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Click below for data links:
ASA-2005 9 MTHS
ASA-2005 INTNL 9 MTHS
ASA-2005-01 2004 STATS
ASA-2006-1ST 6 MTHS
ASA-2009-02 ROW 44
ASA-2009-12 3Q STATS
ASA-2009-12 SPONSORS OHNO FOR OLYMPICS
ASA-2011-01-ATW AIRLINE TECHNOLOGY AWARD
ASA-2012-01 2011 PROFIT
ASA-2012-03-A - AVIATION BIOFUELS
ASA-2012-03-B - AVIATION BIOFUELS
ASA-2012-03-C - AVIATION BIOFUELS
ASA-2012-09 - RNP STATUS-A
ASA-2012-09 - RNP STATUS-B
ASA-2012-09 - RNP STATUS-C
ASA-2012-09 - RNP STATUS-D
ASA-2013-01 - UPDATE
ASA-2013-06 - SPIRIT OF THE ISLANDS
ASA-2013-10 - SPLIT SCIMITAR WINGLET
ASA-2014-10 - 737-900ER ORDER-A
ASA-2014-10 - 737-900ER ORDER-B
ASA-2015-01 - Seattle-A
ASA-2015-01 - Seattle-B
ASA-2015-01 - Seattle-C
ASA-2015-01 - Seattle-D
ASA-2015-01 - Seattle-E
ASA-2015-01 - Seattle-F
ASA-2015-01 - Seattle-G
ASA-2015-01 - Seattle-H
ASA-2015-01 - Seattle-I
ASA-2015-01 - Seattle-J
ASA-2015-02 - NEW SEATAC TAX.jpg
ASA-2015-04 - BAGGAGE HANDLER SNOOZER.jpg
ASA-2015-05 - DAL vs ASA SEATAC-A.jpg
ASA-2015-05 - DAL vs ASA SEATAC-B.jpg
ASA-2015-05 - DAL vs ASA SEATAC-C.jpg
ASA-2015-07 - Record 2Q Profit.jpg
ASA-2015-09 - Traffic Aware Planner.jpg
ASA-2015-12 - Biofuel at Sea-Tac-A.jpg
ASA-2015-12 - Biofuel at Sea-Tac-B.jpg
ASA-2016-01 - New Colors.jpg
ASA-2016-03 - Alaska Volcano Eruption.jpg
ASA-2016-04 - Record Quarter Earnings-A.jpg
ASA-2016-04 - Record Quarter Earnings-B.jpg
ASA-2016-04 - Virgin Alaska Merger.jpg
ASA-2016-04 - Virgin America Purchased-A.jpg
ASA-2016-04 - Virgin America Purchased-B.jpg
ASA-2016-04 - Virgin America Purchased-C.jpg
ASA-2016-04 - Virgin America Purchased-D.jpg
ASA-2016-04 - Virgin America Purchased-E.jpg
ASA-2016-04 - Virgin America Purchased-F.jpg
ASA-2016-04 - Virgin America Purchased.jpg
ASA-2017-08 - E175 Alaska Horizon.jpg
ASA-2017-09 - SEATAC Jet City Shutter Geek.jpg
ASA-AD - 2016-05.jpg
ASA-FC Female Captains 2018-04.jpg
ASA-FLIGHT CREW - 2015-02.jpg
ASA-FLT CREW CABIN CREW-2015-02.jpg
ASA-PAPERLESS TRAVEL-A - 2011-12
ASA-PAPERLESS TRAVEL-B - 2011-12
ASA-Route Network - 2016-04
ASA-VISIT CAPE FLATTERY-WA
ASA-VISIT MAZAMA RIDGE-WA
ASA-VISIT MT RAINIER WA B
ASA-VISIT MT RAINIER-WA-A
ASA-VISIT MT SHUKSAN WA - C
ASA-VISIT MT SHUKSAN-WA
ASA-VISIT MT SHUKSAN-WA-A
ASA-VISIT NORTH HEAD WA
ASA-VISIT RUBY BEACH-WA
ASA-VISIT SAN JUAN ISL WA - I
ASA-VISIT SAWTOOTHS IDAHO
ASA-VISIT TULIP FIELDS WA
ASA-VISIT VASHON ISL-WA
ASA-VISIT WA STATE-A
ASA-VISIT WA STATE-B
ASA-VISIT WA STATE-C
ASA-VISIT WASHINGTON STATE
FORMED IN 1932 AS MCGEE AIRWAYS, PROVIDING SERVICE BETWEEN ANCHORAGE AND BRISTOL BAY, ALASKA, WITH A LONE, 3-PASSENGER (PAX) STINSON AIRPLANE. DOMESTIC & INTERNATIONAL, SCHEDULED & CHARTER, PASSENGER & CARGO, JET AIRPLANE SERVICES.
PO BOX 68947
19300 PACIFIC HIGHWAY SOUTH
SEATTLE, WA 98168-0947, USA
USA (United States of America) was established in 1776, it covers an area of 9,363,123 sq km, its population is 280 million, its capital city is Washington DC, and its official language is English.
See video - - "ASA-Welcome to Alaska Airlines" - -#t=16
AUGUST 1995: ALASKA AIRLINES (ASA) HAD AN (FAA), NATIONAL AVIATION SAFETY INSPECTION PROGRAM (NASIP) AUDIT. THE RESULTS WERE OUTSTANDING.
DECEMBER 1995: 1ST VALIDATION FLIGHTS OF SMITHS AEROSPACE, REQUIRED NAVIGATION PERFORMANCE/ACTUAL NAVIGATION PERFORMANCE (RNP)/(ANP), METHODOLOGY, IN JUNEAU DEMONSTRATES THAT DUAL FLIGHT MANAGEMENT COMPUTER SYSTEM (FMCS), INTEGRATED WITH GROUND PROXIMITY SYSTEM (GPS), CAN SAFELY IMPROVE ACCESS TO DIFFICULT, TERRAIN LOCATIONS. NEW ARRIVAL, & DEPARTURE ROUTES, WITH APPROACHES IN LOW VISIBILITY, USING (RNP)/(ANP) = TIME + FUEL SAVINGS. THE SYSTEM IS TO BE EVALUATED OVER THE NEXT 6 MONTHS. IT COMBINES THE ACCURACY OF (GPS) WITH (RNP) CAPABILITY, ALONG WITH (FMCS), AND CAN HELP REDUCE OPERATING COSTS FOR AIRLINES FLYING "ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD."
