Ketchikan International Airport

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Ketchikan International Airport
Airport typePublic
OwnerState of Alaska DOT&PF – Southeastern Region
ServesKetchikan, Alaska
Elevation AMSL92 ft / 28 m
Coordinates55°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
WNW/ESE 9,500 2,896 Water
Statistics (2014)
Aircraft operations15,959
Based aircraft5
The airport terminal

Ketchikan International Airport (IATA: KTN, ICAO: PAKT, FAA 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 Alaska that has no direct road access to the outside world or to the airport.[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 2015–2019, which categorized it as a primary commercial service (nonhub) airport (more than 10,000 enplanements per year) based on 103,136 enplanements in 2012.[5]


Around the World War II era until the early 1970s, longer range land plane air service to Ketchikan including flights to Seattle were operated via an old military airfield located approximately 20 air miles to the south on Annette Island. Aircraft operated into the Annette Island Airport (ANN) for flights in the local southeast Alaska area included the Grumman Goose and Catalina PBY with these amphibian aircraft being utilized to link the airport with the Ketchikan Harbor Seaplane Base. Longer range flights serving Annette Island were operated with Douglas DC-4 prop aircraft flown by Pan American World Airways during the 1940s followed by Douglas DC-6 and Boeing 377 Stratocruiser aircraft. Other service into the Annette Island Airport included Lockheed Constellation propliners flown by Pacific Northern Airlines during the 1950s[6] and Boeing 707 jetliners flown by Pan Am in the early 1960s.[7] In addition, Annette Island was served with Boeing 720 jetliners operated by Pacific Northern and successor Western Airlines later during the 1960s.[8] Alaska Airlines also operated into Annette Island Airport prior to moving its jet service to Ketchikan International Airport with the opening of this new airfield.[9]

The current airport was opened on August 4, 1973, and was dedicated on 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.[10] One of the first airlines to serve the new airport was Alaska Airlines which inaugurated the first jet service from Seattle to Ketchikan International Airport on August 4, 1973, with a Boeing 720 jetliner.[11] Alaska Air primarily operated Boeing 727-100, 727-200 and 737-200 jetliners (including 737 passenger/cargo Combi aircraft) into the airport before switching to later model Boeing 737 jets.[12] Alaska Airlines has flown from the airport for over 40 years and also operated Grumman Goose and Super Catalina amphibian aircraft into the seaplane base serving Ketchikan prior to the opening of the airfield in 1973.[13] Other airlines that operated jet service into the airport in the past included Wien Air Alaska and MarkAir with both air carriers flying Boeing 737 jets as well as Western Airlines operating Boeing 727-200 jetliners.[14]

Facilities and aircraft[edit]

Ketchikan International Airport covers an area of 2,600 acres (1,052 ha) at an elevation of 92 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) and one water runway for seaplanes designated WNW/ESE which measures 9,500 by 1,500 feet (2896 x 457 m).[1]

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 31, 2018, the airport had 15,959 aircraft operations, an average of 44 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: three single-engine, one multi-engine, and one jet.[1]

Ketchikan International Airport Ferry[edit]

One of the two ferries loading passengers in Ketchikan

Because the international airport is on an island separated from Ketchikan a ferry connects the airport to the city, crossing the Tongass Narrows with passengers and vehicles.[15] There are two ferries serving the route between Gravina Island (the airport) and Revillagigedo Island (the city of Ketchikan). There are two departures in every hour in each direction.[16]

Ketchikan is itself on an island unconnected to the mainland. However, it lies on the AK-7 state highway, part of the Alaska Marine Highway.

The attempt to replace this ferry with a bridge became the object of national attention in 2005 that labeled the proposed bridge the "bridge to nowhere."

