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Delta to resume service to Juneau

Flights to and from Seattle to begin in May 2014

Posted: December 16, 2013 - 5:25pm  |  Updated: December 17, 2013 - 1:06am
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An Alaska Airlines jet takes off at the Juneau International Airport on Monday. Delta Airlines has announced they will start service in Juneau.  Michael Penn | Juneau Empire
Michael Penn | Juneau Empire
An Alaska Airlines jet takes off at the Juneau International Airport on Monday. Delta Airlines has announced they will start service in Juneau.

Delta Air Lines will begin daily, seasonal service from Seattle to Juneau in the coming year, company spokesman Anthony Black confirmed. One Boeing 737-800 will fly the route each day, Black said.

Flights to and from Juneau are available now on the Delta website, delta.com. The first scheduled flight to Juneau from Seattle is 6:45 p.m. Thursday, May 29, 2014, according to the website’s “Book a Trip” tool.

Juneau International Airport deputy manager Marc Cheatham said he found out about Delta’s plans Monday, after being out sick the week before, and didn’t know any details.

“If you go online and try to purchase a ticket from Delta, it is currently available,” Cheatham said.

Airport manager Patricia deLeBruere is out of the office for the week and could not comment. Cheatham said their alternating schedules were such that deLeBruere “hasn’t had time to relay the information” from Delta, if she has any. As far as Cheatham knows, he said, the airline has not contacted the airport about flying in and out of Juneau.

The Federal Aviation Administration requires the Juneau airport to let in any airline that wants to operate there, Cheatham said. But “there are a lot of logistical things that need to be taken into account” when a new airline comes to town, he said.

“You have to take into account gate space, you have to take into account terminal space,” Cheatham said. “I’m sure these things will be ironed out as we get closer, but as soon as I heard it, I thought, ‘Wow, that’s great news but I wish they would have given us a memo.’”

Alaska Airlines, which has for years had a monopoly on the Seattle-Juneau route, is a partner of Delta, sharing a frequent flier mileage program and some flights. Alaska Airlines spokeswoman Bobbie Egan said Delta’s expansion to Juneau skies will not affect the companies’ partnership.

“When it makes sense, we compete; in other places, we have a partnership,” Egan said.

Alaska Airlines has carved out a loyal customer base in Juneau, where it has operated since the 1930s, Egan said. That won’t change any time soon, she said.

“We’ve served Juneau nonstop for decades,” Egan said. “Oftentimes, we were the only airline that could access the state’s capital when other airlines canceled their flights. We get Alaska, and we’re unique in that respect.”

Delta’s plans for Juneau are part of a larger goal to expand the company’s national and international reach out of Seattle, as announced in early November with new flights from San Diego and Portland, Ore. Juneau customers will be linked with Asian and European destinations via the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Black said.

The company announced earlier this month it will begin daily flights from Seattle to Fairbanks International Airport and Vancouver International Airport, also starting May 29. According to a Delta news release, the company currently operates 35 daily departures to 15 cities from Seattle.

• Contact reporter Katie Moritz at 523-2294 or at katherine.moritz@juneauempire.com.

Follow her on Twitter @katecmoritz.

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