+2 ORDERS (NOVEMBER 1996 & FEBRUARY 1997) 737-400'S, (ILF) 10 YEAR LEASED, TO 20 EXISTING (ILF) LEASED 737-400'S. BOUGHT 3 1992 737-400'S FROM (ILF) FOR $86 MILLION.
JANUARY 1996: 4TH QUARTER ALASKA AIRLINES (ASA) GROUP = -$7.2 MILLION (-$16.3 MILLION) (NET LOSS) (+55.8%): (ASA) 4TH QUARTER = +$0.8 MILLION (-$3.8 MILLION): +8.8% (RPM) TRAFFIC, +4.8% (ASM) CAPACITY, 62.8% LF LOAD FACTOR (+2.3). (ASA) GROUP 1995 = +$17.3 MILLION (+$22.5 MILLION): +13.1% (RPM), +14.9% (ASM), 10,140 PASSENGERS (PAX), 61.8% LF (-1.0).
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA, TO LOS CABOS & PUERTO VALLARTA (MD-80).
737-400 (PW116), EX-(ICE). 1 MD-83 DELIVERY.
MAY 1996: TO CODE SHARE WITH NORTHWEST AIRLINES (NWA), TO RUSSIA - ANCHORAGE, MAGADAN, KHABAROVSK, VLADIVOSTOK, PETROPAVLOVSK, AND KAMCHATSKI.
1 737-400 (24795), EX-ICELANDAIR (ICE), (PW116). 1 MD-83 DELIVERY.
JUNE 1996: 1ST FLIGHT, SEATTLE TO JUNEAU, USING INTEGRATED, (GPS) GUIDANCE, AS PRIMARY, NAVIGATION SOURCE: 2 HONEYWELL, (GPS) UNITS, AND DUAL, SMITHS INDUSTRIES, (FMC)'S, INSTALLED IN 2 737-400'S = REDUCED FLIGHT TIMES, & FUEL BURN, + SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED, NONPRECISION APPROACH MINIMUMS, AT SEVERAL DESTINATIONS.
2 MD-80'S TO (TWA), AND ALSO 2 ORDERED MD-80'S, TO (TWA).
JULY 1996: JOE RUSZCZYK, ASSISTANT VP MAINTENANCE, RESIGNED TO JOIN (TWA).
SEPTEMBER 1996: JOHN KELLY SAYS $10 MILLION PROGRAM TO MODIFY 2 737-400'S WITH ENHANCED (GPWS) IS TO BE CERTIFIED IN OCTOBER 1996, & INSTALLATION IN 14 737'S, BY FEBRUARY 1997. PILOT (FC) TRAINING TAKES 3 DAYS.
NORDAM HUSHKITS FOR 8 737-200'S, 4 IN 1997, 2 IN 1998, & 2 IN 1999.
OCTOBER 1996: JOHN KELLY CONFIRMS AIRLINE IS STUDYING A ONE-TYPE FLEET.
NEW ROUTE FROM LOS ANGELES (LAX), TO IXTAPA, AND ZIHUATANEJO.
3RD Q = +$32.8 MILLION RECORD! +630 EMPLOYEES IN LAST 12 MONTHS. AIRPLANE UTILIZATION IS 8 TO 11.9 HOURS.
NORDAM HUSHKITS ORDERED FOR 8 737-200'S. $540 MILLION, 12/12 ORDERS 737-400'S (JUNE 1997), TO REPLACE MD-80'S.
NOVEMBER 1996: NEW $8 MILLION, 65,000 SQ FT CARGO FACILITY IN ANCHORAGE, TO OPEN 3RD QUARTER 1997.
APPLIED FOR ANCHORAGE TO YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, RUSSIA.
$60 MILLION, 5 YEAR CONTRACT TO (GE) ENGINE SERVICES, FOR 25 737-400 (CFM56-3)'S.
1 737-400 DELIVERY. 2 MD-82'S (49364, 5) SOLD TO CONTINENTAL AIRLINES (CAL). SOLD MD-82 (49363) TO (CAL).
JANUARY 1997: 4TH QUARTER = +$.31 MILLION (+$.81 MILLION): 66.0% LF LOAD FACTOR (+.5). 1996 = 9.79 BILLION (RPM) (#34 HIGHEST IN WORLD) (+14.6%).
FEBRUARY 1997: 1 737-400 (CFM56-3C1) DELIVERY.
MAY 1997: TO YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK (MD-80) (5TH DESTINATION IN REGION FROM ANCHORAGE).
JUNE 1997: 1 737-490 DELIVERY. 2 MD-83'S (49643; 49658) TO (AMX). 1 MD-83 (JT8D-219) (28885) DELIVERY.
JULY 1997: 2 737-400 DELIVERIES.
AUGUST 1997: CODE SHARE WITH NORTHWEST AIRLINES (NWA), EXTENDED TO RUSSIA.
SEPTEMBER 1997: LOS ANGELES (LAX) TO ZIHUATANEJO/IXTAPA. VANCOUVER TO PHOENIX, LAS VEGAS/SAN FRANCISCO (SFO).
OCTOBER 1997: 10,538 EMPLOYEES, 7,647 (3RD QUARTER).
NOVEMBER 1997: BILL AYER, PRESIDENT, 43 YEARS OLD. JOHN KELLY, CHAIRMAN & CEO. JAY MALONEY, DIRECTOR ENGINEERING, EX-MANAGER, MAINTENANCE PROGRAMS & TECHNICAL PUBLICATIONS.
INTRODUCES E-TICKETING (1ST TO MEXICO AND RUSSIA).
$1 BILLION LAUNCH WITH 10/10 ORDERS 737-900'S, +2 737-400'S AND 3 737-700'S. ALL FUTURE -700'S CHANGED TO -900'S.
