Salt Lake City growth depends on performance: Alaska

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Alaska Airlines is focused on developing its seven new routes from Salt Lake City International airport before any additional expansion, says manager of network planning Benjamin Brookman.

The Seattle-based carrier launched service from the Utah capital to Boise, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Portland (Oregon), San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose (California) earlier in June, which represented a more than six-fold increase from the two daily flights to Seattle/Tacoma it had to the city.

“[Salt Lake City] was one of the biggest holes in the network before we launched Seattle service,” says Brookman on the sidelines of the Airports Council International North America (ACI-NA) Jumpstart conference in Edmonton today.

Alaska entered the Salt Lake City-Seattle/Tacoma market in April 2013.

Possible expansion from Salt Lake City could include additional frequencies – all of its routes operate once or twice daily except for Seattle – or new destinations, says Brookman. However, he reiterates that the airline’s focus is on developing its existing portfolio of markets and growing in its Pacific Northwest stronghold.

Alaska recently announced plans to increase its Seattle schedule by 11% - to 280 departures from 253 – by adding additional frequencies in many core markets from March 2015. It has also been adding new mid-continental and trans-continental routes from the city, including to New Orleans and Tampa.

Brandon Pedersen, chief financial officer of Alaska, said in March that Salt Lake City was “doing well already” in terms of the performance on both its existing and planned routes from the city.