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Anchorage airport expects summer passenger increase

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska’s largest airport is expecting a big increase in passenger capacity during the summer tourist season.

Officials at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport are looking forward to a “significant increase” in summer 2019 passenger capacity as more tourists visit Alaska, the Anchorage Daily News reported Monday.

The projected 6 percent growth in seat capacity equals an additional 68,000 passenger seats on flights to Anchorage compared to last year, according to airport officials. They said that increase is on top of a 4.5 percent increase last summer.

Alaska Airlines should increase passenger capacity between Anchorage and Seattle, while Allegiant is expected to add service between Anchorage and Bellingham, Washington. United Airlines anticipates more flights from New York, and Air Canada will likely increase flight frequency between Anchorage and Vancouver, airport officials said.

The upward trend for the state’s overall tourism market was visible between May and September 2018, the fourth consecutive summer of growth, according to a February report from McDowell Group, and Anchorage consulting firm. Those figures include visitors traveling via air, highway and ferry.

The number of people visiting Alaska by air grew by 1 percent last summer, according to McDowell, which calculated that most of the state’s tourism growth was from cruise ships.

The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development predicts that 2019 will be “another record year” for tourism in the state.

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Information from: Anchorage Daily News, http://www.adn.com

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