DECEMBER 1997: COMPLETED HUSHKITS ON 8 737-200'S. NOW ALL FLEET IS AT STAGE 3.
JANUARY 1998: 4TH QUARTER = +$15.1 MILLION RECORD (-$5.6 MILLION). 1997 = $72.4 MILLION RECORD! (+$38 MILLLION): 10.386 BILLION (RPM) (+5.6%), +3.6% (ASM), 67.3% LF (+1.3); 12.3 MILLION (PAX). USA MARKET SHARE 1997 = 1.71% (RPM), 12TH LF.
LAS VEGAS - ANCHORAGE.
(http://www.alaskaair.com). 8,236 EMPLOYEES.
1 737-400 (25100), EX-(ILF).
FEBRUARY 1998: 2 737-490'S (28888, 3000-28889) DELIVERIES.
APRIL 1998: +2 ORDERS 737-400'S, BABCOCK & BROWN (BBB) LEASED.
MAY 1998: WILLIAM WEAVER, STAFF VP MAINTENANCE & ENGINEERING. JOHN FOWLER, EXECUTIVE VP TECHNICAL OPERATIONS & SYSTEMS CONTROL.
SPOKANE - LOS ANGELES (LAX).
1 737-400 (CFM56-3C-1) DELIVERY. $425 MILLION +1 ORDER 737-400 & 5 ORDERS (1999) 737-700'S. NOW HAS 50 737'S ON ORDER & OPTION. IF OPTIONS ARE EXERCISED, FLEET WILL GROW 63% FROM 80 TO 130 AIRPLANES, IN 6 YEARS. NOW HAS THE YOUNGEST USA FLEET, AVERAGING 7.6 YEARS OF AGE. 3 MD-83'S TO (TWA).
JUNE 1998: DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (DOT) OK'S EXEMPTION, LOS ANGELES (LAX) - LA PAZ, MEXICO. SAN FRANCISCO (SFO) TO ANCHORAGE. JUNEAU - GUSTAVUS. SEATTLE - SITKA. LOS ANGELES (LAX) - ANCHORAGE. SEATTLE - FAIRBANKS. PORTLAND - ANCHORAGE. ANCHORAGE - PETROPAVLOVSK - YUZHNO - VLADIVOSTOK.
5 737-400'S DELIVERIES.
JULY 1998: 1997 TOP WORLD AIRLINES COMPARISONS:
NET ($ MILLION): 19 CAT 219 (493); 20 QAN 198 (186); 21 GUN 137 (87): 22 ASA 127 (75); 23 IBE 110 (23); 24 ANZ 105 (150).
PASSENGERS (PAX) (MILLION): 16 QAN 19; 17 AMW 18; 18 JAS 17; 19 IBE 15; 20 GUN 15; 21 TII 15; 22 KLM 15; 23 ACN 14; 24 ANS 13; 25 ASA 12.
NORTH AMERICA (NA) 1997 COMPARISON TRAFFIC (RPK) (BILLION):
1 UAL 195; 2 AAL 172; 3 DAL 160; 4 NWA 116; 5 CAL 77; 6 USA 67; 7 SWA 46; 8 TWA 40; 9 ACN 37; 10 AMW 26; 11 CDI 26; 12 ASA 17.
SEPTEMBER 1998: MD-82 (49925), LEASED TO (TWA).
OCTOBER 1998: 12 MONTHS END 1998-09 USA AIRLINES TRAFFIC RPM BILLION:
1 UAL 123.3 2 AAL 108.3; 3 DAL 102.6; 4 NWA 67.6; 5 CAL 49.7; 6 USA
41.1; 7 SWA 29.7; 8 TWA 25.0; 9 AMW 16.2; 10 ASA 11.0.
SEATTLE - PALM SPRINGS. PORTLAND/SAN JOSE - PALM SPRINGS; PHOENIX/SAN JOSE - PUERTO VALLARTA/LOS CABO.
DECEMBER 1998: VANCOUVER BRITISH COLUMBIA, NONSTOP TO PALM SPRINGS (737-400).
JANUARY 1999: (ASA) GROUP 4TH QUARTER = +$27 MILLION (+5.9%) (+$15.1 MILLION), FUEL COSTS -$10.7 MILLION. (ASA) GROUP 1998 = +$124.4 MILLION (+$72.4 MILLION); -$41.1 MILLION FUEL COSTS; MAINTENANCE COSTS $120.9 MILLION ($108.7 MILLION): 11.27 BILLION (RPM) (+8.7%); +8.9% (ASM); 67.1% LF (-.2); 13.06 MILLION (PAX) (12.28 MILLION); 1.20 BILLION (FTM) (+8.1%).
EMPLOYEES WILL SHARE RECORD $23.2 MILLION, PROFIT-SHARING PAYOUT.
FEBRUARY 1999: CODE SHARE WITH CONTINENTAL AIRLINES (CAL).
737-490 (28895, N708AS) DELIVERY. MD-82 (49104) RETURNED TO LESSOR, LEASED TO SPIRIT (SPR).
MARCH 1999: CODE SHARE WITH CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL (CDI), PROMOTES 25 TRANSBORDER, & DOMESTIC FLIGHTS.
737-490 (28896, N709AS) DELIVERY. 1 MD-83 SOLD TO SPANAIR (SPP).
APRIL 1999: 6,477 EMPLOYEES.
MAY 1999: 8,710 EMPLOYEES.
JUNE 1999: CODE SHARE WITH CONTINENTAL AIRLINES (CAL), SAN DIEGO - MEXICO CITY.
1998 TOP WORLD AIRLINES TRAFFIC (RPM) (BILLION):
26 AMW 16.36; 27 VAR 16.25; 28 SAS 12.98; 29 CHI 12.64; 30 VAA 12.27; 31 SVA 11.69; 32 ASA 11.27; 33 ANZ 11.15; 34 ANS 10.14; 35 SAA 9.85; 36 SAB 9.53.
AUGUST 1999: TO MAZATLAN (MD-83) IN 11/99, ON SEASONAL BASIS.
1ST 737-790 (29752, N609AS) DELIVERY.
