Alaska Airlines Bets On Anchorage With New Route To Utah

Alaska Airlines has revealed a new route connecting its hub in Anchorage, Alaska, with Salt Lake City, Utah. Operating on weekend services from next June, the carrier will connect Anchorage to the Delta fortress hub in a bid to continue expanding the carrier’s reach across the US.

Alaska Getty
Alaska Airlines is adding a new route from Anchorage to Salt Lake City. Photo: Getty Images

Alaska’s new route from Anchorage

Alaska Airlines will start a new nonstop service from Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) to Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) from June 18th. Operating on Saturdays and Sundays, the flight will run with the following schedule (all times are local):

  • Flights depart ANC at 12:40 and arrive in SLC at 19:10
  • Flights depart SLC at 08:30 and arrive in ANC at 11:10

Brett Catlin, vice president of network and alliances at Alaska Airlines, stated the following on the new route:

“Adding Salt Lake City to our nonstop service out of Anchorage completes our goal of serving the top 10 U.S. travel markets from our hub in Alaska. We’re committed to keeping Alaska and our guests connected across our network, and with our new oneworld membership, Alaskans can take advantage of more than 1,000 global destinations served by our partners.”

Alaska Airlines
A 737-900 will connect the two cities. Photo: Getty Images

Meanwhile, Marilyn Romano, Alaska Airlines’ regional vice president, stated the following:

“We’re ready to welcome new and returning guests from the Salt Lake City area, as we provide Alaskans more nonstop options than ever before. Once in this great state, our massive network stretching across Alaska gives visitors and locals the opportunity to enjoy all there is to offer – hiking, fishing, the Northern Lights, sightseeing and more.”

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The aircraft

Alaska Airlines will fly a Boeing 737-900ER on the route. This is one of the backbones of Alaska’s fleet. These planes have room for 178 passengers. This is split between 16 recliner-style first class seats, 24 extra-legroom economy seats, and 138 standard economy seats. All passengers will be able to access power and WiFi.

Alaska Airlines has chosen not to put seatback entertainment on its aircraft. Instead, passengers will need to stream entertainment on their own devices. This is where power outlets will come in handy.

Alaska Airlines Bets On Anchorage With New Route To Utah
The Boeing 737 is the backbone of Alaska’s narrowbody fleet. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Expanding out of Anchorage

Alaska’s network to the lower 48 US states continues to grow from Anchorage. Along with Salt Lake, the airline will offer flights to Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver, Minneapolis, and Chicago. These flights are all served with varying equipment, frequencies, and schedules. It also has flights to Honolulu and Maui.

Some of these are routes to Alaska hubs where the carrier can offer connections. This includes Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. In addition, it also serves partner hubs in Chicago and Phoenix, where, onboard American Airlines, passengers can fly to points across the United States.

Salt Lake City and Minneapolis are two large Delta hubs. In fact, Delta even plans to fly daily flights from Salt Lake City to Anchorage next year. However, Delta is more about taking connecting customers from across the US to Anchorage. Alaska will target more of Salt Lake City’s origination market.

Alaska Airlines Bets On Anchorage With New Route To Utah
Alaska’s route map to the lower 48 out of Anchorage. Photo: Alaska Airlines

Nevertheless, Alaska is adding a route to another Delta hub. Earlier this year, the carrier added new nonstop service between Anchorage and Minneapolis. This came shortly after Delta announced a large expansion to Alaska.

However, there is somewhat of a strategic play from Alaska. Anchorage is a difficult market to serve. A flight to a city like New York, for example, can take around seven hours of flying time, which is longer than some routes to Europe. In summer 2021, several airlines added new nonstop services to Alaska or upgauged existing routes.

Next summer, however, several of those routes are off the books. No airline has scheduled nonstop service from the New York area to Anchorage. American Airlines, which previously flew Boeing 787s to Alaska this summer, is back to the Airbus A321neo next year. While things may change, summer 2022 looks like it will have less capacity from major US airlines than it did this year.

This puts Alaska in a position to benefit. The carrier can capture some significant connecting demand through its hub in Seattle. While there may be less demand next year than in 2021, Alaska has historically been able to hold its own with returning demand. Not to mention, there are plenty of reasons to visit the state.

However, there are only so many connections Alaska can facilitate through its hubs. So, adding a route to a city like Salt Lake alleviates some of that connecting pressure. Alaska will be targeting more origination and destination demand in Salt Lake City since connecting opportunities will be quite limited.

Alaska is making a bet on Anchorage, and time will tell if it pays off.

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