Plane ownership will rise slowly

PHOTO/Lisa Seifert/For the Journal
Anchorage’s general aviation fleet should rise by about 1,000 aircraft by 2020, but slightly fewer people per capita will own private airplanes by then, according to a new study by the state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

State officials are forecasting an increase of general aviation aircraft from 4,027 in 2000 to 4,985 in 2020, an increase of just over 1 percent annually. Registered aircraft per 1,000 Anchorage residents will decrease slightly, from 15.5 to 15 people who own airplanes, according to the state’s Area General Aviation System Plan.

The plan, which is still in draft form, will be used by state and Federal Aviation Administration officials to identify needs for general aviation facilities and services in the Anchorage area.

The study was funded by a $450,000 federal grant. The system plan began in 1998.

A final report is due out this year, said Diana Rigg, a state transportation planner in Anchorage.

General aviation is defined as aircraft other than military or commercial scheduled operations. Types of aircraft used in general aviation range from corporate multiengine jets to ultralights.

Anchorage accounts for 39.4 percent of the state’s 10,237 general aviation aircraft. Alaska’s largest city currently makes up 1.8 percent of the nation’s 221,213 general aviation aircraft, according to the study.

The number of general aviation aircraft in Anchorage grew from 2,994 in 1980 to 4,027 in 2000. But the percentage of Anchorage-based aircraft slid from 41.8 percent in 1980 to 39.4 percent in 2000, the study said.

In 1980, there were 210,300 registered general aviation aircraft in the United States. At that time, Anchorage made up 1.4 percent of the total, compared to 1.8 percent in 2000, the study said.

Aircraft ownership in Anchorage has fluctuated from a high of 17.2 registered aircraft per 1,000 people in 1980 to a low of 13.9 per 1,000 residents in 1996, the study said.

04/14/2002 - 8:00pm