SEPTEMBER 1999: SIGNS DEAL FOR LIVETV, BY INSTALLATION OF SATELLITE, ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM, WITH LIVE PROGRAMMING, FROM DIRECTV INCORPORATED. TRIAL ON 737-400, IN NEXT 2000-03. LIVETV, IS A JOINT VENTURE, BETWEEN SEXTANT IN-FLIGHT SYSTEMS, AND HARRIS CORPORATION.
MD-83 (53052, N942AS), RETURNED TO (ILF).
OCTOBER 1999: 737-790 (29753, N611AS) DELIVERY.
NOVEMBER 1999: BOOSTS ITS 737-200C ALL-CARGO FREIGHTER SERVICE, SEATTLE TO ANCHORAGE, & ANCHORAGE TO JUNEAU, BASING 6, OF 8 737-200'S, IN ANCHORAGE, OVERNIGHT. THE 737-200 FREIGHTERS, CAN HANDLE UP TO 6 "A" CONTAINERS, WITH 30,000 LBS PAYLOAD.
WILLIAM WEAVER, VP MAINTENANCE & ENGINEERING.
2 737-790'S (30162, N612AS; 30163, N613AS) DELIVERIES. MD-83 (49657), RETURNED, TO (TWA).
DECEMBER 1999: 8,787 EMPLOYEES (INCLUDING 1,150 FLIGHT CREW (FC).
IN 2000-06, CHICAGO - ANCHORAGE/FAIRBANKS (737-700).
"INFORMATIONWEEK" RANKS ALASKA AIRLINES (ASA), AS HIGHEST RANKED AIRLINE, IN "INNOVATIVE ELECTRONIC BUSINESSES." (ASA) IS REGARDED AS 1ST AIRLINE TO SELL TICKETS ONLINE, AND ALLOW FLIGHT CHECK-IN, THROUGH AIRPORT KIOSKS.
+2 ORDERS 737-790'S. MD-82 (48079) RETURNED TO GATX (GAX) LEASING.
JANUARY 2000: 4TH QUARTER = +$17 MILLION (+$27 MILLION): $75 MILLION (+60%) FUEL COSTS; MAINTENANCE EXPENSES = $42.56 MILLION (10.89% DIRECT OPERATING COSTS (DOC). ALASKA AIRLINES (ASA) GROUP 1999 = +$134.2 MILLION (+$124.4 MILLION) RECORD!: 11.78 BILLION (RPM) (+4.4%), +3.2% (ASM), 67.9% LF (+.8); 13.6 MILLION (PAX). USA TRAFFIC MARKET SHARE = 1.9% 10TH (1.9%).
MD-83 (49657) RETURNED, (ILF) LEASED TO (TWA).
ACCDT: ALASKA AIRLINES (ASA) MD-83 (52077, /92), EN-ROUTE, PUERTO VALLARTA, TO SAN FRANCISCO (SFO), CRASHED INTO PACIFIC OCEAN, OFF POINT MAGU, CALIFORNIA = ALL 5 (FC) - (CA)/83 PASSENGERS FATALITIES.
APRIL 2000: TO VANCOUVER. IN 2000-05, TO SITKA, & TO JUNEAU - GUSTAVUS.
MD-82 (48079) RETURNED TO PEGASUS (PSS), LEASED TO AEROMEXICO (AMX).
MAY 2000: RESUMES SERVICE TO TUCSON, NONSTOP.
2 737-790'S (30542, N617AS; 30543, N618AS), DELIVERIES.
JUNE 2000: (FAA) THREATENS TO SUSPEND ALASKA AIRLINES (ASA)'S HEAVY MAINTENANCE AUTHORITY, UNLESS EXTENSIVE RECORD KEEPING PROBLEMS, FOUND DURING A RECENT AUDIT, HAVE BEEN ADDRESSED, AND CORRECTED.
9,310 EMPLOYEES (INCLUDING 1,207 FLIGHT CREW (FC), 2,251 CABIN ATTENDANTS (CA), & 559 MAINTENANCE TECHNICIANS (MT)).
JOHN FOWLER, EXECUTIVE VP TECHNICAL OPERATIONS & SYSTEMS CONTROLS, TAKES EARLY RETIREMENT.
1 737-790 (30164, N619AS) DELIVERY.
JULY 2000: AFTER (FAA) EXTENSIVE SAFETY AUDIT OF ALASKA AIRLINES (ASA), TO THEN DO SAME OF (UAL), (AMW), (CAL), (DAL), (NWA), (TWA), (AAL), (SWA), & (USA).
1999 TOP WORLD AIRLINES COMPARISONS:
NET PROFIT ($ MILLION): 14 USA 273; 15 KAL 226; 16 SAS 217; 17 AMW 201; 18 ASA 196; 19 JAL 187; 20 SWS 171.
MICHAEL COHEN, SENIOR VP MAINTENANCE & ENGINEERING. DAVID PREWITT, VP SAFETY EX-(TWA) VP CORPORATE SAFETY. JAY MALONEY, DIRECTOR ENGINEERING, RESIGNS TO JOIN BOEING CUSTOMER SERVICE, AS SENIOR MANAGER, MAINTENANCE ENGINEERING TECHNICAL SERVICES GROUP.
AUGUST 2000: 9,310 EMPLOYEES.
1999 = +$119.45 MILLION (+$116.5 MILLION): 18.95 BILLION (RPK) (+4.4%); 67.9% LF; 92.14 MILLION (FTK) (-4.3%) 13.62 MILLION (PAX) (+4.3%); 9,183 EMPLOYEES (+5.5%).
SEPTEMBER 2000: ROBERT REEDER, SENIOR VP INFORMATION & COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES.
"TRAVEL & LEISURE" MAGAZINE, FOR 5TH YEAR IN A ROW, VOTES ALASKA AIRLINES (ASA) AS "BEST MAJOR USA CARRIER."
