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Flying the skies: major airlines are abundant in Alaska, serving major cities statewide and worldwide.

Getting from here to there via Alaska skies has never been so easy, now with a wide selection of world-class airlines from which to choose your travel. Airline companies transiting to, from and via Alaska, connect the state's primary communities to locales ranging from Houston to Hong Kong to Russia's oil-industry hub, Sakhalin Island.

While long-time, local Alaska standbys like PenAir and Era Aviation tie together the internal transportation network, the state is host to a variety of large-scale, external commercial airlines that link Great Lake cities to population centers around the world. These include such familiar names as Air Canada, namesake Alaska Airlines, America West, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, China Airlines, Continental Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Japan Airlines, Sun Country, United Airlines ... and several others.

TERMINAL TRAFFIC AT TED STEVENS

Within the hallways of the north and south terminals at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, the concourses are progressively busier with the hubbub of arriving and departing traffic. Flights are landing and taking off to international and domestic population centers around the globe, with a bevy of airlines keen to offer air transportation via the northern Alaska city of Anchorage, already a critical fuel and cargo stop. Airlines offering Anchorage service include the following growing list of passenger carriers, among others, according to company Web sites and published timetables. In the increasingly streamlined and consolidated world of transportation alliances, note that many carriers operate via code-share and alliance flights with partner airlines. The listing below is not intended as a an official list of all airlines serving the Ted Stevens-Anchorage International Airport, but more a sampling from which to understand the breadth of passenger service available to and from Alaska's largest city.

* Air Canada-Based out of Montreal and known as Canada's largest full-service domestic and international airline, Air Canada connects Anchorage to Seattle and Vancouver with nonstop, daily flights.

* Alaska Airlines-Long considered a primary carrier to and from the Great Land via many U.S. cities, Alaska Airlines serves Anchorage daily with flights from Seattle and the Alaska Panhandle. Lately spreading farther and more frequently into the southern market of Mexico, Alaska Airlines nonetheless remains a backbone carrier in Alaska skies, with dozens of nonstop flights daily to Alaska cities.

* America West-Last summer, the Phoenix-based low-cost airline opened nonstop service between Las Vegas and Anchorage, falling one year after America West had created its popular Phoenix-Anchorage route. "Our new nonstop, daylight flight between Anchorage and Las Vegas is a perfect complement to our Phoenix service ...," said Dion Flannery, vice president, scheduling and route planning, at the time of the route opening. "Additionally, our customers in Las Vegas can conveniently head north and escape the summer heat as they enjoy our full-service amenities and everyday low fares." The airline opened the route with its 124-seat Airbus 319 (A319) aircraft.

* American Airlines-A code-share partner with Alaska Airlines, Texas-based American Airlines, a traditional cornerstone carrier among the large, U.S. airlines, serves Anchorage with available flights to Lower 48 cities, including Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Newark, Palm Springs, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle, according to company route information. Many of those destinations are served seasonally. The American Airlines suite of companies bills itself as the world's largest airline. "American, American Eagle and the AmericanConnection[R] airlines serve 250 cities in more than 40 countries with more than 3,900 daily flights. The combined network fleet numbers more than 1,000 aircraft," according to company information.

* Delta Airlines-Atlanta-based Delta Airlines offers service from Anchorage to Atlanta, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Orlando, Portland, Salt Lake City and Seattle.

* China Airlines-Founded in 1959, China Airlines has 9,900 employees, 66 aircraft, and flies to 23 countries and 60 city destinations, including Anchorage. The airline operates a flight from Taipei to Anchorage, with connections on to New York City.

* Continental Airlines-The now Texas-based carrier started in 1934 in the Southwest with a single-engine aircraft, according to company information, and now serves the Great Land with seasonal, nonstop service to Detroit from Anchorage, as well as regular service to popular Lower 48 cities like Minneapolis-St. Paul, Houston, New York/Newark, Portland and Seattle.

* Frontier Airlines-Based in Denver, Colo., Frontier Airlines has expanded in recent years from a regional airline to now cornering a significant share of interest in North American cities. "We began service on July 5, 1994, with 180 employees and two Boeing 737200s on routes between Denver, Colo., and Bismarck, Fargo, Grand Forks and Minot, North Dakota," the company Web site reports. "Since then we've grown to be the second-largest carrier out of Denver International Airport, with an average of 250 daily system-wide departures and arrivals. These serve 24 of the top 25 destinations out of Denver. Our team now numbers around 4,800 Frontier employees in cities throughout North America." Frontier Airlines serves the Alaska city of Anchorage with daily 5.25-hour flights from Denver.

* Northwest Airlines-Founded in 1926, flying airmail from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Chicago via two rented, open-cockpit biplanes, Northwest Airlines has a considerable history serving Alaska's largest city. As early as 1995, Northwest and Alaska Airlines entered into a marketing and code-share agreement that would later be expanded to include the Russian Far East. Northwest Airlines currently serves Anchorage with a variety of flights to Lower 48 cities, including Minneapolis-St. Paul, Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco and others.

* Sun Country Airlines-With corporate headquarters in Mendota Heights, Minn., Sun Country Airlines connects Anchorage and Minneapolis a typical five days per week.

* United Airlines-Via its "friendly skies," United Airlines offers services between Anchorage and cities like Denver, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, New York, and Vancouver, B.C., with most nonstop service.

FLYING FAIRBANKS

As with Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, the Fairbanks International Airport is owned and operated by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. The Fairbanks International Airport saw 7,374 jet landings during fiscal year 2005 with 464,000-plus passengers deplaning, according to the airport's comparative statistical report.

The airport has seen two major spurts of growth, according to state analysts, first during the trans-Alaska oil pipeline construction and later as the site's potential as a strategic fuel and cargo logistical center was realized by many international carriers. In addition to serving as the hub for passenger traffic into the oil fields and Interior, Fairbanks is attracting a growing share of the tourism market, as well. As a result, travelers are finding more and more options for flying into and out of the northern city.

In addition to a fleet of local, regional operators, Fairbanks International Airport is served by several of the heavy-hitter national passenger carriers, including daily Alaska Airlines service connecting the city to Anchorage, Seattle and connections beyond, like Portland and Los Angeles; daily service to Minneapolis via Northwest Airlines; and daily service to Salt Lake City with Delta Airlines.

SERVING SOUTHEAST

Alaska Airlines offers Juneau access to its variety of alliance and code-share partners, with several daily flights linking the capital city to the Lower 48 and other Alaska cities. This includes seven daily flights to Seattle, according to the company's current timetable.

Alaska Airlines further serves the length of Southeast, including regular north-south flights to Petersburg, Sitka, Wrangell and Ketchikan.
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Author:Colby, Nicole A. Bonham
Publication:Alaska Business Monthly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2006
Words:1204
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