Proposed road access[edit]

There is no road access between Ketchikan and the airport. A proposed bridge, referred to by its detractors as the "bridge to nowhere" despite its linking the city and its airport, has been designed with an estimated cost of $398 million. After protracted attention to the cost of the bridge, the U.S. federal government reversed its decision to fund the bridge in 2007. The money was transferred to the state of Alaska to determine the use of the funds.[17]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Alaska Airlines Juneau, Seattle/Tacoma, Sitka, Wrangell
Delta Connection Seasonal: Seattle/Tacoma
Island Air Express[18] Klawock

Alaska Airlines flies Boeing 737-700 and 737-800 jetliners into the airport. Delta operates their flights under the Delta Connection banner via SkyWest Airlines, which flies Embraer ERJ-175 regional jets into the airport on a code sharing basis on behalf of Delta.[19] Alaska Airlines' flights include Boeing 737-700 passenger as well as converted all-cargo Boeing 737-700F jet freighter service.[20]


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

Alaska Airlines operates Boeing 737-700 jet freighters into the airport as well with service to Anchorage, Juneau, Seattle and Sitka.[21]

Charter airlines[edit]

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


Top destinations[edit]

Busiest domestic routes out of KTN
(December 2019 - November 2020)[22]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Seattle/Tacoma, WA 41,430 Alaska, Delta
2 Klawock, AK 8,730 Island
3 Anchorage, AK 8,120 Alaska
4 Juneau, AK 7,800 Alaska
5 Wrangell, AK 1,650 Alaska
6 Sitka, AK 1,580 Alaska
7 Petersburg, AK 1,090 Alaska

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • An Alaska Airlines Boeing 727-100 overran the southern end of the runway on April 5, 1976, in rainy weather. The aircraft landed long and too fast. Combined with the sluggish braking from the weather, the pilot decided to perform a go around, even through this was not permitted after the thrust reversers had been deployed. The thrust reversers on the engines didn't fully disengage, so the engines did not produce enough thrust 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 on board died. The 727 trijet subsequently caught fire and was destroyed.[23]
  • An Aero Vodochody L-39MS high performance jet trainer 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.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d FAA Airport Form 5010 for KTN PDF. Federal Aviation Administration. effective May 31, 2012.
  2. ^ Taxpayers for Common Sense (August 22, 2005). "$315 Million Bridge to Nowhere". Archived from the original (PDF) on November 2, 2006. Retrieved November 6, 2006. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ "Enplanements for CY 2008" (PDF, 1.0 MB). Federal Aviation Administration. December 18, 2009.
  4. ^ "Enplanements for CY 2010" (PDF, 189 KB). Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2011.
  5. ^ "Appendix A: List of NPIAS Airports with 5-Year Forecast Activity and Development Estimate" (PDF). National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) Report. Federal Aviation Administration. Archived from the original (PDF, 7.89 MB) on February 22, 2016. Retrieved May 23, 2016.
  6. ^, Sept. 2, 1958 Pacific Northern Airlines system timetable
  7. ^, Nov. 1, 1947 & Aug. 1, 1963 Pan American World Airways system timetables
  8. ^, Oct. 1, 1965; Aug. 1, 1967 Pacific Northern Airlines system timetables & Aug. 1, 1968 Western Airlines system timetable
  9. ^ "Alaska Airlines" by Cliff & Nancy Hollenbeck,
  10. ^ "Ketchikan International Airport History". Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved November 21, 2010.
  11. ^ "Alaska Airlines" by Cliff & Nancy Hollenbeck, page 143
  12. ^, Feb. 1, 1975 Alaska Airlines system timetable
  13. ^, June 1, 1969 & Sept. 14, 1970 Alaska Airlines system timetables
  14. ^, July 1, 1983 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Seattle-Ketchikan schedules
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 1, 2011. Retrieved March 8, 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Ketchikan Gateway Borough
  16. ^ "Airport Ferry | Ketchikan Gateway Borough, AK - Official Website".
  17. ^ "Alaska ends plan for 'Bridge to Nowhere'". NBC News. September 21, 2007. Retrieved November 21, 2010.
  18. ^ "Island Air Express". Archived from the original on May 14, 2011.
  19. ^ "FlightAware - Flight Tracker / Flight Status".
  20. ^, Alaska Airlines’ New 737-700 Freighters Provide “Lifeline” For Many Alaska Communities
  21. ^ "Home".
  22. ^ "RITA | BTS | Transtats". Archived from the original on March 15, 2012.
  23. ^ "Aircraft Accident Report. Alaska Airlines, Inc., Boeing 727-81. N124AS, Ketchikan International Airport Ketchikan, Alaska, April 5, 1976" (PDF). December 22, 1976. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  24. ^ "Upgraded Database System".

External links[edit]