1999 TOP USA AIRLINES FROM INTERNET REVENUE (MILLION):
1 SWA 877; 2 DAL 671; 3 UAL 505; 4 USA 450; 5 AAL 416; 6 CAL 408; 7 NWA 402; 8 AMW 223; 9 ASA 143; 10 TWA 118.
IN 10/00, LOS ANGELES (LAX) - LA PAZ (3/WEEK).
737-790 (30165, N622AS) DELIVERY.
OCTOBER 2000: TO PALM SPRINGS.
BILL GATES, MICOSOFT HOLDS 5.3% STAKE IN ALASKA AIRLINES (ASA). MICROSOFT OFFERS WIRELESS ACCESS TO alaskaair.com, USING WEB-ENABLED CELL PHONES, AND OTHER WIRELESS HANDHELD DEVICES.
NOVEMBER 2000: 1 737-790 (30166, N623AS) DELIVERY.
DECEMBER 2000: (FAA) FINES ALASKA AIRLINES (ASA) ALMOST $1 MILLION FOR IMPROPER MAINTENANCE.
AGREEMENT WITH EKIOSK CORPORATION, TO INSTALL HIGH SPEED, INTERNET WORKSTATIONS, AT ALASKA AIRLINES (ASA)'S "BOARD ROOM" LOUNGES, AT 5 SITES.
UNVEILED ITS 1ST NEW LIVERY IN 10 YEARS, WITH 737-4Q8 (N774AS "alaskaair.com") PAINTED ENTIRELY IN DARK BLUE, WITH THE WELL-KNOWN ESKIMO FACE ON THE TAIL, PAINTED BY ASSOCIATED PAINTERS, EVERETT, CREATED BY SEATTLE DESIGN GROUP.
1999 INTERNET SALES +200%.
737-790 (30778, N624AS), DELIVERY.
JANUARY 2001: 1999 FUEL COSTS = +$110 MILLION, DESPITE ALASKA AIRLINES (ASA) HAVING ONE OF WORLD'S YOUNGEST FLEETS, AND ALL 94 AIRPLANES ARE EQUIPPED WITH COMPUTERS, THAT HELP FLIGHT CREWS TO DECIDE THE MOST FUEL-EFFICIENT, FLIGHT PLAN.
4TH QUARTER = -$22.5 MILLION: +47% FUEL COSTS, +41% MAINTENANCE COSTS. (ASA) GROUP 2000 = -$70.3 MILLION (+$134.2 MILLION): 11.99 BILLION (RPM) (+1.8), -.2% (ASM), 69.2% LF (+1.3).
2000 TOP WORLD AIRLINES TRAFFIC (RPM) (BILLION):
30 SVA 12.57; 31 EAD 12.06; 32 SAB 12.04; 33 SAA 12.01; 34 ASA 11.98; 35 BEJ 11.26; 36 ANS 10.63; 37 THY 10.25; 38 JAS 9.61.
737-790 (30792, N625AS) DELIVERY.
FEBRUARY 2001: 1ST 737-990 (30013, N305AS) DELIVERY. 1 MD-82 (28080) SOLD. 737-790 (30793, N747AS) DELIVERY.
MARCH 2001: IN 2001-06, SAN FRANCISCO (SFO) TO IXTAPA/ZIHUATANEJO.
FOLLOWING DEMISE OF REEVE ALEUTIAN (RVV), (ASA) RESUMES SERVICE TO RED DOG (A LEAD & ZINC MINE, IN ALASKA, 90 MILES NORTHEAST OF KOTZEBUE) (737-200C, EQUIPPED FOR OPERATIONS ON 6,000 FOOT, GRAVEL RUNWAY) (3 CHARTERS/WEEK).
1 737-2X6C (23124, /84 N747AS), EX-TRANSMILE (TML). 1 737-790 (30794, N627AS) DELIVERY. 1 MD-83 (49233) RETURNED TO LESSOR.
APRIL 2001: NONSTOP ANCHORAGE - LOS ANGELES (LAX).
MAY 2001: (LAUNCH), 1ST 737-900 DELIVERY. FAIRBANKS - PRUDHOE BAY (3/WEEK THROUGH OCTOBER).
JUNE 2001: STARTS $33 MILLION REMODELING AND EXPANSION OF ITS MAINTENANCE HANGAR, ADDING 100,000 SQ FT.
GAINS 2 SLOTS (FROM TWA), AT WASHINGTON NATIONAL, STARTING 2001-10, FOR NONSTOPS TO SEATTLE (737-900, 172 PAX, 2/DAY). SAN FRANCISCO (SFO) TO IXTAPA, ZIHUATANEJO (DAILY NONSTOPS).
1 737-990 (30016, N303AS). 3RD 737-990 DELIVERY (30015, N307AS).
JULY 2001: 1ST 6 MONTHS USA AIRLINES MARKET SHARE (RPM) BILLION:
1 UAL 61.5 (19.1%); 2 AAL 55.9 (17.4%); 3 DAL 52.2 (15.9%); 4 NWA
38.7 (12.1%); 5 CAL 32.2 (10.0%); 6 USA 24.9 (7.7%); 7 SWA 22.5 (7.0%); 8 TWA 12.1 (3.8%); 9 AMW 10.1 (3.1%); 10 ASA 6.2 (1.9%).
IN 2001-10, LOS ANGELES (LAX) - CANCUN (737-700).
737-990 (30857, N309AS) DELIVERY.
AUGUST 2001: SELECTS OAKLAND AS ITS HEAVY MAINTENANCE BASE, FOR 737/MD-80'S. WILL INCREASE OAKLAND STAFF FROM 222, TO 350, BY 2003.
IN 2001-09, PORTLAND - RENO (737-400, 3/WEEK). IN 2001-11, LOS ANGELES (LAX) TO CALGARY (MD-80, DAILY).
9,531 EMPLOYEES (INCLUDING 1,239 FLIGHT CREW (FC); 1,748 CABIN ATTENDANTS (CA); 562 MAINTENANCE TECHNICIANS (MT); 32 GENERAL MANAGEMENT; 669 AIRPLANE/TRAFFIC HANDLING; 64 AIRPLANE CONTROL; 2,697 PASSENGER HANDLING; 1,118 CARGO HANDLING; 56 TRAINEES/INSTRUCTORS; 547 RECORD KEEPING; 55 TRAFFIC SOLICITORS; 744 OTHERS). EMPLOYEE PRODUCTIVITY (ASM/EMPLOYEE): 1,837,053.
