Alaska Airlines’ growth in capacity exceeds growth in business

Competition from Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines’ introduction of a plethora of new routes are finally making themselves known in statistics for Alaska’s August business.

The SeaTac-based airline holding company reported that while its business increased by 6.8 percent in August over the same month in 2013, that increase failed to keep pace with the airline's capacity increase measured in available seat miles.

Available seat miles (one seat flown one mile) increased by 7.5 percent in August.

The growth in capacity exceeding growth in business was reflected in the airline group's passenger load factor, the percentage of seats filled by paying passengers.

In August of 2013, Alaska reported it filled 87.8 percent of its seats with paying passengers. Last month, that number dropped fractionally to 87.3 percent.

Alaska and Delta are fighting for market share at Sea-Tac where Delta has more than tripled the number of its domestic flights while adding international flights to Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. The Atlanta-based carrier has also added flights to London and Paris in Europe in addition to its Amsterdam flights.

Many of Delta’s domestic flights go head-to-head with Alaska flights.

Alaska has added multiple new destinations domestically including Baltimore, Detroit, Albuquerque, Tampa and New Orleans.