United Airline’s declining market share in the Puget Sound area is the cause behind the airline’s notice Tuesday that it will lay off as many as 264 flight attendants at Sea-Tac Airport.
Those flight attendants will be offered the opportunity to operate out of another base such San Francisco, but such a move will mean they will have to commute to that new base to begin their work days.
United, once Sea-Tac’s dominant airline, has been one of the casualties of a fight between the airport’s top two airlines, Alaska and Delta, as they battle for passenger traffic.
United early this year halted its daily flights to Tokyo from Sea-Tac in the face of two competing daily Tokyo flights from Delta and a single flight from All Nippon Airways. The Chicago-based United has also trimmed its domestic daily flights from Sea-Tac as both Delta and Alaska have expanded their capacity.
In October of last year, United had more than a 9 percent share of Sea-Tac traffic. In October this year, that market share had declined to 7.7 percent of Sea-Tac passengers. During that same period, both Alaska’s and Delta’s market share expanded.
During October this year, Alaska held the largest share of Sea-Tac traffic, 52.3 percent. Delta was second with a 15.7 percent market share.
A year earlier, Alaska’s share was 51.8 percent. Delta held a 13.2 percent share.