TOP 10 ALASKA AIRLINES (ASA) AIRPORTS:
1 SEATTLE SEATAC 8,632; 2 PORTLAND 4,224; 3 ANCHORAGE 1,912; 4 LOS ANGELES (LAX) 1,633; 5 SAN JOSE 1,351; 6 OAKLAND 1,330; 7 SPOKANE 1,283; 8 ORANGE COUNTY 1,199; 9 SAN DIEGO 1,035; 10 SAN FRANCISCO(SFO) 970.
SEPTEMBER 2001: SEATTLE TO PALM SPRINGS. IN 2001-11, LOS ANGELES (LAX) TO CALGARY.
OCTOBER 2001: CODE SHARE WITH HAWAIIAN AIRLINES (HWI), FROM 21 WEST COAST MARKETS, TO HAWAII. TO WASHINGTON DULLES, AND REAGAN NATIONAL NONSTOPS, IN 2001-12 (737-700). SAN JOSE - LOS CABOS/PUERTO VALLARTA, AND SEATTLE - MAZATLAN (SATS).
TOP WORLD AIRLINES 1ST 9 MONTHS TRAFFIC (RPK) (BILLION):
19 AMW 24.20; 20 VAR 19.81; 21 CHI 19.70; 22 SAS 18.17; 23 EAD 17.59; 24 ANA 15.310; 25 ASA 15.308.
DECEMBER 2001: LOS ANGELES (LAX) - CANCUN.
JANUARY 2002: 4TH QUARTER = -$36.4 MILLION (-$28.9 MILLION): -5.6% (RPM); -5.9% (ASM); $52.05 MILLION MAINTENANCE COSTS (-9.7%). ALASKA AIRLINES (ASA) GROUP 2001 = -$11.8 MILLION (-$70.3 MILLION); ASA = -10.11 MILLION (-$64.32 MILLION): 12.25 BILLION (RPM) (+2.2%); +3.5% (ASM); 68.4% LF (-.8); 13.67 MILLION (PAX) (13.52 MILLION);
In 2002-04, TO DENVER, FROM SEATTLE (3/DAY), FROM PORTLAND (2/DAY) & FROM BOISE (1/DAY) (ALL 737-400) AND TO BOSTON FROM SEATTLE (737-700, DAILY).
2001 TOP 50 WORLD AIRLINES - TRAFFIC (BILLION) (RPM):
1 UAL 116.60; 2 AAL 106.15; 3 DAL 97.60; 4 NWA 73.11; 5 BAB 64.24; 6 AFA 59.54; 7 CAL 58.76; 8 DLH 56.76; 9 JAL 50.77; 10 USA 45.93; 11 SWA 44.50; 12 SIA 42.76; 13 QAN 42.14; 14 ACN 41.49; 15 KLM 35.76; 16 ANA 33.16; 17 CAT 27.81; 18 TII 27.43; 19 IBE 25.64; 20 KAL 23.73; 21 ALI 22.45; 22 MAS 22.29; 23 AMW 19.06; 24 VAA 17.65; 25 VAR 16.02; 26 CHI 16.00; 27 EAD 14.37; 28 SAS 14.26; 29 ANZ 13.54; 30 SAA 12.70; 31 SVA 12.56; 32 BEJ 12.39; 33 ASA 12.23; 34 JAS 10.06; 35 THY 9.35; 36 AMX 8.51; 37 PAL 8.36; 38 GIA 8.15; 39 CMA 7.99; 40 ELA 7.79; 41 GUL 7.65; 42 PIA 7.24; 43 AIN 7.10; 44 TAP 6.43; 45 EGP 5.53; 46 OLY 5.24; 47 AUL 5.06; 48 FIN 4.93; 49 IND 4.52; 50 CQT 4.51.
FEBRUARY 2002: IN 2002-04, LOS ANGELES (LAX) - ANCHORAGE.
JOHN KELLY, (CEO), PRESIDENT, & CHAIRMAN OF ALASKA AIR GROUP. BILL AYER, (CEO) & PRESIDENT ALASKA AIRLINES (ASA). GEORGE BAGLEY, EXECUTIVE VP OPERATIONS, EX-PRESIDENT & (CEO), HORIZON AIR.
MICROSOFT CHAIRMAN, BILL GATES NOW OWNS 3% OF ALASKA AIRLINES (ASA) STOCK.
ALASKA AIRLINES (ASA) PROVIDES REAL-TIME FLIGHT INFORMATION AND TRACKING, VIA ITS WEB SITE alaskaair.com, WITH A POP-UP WINDOW WITH A MAP, DISPLAYING THE SELECTED FLIGHT THAT SHOWS THE FLIGHT NUMBER, AIRPLANE TYPE, ACTUAL DEPARTURE TIME, (ETA), AIRPLANE SPEED IN KNOTS, AND ALTITUDE. DATA IS SUPPLIED VIA RLM SOFTWARE'S, FLIGHTVIEW, RADAR-BASED, FLIGHT TRACKING SYSTEM.
MARCH 2002: CODE SHARE WITH LANCHILE (LAN), VANCOUVER TO SANTIAGO, VIA LOS ANGELES (LAX).
APRIL 2002: SATISFACTORILY COMPLETES INDEPENDENT MAINTENANCE SAFETY AUDIT LED BY CONSULTANT JACK ENDERS.
MAY 2002: 70TH ANNIVERSARY! NOW OPERATES 74 737'S AND 24 MD-80'S, SERVES 45 CITIES IN 3 COUNTRIES, OFFERS MORE THAN 500 FLIGHTS/DAY, AND EMPLOYS MORE THAN 10,000 PEOPLE.
+2 ORDERS 737-700'S (2/03).
July 2002: New services to Washington DC, and Denver, are doing quite well, but (ASA) was hurt by a decline in the number of higher-fare, business fliers, from Seattle, to Southern California, and to the Bay area.
