Ketchikan International Airport

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Ketchikan International Airport
Airport type Public
Owner State of Alaska DOT&PF – Southeastern Region
Serves Ketchikan, Alaska
Elevation AMSL 89 ft / 27 m
Coordinates 55°21′15″N 131°42′40″W / 55.35417°N 131.71111°W / 55.35417; -131.71111Coordinates: 55°21′15″N 131°42′40″W / 55.35417°N 131.71111°W / 55.35417; -131.71111
KTN is located in Alaska
Location of airport in Alaska
Direction Length Surface
ft m
11/29 7,500 2,286 Asphalt
Statistics (2011)
Aircraft operations 15,959
Based aircraft 5
The airport terminal

Ketchikan International Airport (IATA: KTNICAO: PAKTFAA LID: KTN) is a state-owned, public-use airport located one nautical mile (2 km) west of the central business district of Ketchikan, a city in Ketchikan Gateway Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska.[1] The airport is located on Gravina Island, just west of Ketchikan on the other side of the Tongass Narrows. Passengers must take a seven-minute[2] ferry ride across the water to get to the airport from the town.

As per Federal Aviation Administration records, the airport had 108,837 passenger boardings (enplanements) in calendar year 2008,[3] 96,996 enplanements in 2009, and 100,138 in 2010.[4] It is included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015, which categorized it as a primary commercial service airport (more than 10,000 enplanements per year).[5]


Around the World War II era, air service to Ketchikan was possible using an old military airfield on Annette Island. Aircraft used in that era included the Grumman Goose and Catalina PBY. The current airport was opened on August 4, 1973 and dedicated the following day. The airport opening was the culmination of an effort by local residents, a 1965 study by the Alaska State Division of Aviation, another study in 1967 choosing the current site on Gravina Island, and land clearing in 1969.[6]

Facilities and aircraft[edit]

Ketchikan International Airport covers an area of 2,600 acres (1,052 ha) at an elevation of 89 feet (27 m) above mean sea level. It has one asphalt paved runway designated 11/29 which measures 7,500 by 150 feet (2,286 x 46 m).

In 2004, a new taxiway "Bravo" was added to facilitate taxiing to the end of the frequently used runway 11 (the runway is located about 30 feet (9.1 m) higher than the apron further up the hillside, requiring long, gently sloped taxiways to either end). Before that taxiway, some smaller planes were allowed to use taxiway "Alpha" to take off and land because it was not worthwhile to backtaxi on the actual runway. In addition this allows the airport's system of taxiways to be used by more than one plane at once. More recently the airport is applying to construct another runway on a different heading which is better suited to handle the infamous crosswinds, sometimes up to 90 knots (170 km/h). These winds have been known to blow approaching planes out across Tongass Narrows in certain conditions.

For the 12-month period ending January 1, 2011, the airport had 15,959 aircraft operations, an average of 43 per day: 61% air taxi, 33% scheduled commercial, 5% general aviation, and 1% military. At that time there were five aircraft based at this airport: 60% single-engine, 20% multi-engine, and 20% jet.[1]

Ketchikan International Airport Ferry[edit]

The ferry loading passengers in Ketchikan

Because the international airport is on a sparsely populated island separated from Ketchikan, a ferry connects the airport to the city.[7] The ferry alternately leaves Gravina Island or Revillagigedo Island every fifteen minutes and crosses Tongass Narrows with passengers and freight. The attempt to replace this ferry with a bridge became the object of national attention in 2005 that labeled the bridge the "bridge to nowhere". The ferry is one of three ferries that services Ketchikan daily.[8]

Proposed road access[edit]

Main article: Gravina Island Bridge

There is no road access between Ketchikan and the airport. A bridge, sometimes referred to as the "bridge to nowhere", was proposed costing an estimated $398 million. After protracted attention to the high cost of the bridge, the U.S. federal government changed its original decision to fund the bridge in 2007. The money was transferred to the state of Alaska to determine the use of the funds.[9]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

The following airlines offer scheduled passenger service:

Airlines Destinations
Alaska Airlines Anchorage, Juneau, Seattle/Tacoma, Sitka, Wrangell
Delta Connection Seasonal: Seattle/Tacoma
Promech Air Craig, Hollis, Klawock, Metlakatla, Thorne Bay
Scott Air

Top destinations[edit]

Busiest domestic routes out of KTN
(Dec 2013 - Nov 2014)[10]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Seattle/Tacoma, WA 67,000 Alaska
2 Juneau, AK 16,000 Alaska
3 Anchorage, AK 14,000 Alaska
4 Klawock, AK 7,000 Promech
5 Sitka, AK 4,000 Alaska
6 Wrangell, AK 2,000 Alaska
7 Petersburg, AK 2,000 Alaska
8 Craig, AK 1,000 Promech
9 Thorne Bay, AK 1,000 Promech
10 Hollis, AK 1,000 Promech

Cargo airlines[edit]

Airlines Destinations
Ameriflight Seattle-Boeing, Vancouver
Alaska Central Express (ACE Air Cargo) Anchorage, Juneau, Petersburg, Wrangell

Charter and flightseeing[edit]

  • Family Air Tours
  • Misty Fjords Air
  • Pacific Airways
  • SeaWind Aviation
  • Southeast Aviation


  • An Alaska Airlines Boeing 727-100 overran the southern end of the runway on April 5, 1976. The aircraft was trying to land, but the braking seemed sluggish after the fast landing, so the pilot decided to perform a go around. The thrust reversers on the engines didn't fully disengage, so the engines did not rev up enough to allow a takeoff. The pilot aborted the takeoff and the aircraft overran the runway by 700 feet (210 m). One of the 50 passengers died.
  • An Aero Vodochody L-39MS crashed during approach on January 25, 2006. The aircraft attempted to land in blowing snow and poor visibility, but struck the water three times before regaining some altitude. Witnesses reported hearing the jet's engines stop, then watching it descend into a large lot. The pilot ejected just before the plane crashed into an occupied mobile home, but struck a tree while in his ejection seat.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c FAA Airport Master Record for KTN (Form 5010 PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective May 31, 2012.
  2. ^ Taxpayers for Common Sense (August 22, 2005). "$315 Million Bridge to Nowhere" (PDF). Retrieved November 6, 2006. [dead link]
  3. ^ "Enplanements for CY 2008" (PDF, 1.0 MB). CY 2008 Passenger Boarding and All-Cargo Data. Federal Aviation Administration. December 18, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Enplanements for CY 2010" (PDF, 189 KB). CY 2010 Passenger Boarding and All-Cargo Data. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2011. 
  5. ^ "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A" (PDF, 2.03 MB). National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Ketchikan International Airport History". Retrieved November 21, 2010. 
  7. ^ Ketchikan Gateway Borough
  8. ^ Ketchikan Alaska Ferry Services
  9. ^ "Alaska ends plan for 'Bridge to Nowhere'". MSNBC. September 21, 2007. Retrieved November 21, 2010. 
  10. ^,%20AK:%20Ketchikan%20International&carrier=FACTS
  11. ^

External links[edit]