffic this summer.

In Anchorage, the forecast is for available seats on out-of-state flights serving Anchorage to increase by 5.6 percent, allowing for an additional 43,000 tourists from June through August to generate much needed economic activity for the state’s tourism industry.

“With a typical tourist spending $1,000 in Alaska during their vacation, the impact of the projected growth will be measured in the tens of millions of dollars,” said Jim Szczesniak, airport manager.

“Airlines are optimistic on the Anchorage market,” said Trudy Wassel, assistant airport manager and head of air service development. “Alaska Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines and Air Canada are growing their capacity,” she said.

In the market between Anchorage and Fairbanks, capacity is forecast to grow 20 percent, with an additional 17,000 seats available.

“Our two international airports are part of a system that benefits all of Alaska,” said John Binder, executive director of the state’s international airport system. “Growth in both markets helps distribute tourists throughout the state.”