August 2002: Donald Garrett, VP Planning. Jeff Jones, VP Technical Support.
Code share with LanChile (LAN), Los Angeles (LAX) - Calgary. In 2002-10, nonstop to Newark and to Miami (both 737-700, daily nonstops).
In 2003-01, Oakland maintenance facility, will open a 2nd "C" check line. Will also start a phased, 32 part, "C" check program, for 737NG airplanes, to be accomplished, during overnight maintenance visits, at Los Angeles (LAX).
September 2002: 737-990 (30019), delivery. MD-82 (49234, N933AS) withdrawn from use (WFU) at Mojave.
October 2002: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has unanimously upheld, (A&P) licence revocations of 2 (ASA) Maintenance Managers, John Nanney & Manuel Diaz, from the (ASA) maintenance center at Oakland, for intentionally falsifying maintenance records. In late 1998, both managers were accused of intentionally falsifying maintenance records, by a lead mechanic at (ASA), John Liotine, who told the (FAA) and the (FBI), that the 2 (ASA) Managers were signing for work, that hadn't been done, or that they weren't authorized to approve. (ASA) disputed Liotine's assertions, calling him a disgruntled worker, with a grudge. He sued for slander, reached a $500,000 out-of-court settlement, and left the airline in 12/01. (ASA) also agreed to pay a $44,000 fine imposed by the (FAA), for violating air-safety regulations. The mechanic's license, of a 3rd (ASA) Maintenance Manager, was suspended for 6 months, as a result of Liotine's allegations.
November 2002: 28-month agreement with AAR Aircraft Services to provide heavy maintenance services, including light and heavy "C" checks, modifications, aircraft upgrades, and exterior and interior refurbishment, for its fleet of 737's and MD-80's.
3 orders (2003-02) 737-700's (30626; 33011; 33012), CIT leased. 737-990 (30017, N302AS), ex-Boeing development program.
December 2002: 2 orders (2003-10) 737-790's (30662; 30663), (ILF) leased. 737-4Q8 (28199, N784AS) special color scheme with new name "Spirit of Disneyland."
January 2003: 4th Quarter Alaska Airlines (ASA) Group = -$43.1 Million (-$37.4 Million). 2002 (ASA) Group = -$118.6 Million (-$11.8 Million): 13.19 Billion (RPM) (+7.6%); +8% (ASM); 68.1% LF (-.3).
In 2003-04, Anchorage - Adak, via King Salmon (737-200).
Alaska Airlines (ASA) wins Air Transport World's "2003 Airline Technology Leadership Award."
Operates its 1st precision approach into San Francisco (SFO) using a Required Navigational Performance (RNP) satellite-based system. Kevin Finan, VP Flight Operations stated "This represents a significant step toward the use of an (RNP) guidance approach in San Francisco to help improve traffic flow when operations ordinarily would be restricted to just one runway."
February 2003: William Ayer, 48, Chairman & (CEO), Alaska Air Group, succeeds John Kelly, 58, who will retire in 2003-05.
Los Angeles (LAX) - Guadalajara (737-400, 138 PAX, nonstop daily). Orlando - Seattle (737-900, daily). In 2003-04, (Anchorage) - King Salmon - Adak Island (2/week).
Began interline e-ticketing with US Airways (USA), Northwest Airlines (NWA), and American Airlines (AAL), enabling customers to use a single e-ticket when their itineraries include travel on both or multi carriers.
737-790 (30795, N644AS) delivery.
March 2003: In 2003-06, Los Angeles - Reno, Anchorage - Vancouver, Seattle - Boise (MD-80, 2/day), Juneau - Gustavus.
737-790 (33011, N645AS), CIT Aerospace (TCI)) leased, and 737-990 (30856, N317AS) deliveries.
April 2003: In 2003-07, Los Angeles - Guadalajara (737-400, daily nonstop).
11,000 employees. (email@example.com).
May 2003: Seattle - Orlando.
737-990 (30018, N318AS) delivery.
June 2003: Seattle - Boise. Prudhoe Bay - Fairbanks - (Anchorage). Portland - Denver/Sacramento.
Defers delivery of 2 737-900's on order from 2004 TO 2/05.
July 2003: Began Los Angeles - Guadalajara (daily nonstops) and same-airplane service Seattle - Guadalajara.
August 2003: In 2003-09, Seattle - Palm Springs. In 2003-10, Spokane - Los Angeles. San Jose - Palm Springs. In 2003-12, Seattle - Long Beach (737-400, 138 PAX/737-700, 120 PAX, 3/day).
September 2003: 1st carrier to offer passengers the (APS) figEplayer, a portable In-flight Entertainment Systems (IFE) system that runs on a hand held device and provides "first run movies not yet available on video" in addition to other audio and video entertainment. To be offered in 2003-10 on all transcontinental flights between Seattle and Newark/New York, Boston, Miami, Orlando and Washington, as well as between Anchorage and Chicago. The units will be available at no charge to 1st-class (F) passengers and "at least 32 units will be available in the main cabin for rental." They may also be reserved in advance via the airline's website.
2002 = -$118.6 Million (-$43.4 Million): 21.23 Billion (RPK) (+7.7%); +8.1% (ASK); 68.1% LF (-.3); 14.2 Million passengers (PAX) (+3.6%); 88 Million (FTK) (-1.1%); 11,039 employees (+.4%).
TOP WORLD AIRLINES TRAFFIC (RPK) (Billion):
28 (VAR) 26.12; 29 (BEJ) 24.00; 30 (SAS) 23.21; 31 (CSR) 22.37; 32 (GUE) 21.90; 33 (ANZ) 21.48; 34 (SAA) 21.28; 35 (ASA) 21.23; 36 (SVA) 20.80; 37 (AAT) 19.93; 38 (EVA) 19.51; 39 (CEA) 18.63; 40 (BRI) 18.43.
737-790 (30662, N648AS), (ILF) leased, and 737-990 (33680, N320AS) delivery. 3 MD-82's (49111; 49386; 49387) WFU at Mojave.
October 2003: San Francisco - Mazatlan (3/week). Seattle, Portland, San Jose - Palm Springs; & Vancouver - Palm Springs (weekends). Seattle - Los Cabos. Seattle - Puerto Vallerta.
