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Delta says it will have 120 daily flights from Sea-Tac by next summer

The fight for dominance between Delta and Alaska airlines at Sea-Tac Airport saw another development Wednesday as Delta announced plans to increase its flights from Sea-Tac to 120 daily by next summer.

The Atlanta-based airline said it will begin flying from Sea-Tac to five new destinations next spring, Denver, Sacramento, Boise and Ketchikan and Sitka in Alaska. All are cities now served by SeaTac-based Alaska Airlines.

Delta, now Sea-Tac’s second busiest carrier after Alaska, has increased its schedule and market share significantly in the last two years. The airline, for instance, had 47 daily flights to 18 destinations from Sea-Tac in mid-2013. Now Delta has 80 daily departures to 25 destinations from the airport.

Richard Anderson, Delta’s chief executive officer, told employees this week that the airline eventually wants to have 30 gates at Sea-Tac.

Getting that many gates could take years, said Perry Cooper, an airport spokesman. The airport has 79 gates. Delta now has exclusive use of 11 of those gates and shared access to several other gates designated common use gates by the airport. Based on their traffic in the past year, the airport will allow Delta to lease 13 gates next year.

Alaska, which has more than twice the passenger traffic that Delta does at Sea-Tac, now has 31 gates not including the commuter positions for Horizon Air regional aircraft.

Delta has said it wants to make Sea-Tac its West Coast hub for connnecting to international flights. The airline has added several international non-stop destinations at Sea-Tac in recent years. It now flies non-stop to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo’s two airports from Sea-Tac and to London, Amsterdam and Paris from the airport.

Alaska has met the new competition with a host of new flights to U.S. cities it hadn’t formerly served including New Orleans, Tampa, Albuquerque, Detroit and Baltimore.

Delta recently announced that it was establishing a new Pacific Northwest regional office in Bellevue’s Puget Sound Energy Building. A staff of two dozen will be housed at that site. Delta has some 3,000 employes in the Puget Sound area.

In other news Wednesday, airline industry sources said Delta will order 50 new long-haul jets from Europe’s Airbus instead of Boeing. The airline reportedly ordered 25 Airbus A350-900s and 25 A330neos from the planemaker. Boeing had wanted Delta to order its 787-9 instead of the Airbus planes.

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