Despite new competition from SeaTac Airport's second most popular carrier, Delta Air Lines, Alaska Air Group saw its passenger traffic grow by more than 6 percent last month, the airline holding company said Monday.
Alaska, parent company of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, enjoys the largest share of passenger traffic at Sea-Tac with more than 50 percent of passengers traveling on those two airlines.
December traffic, measured in passenger miles (one mile flown by one passenger) rose 6.5 percent for Alaska compared with a rise in capacity of 4.5 percent. The result was that Alaska's fleet operated with more seats full (88 percent) filled in December than a year earlier (86.3 percent).
For the full 2013 year, Alaska said its passenger traffic improved by 7.2 percent, but its passenger load factor (the percentage of seats filled) declined by 86.6 percent in 2012 to 86.1 percent in 2013.
The airline holding company's one-time arrival percentage also fell slightly for the year to 87.2 percent compared with 87.5 percent in 2012.
Delta is mounting a campaign to increase both its traffic and market share at Sea-Tac adding multiple flights to destinations where Alaska has dominated such as Seattle-San Francisco, Seattle-San Diego and Seattle-Portland.
Many of Delta's new flights, however don't begin until next spring and early next summer. Delta says it needs its new flights to feed new international flights from Sea-Tac to Hong Kong, Seoul and London.