Passenger Growth Providing Lift for Many Airlines at Sea-Tac

Two airlines experienced triple-digit growth in travelers served last year
Updated: Fri, 09/27/2019 - 12:51

Sea-Tac airport recorded a 33% jump in passengers served between 2014 and last year, with a record 49.8 million passengers traveling through the airport in 2018, but which airlines are experiencing the largest gains in commercial air traffic?

Alaska and Delta airlines, to the surprise of few, are by far the dominant carriers at Sea-Tac ― with Alaska last year serving 24.1 million passengers, up 5.9% from 2017; and Delta serving 11.5 million passengers, up 10.5% from the prior year.

Together, those two airlines accounted for 71.4% of all passenger volume at Sea-Tac in 2018, with Alaska dominating the domestic passenger count and Delta having a commanding lead in the international-passenger sector, Sea-Tac data shows. A couple other airlines that might not be on everyone’s radar, however, recorded explosive growth on a percentage basis in 2018.

Leading all airlines at Sea-Tac on that front was Mexican carrier Aeromexico Airlines, which saw a 502% jump in passenger traffic last year, to 93,022 passengers served, up from 15,451 the prior year. Norwegian Air also boasted a triple-digit increase in air passengers served out of Sea-Tac over the same period, up 239.3%, from 28,207 to 95,699.

Those big percentage increases are the result of both airlines increasing their foothold at Sea-Tac last year after expanding service to Sea-Tac in 2017. In late 2017, Aeromexico, a Delta partner, launched nonstop flights between Seattle and Mexico City. Norwegian Air also launched nonstop service between Seattle and London in 2017.

Other international carriers boasting double-digit percentage jumps in passengers served between 2017 and 2018 were British airline Virgin Atlantic Airways, up 35.7%, to 142,576 passengers served in 2018; low-cost German airline Eurowings, up 25.7% to 10,838 passengers served; South Korea’s second-largest carrier, Asiana Airlines, up 11.7% to 176,970 passengers served; and South Korea’s largest carrier, Korean Air, up 10% to 147,371 passengers served.

Among the top 10 airlines based on passenger volume at Sea-Tac, low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines boasted the biggest jump in traffic on a percentage basis, up 20.3% between 2017 and last year ― from 505,624 to 608,228 passengers served. The next closest airlines in that group were Delta (at 10.5%) and United Airlines, with a 6% bump in passengers served over the period ― going from 3 million to 3.2 million, ranking it third behind Alaska and Delta in the total passengers-served count last year.

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