Alaska Air traffic up 12 percent in October

Passenger traffic for SeaTac-based Alaska Air Group grew at a robust 12 percent rate in October, the airline holding company reported Tuesday.

That increase came in spite of new competition from Sea-Tac Airport’s second-busiest carrier, Delta Air Lines. Alaska’s two carriers, Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, are the busiest at Sea-Tac, with just over 50 percent of the airport’s passenger traffic combined.

Alaska’s increase was propelled by growth in the company’s fleet both in airplane capacity and in numbers. The airline has added 10 new nonstop routes in the last 12 months.

Most major airlines this year are reporting more modest growth in the 3 to 4 percent range as they attempt to keep the lid on overcapacity and the fare wars it causes.

While Alaska reported 12 percent growth in passenger traffic, its capacity grew even more quickly, 12.9 percent in October. That resulted in Alaska planes being slightly less full last month. The airline holding company filled 82.3 percent of its seats with paying passengers last month, compared with 83 percent a year earlier.

John Gillie: 253-597-8663