Airlines have been scrambling to make up for lost revenue and to get more people on board with their business.
In recent years, a number of large carriers have closed their doors or shifted their flight plans to Alaska, a major commercial and tourism destination.
The airline industry is expected to report a $5 billion loss for 2016, down from $14 billion a year ago.
However, some analysts believe that Alaska Airlines has made a good first impression and is a strong candidate for the second year in a row to become a regional carrier.
Alaska Airlines is still seeking to fill the void left by Delta and Frontier after the two large carriers decided to close operations.
Alaska has announced plans to expand its service to Hawaii and South Dakota, as well as expanding flights to Hawaii’s Maui, Oahu, and Lanai islands.
“The Alaska Airlines fleet has been strong for years and is already well established and growing.
I expect Alaska to continue to grow in the near future, which should benefit the airline industry as a whole,” said Scott Anderson, an analyst at Piper Jaffray.
Alaska will continue to serve customers in Alaska, Puerto Rico, Guam, and U.S. territories.
In 2017, Alaska Airlines expects to serve 2 million travelers annually, with more than 100,000 of those flights to be on its Hawaiian and Puerto Rico routes.
The carrier will also expand its offerings to Hawaii in 2018, and the U.P.A. territory in 2019.
“I think Alaska Airlines can become a very important player in the region, and it will be interesting to see how it operates,” Anderson said.
Alaska’s flight to Hawaii is expected for the start of 2019, according to the airline’s press release.
The flight to Guam will be made in 2019 and will serve about 60,000 people annually, the release states.
Alaska is expected do well in its first year as a regional airline, as the airline expects to add about 7,000 passengers a day to the service.
“Alaska has been able to build a loyal customer base, but the challenges that remain include reopening its existing hubs in Guam and Hawaii,” said Dan Tice, a senior vice president at research firm AviationWeek.
“However, if Alaska continues to perform as it has in recent years and if it continues to expand, I expect it to be a strong performer in 2017.”
Alaska’s first year will also include a flight from the San Juan Islands to the Hawaiian Islands.
Alaska currently operates flights to Alaska’s mainland and to Guam, Hawaii, and Puerto Rica.
“We are very excited to be joining the regional marketplace with Alaska, which is expected be a success,” said Shannon McCausland, Alaska’s vice president of regional operations.