November 2003: Frederick Mohr, VP Maintenance & Engineering.
December 2003: Brandon Peterson, Staff VP Finance & Controller.
Seattle - Long Beach (737-400, 12F, 126Y/737-700, 12F, 108Y, daily nonstop). In 2004-02, to code share with American (AAL). In 2004-06, Denver - Anchorage.
January 2004: Andrew Harrison, Managing Director Internal Audit. Matt Yerbic, Managing Director Cargo.
5-year sole external provider, heavy maintenance contract to AAR for Alaska's 27 MD-80's, including letter checks, modifications, airplane upgrades, and exterior & interior refurbishment, at its Oklahoma-based Aircraft Services Division.
4th Quarter (ASA) Group = -$16.1 Million (-$43.1 Million). 2003 = +$13.5 Million: 23.42 Billion (RPK) (+10.4%); 70% LF; 15.05 Million (PAX) (+6.3%); 91.44 Million (FTK) (+14.1%).
February 2004: Code share with American Airlines (AAL), Los Angeles (LAX) markets including Austin, Fort Lauderdale, New York, St Louis, & Washington as well as (LAX) - Hawaii, and Seattle - St Louis. In 4/04, Seattle - Chicago (ORD) (737, 2/day).
737-990 (1454-30021, N323AS) delivery.
April 2004: 11,039 employees.
(DOT) awards Alaska Airlines (ASA) two highly coveted slot exemptions to launch in 2004-06, Reagan Washington National Airport to Los Angeles (737-700, 120 PAX, daily nonstop) and to Seattle (737-700, daily nonstop).
Changes 2 orders 737-900's to 2 737-800's with winglets.
May 2004: Its Safety Division receives (ISO) 9001:2000 certification from BSI, a quality management registrar.
Ben Minicucci, Staff VP Maintenance, ex-Canadian International (CDI)/Air Canada (ACN), Vancouver. Scott Ridge, Managing Director Technical Operations & Support, in the Flight Operations division. Sam Sperry, Director Corporate Communications.
Sitka - Seattle. In 2004-06, Anchorage - Vancouver.
MD-82 (49103) returned to lessor.
June 2004: Implemented Orbitz's Supplier Link technology which will "reduce the airlines' distribution costs." It allows Orbitz to book tickets directly from Alask Airlines (ASA) and bypass Worldspan, Orbitz's (GDS).
Agreements with ATA (AAT), Aloha Airlines (ALO), Continental Airlines (CAL), Delta Airlines (DAL), Hawaiian Airlines (HWI), & United Airlines (UAL) to offer interline electronic ticketing, which allows passengers to use one e-ticket when traveling on itineraries that include (ASA) and one of the cooperating airlines. It eliminates the need for the passengers to obtain a paper ticket to transfer from one airline to another, an important convenience in the event of irregular operations.
July 2004: (DOT) provides federal subsidy of $1.6 Million through 2006 for Alaska Airlines (ASA) to operate Anchorage to Adak.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) becomes 1st carrier to select Honeywell's Runway Awareness & Advisory System (RAAS), intended to increase a flight crew's (FC) awareness of their position on the surface of an airport, reducing runway incursions and other hazards. (RAAS) contains an internal runway database with the (GPS)-derived airplane position overlaid in a planview picture. The system also provides callouts to warn that the airplane is approaching a runway in the air or on the ground, that the runway is too short for operations, or that the airplane is attempting to take off on a taxiway. Other warnings are supplied, including runway distance remaining callouts in a rejected takeoff or while landing long. (RAAS) is hosted on Honeywell's Mark V & mARK VII (EGPWS).
$15 Million contract to retrofit 5 of its 737-400's to carry cargo & passengers as replacements for its retiring 737-200 fleet. 4 737-400's to be converted to a fixed 70 passenger/4 pallet configuration and one will be retrofitted as a full-cargo airplane. InterContinental Aircraft Services will coordinate the work that will be done by Flight Structures, a unit of B/E Aerospace, which will perform the Engineering work, and Boeing, who will provide post-conversion engineering support. The 5th airplane will become a dedicated freighter. Conversions begin in 2005-04, to be completed by early 2007.
August 2004: Plans to eliminate up to -150 (-9%) management jobs to bring anticipated savings of between -$5 Million & -$10 Million/year. Has a broad restructuring plan aimed at saving -$307 Million in annual operating costs.
MD-83 (49364, N937AS) returned to lessor.
September 2004: In addition to the -150 management jobs to be lost announced last month, will eliminate another -750 jobs for a total -900 (-8%): -340 from outsourcing its heavy maintenance and closing its Oakland maintenance facility; -273 from outsourcing its airplane interior cleaning (-158 Seattle, -92 Anchorage & -22 in Alaska by 12/04); -60 from outsourcing its Ground Support Equipment (GSE) & facilities operations (-30 Seattle); -51 by combining Alaska (ASA) & Horizon Air positions (-30 in Spokane; -21 in Portland); -18 by closing Customer Service Operations in Tucson & Prudhoe Bay, Alaska (fewer hrs for 15 staff); -9 from closing ticket offices in Bellevue, Anchorage, & Juneau; & -4 from closing pilot crew (FC) scheduling office in Los Angeles. The unions state their union contract has been breached by Alaska Airlines (ASA) deciding to outsource work without prior consultation and without providing data to prove that money would be saved.
Heavy maintenance will be contracted out to Goodrich Aviation Technical Services (BFG) and AAR Aircraft Services.
Comprehensive marketing agreement with Delta Airlines (DAL), including code sharing, reciprocal frequent-flier programs and airline lounge privileges.
October 2004: In 2005-02, Los Angeles to Loreto. The flights would be supported by a marketing partnership with the Loreto Bay Company.
November 2004: Las Vegas - Anchorage (3/week). Los Angeles - Anchorage (3/week).
Completed installation of SafTGlo, a photoluminescent floorpath marking system on its entire fleet of 108 airplanes.
Has ordered Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) blended winglets for its 737-700/-800 fleet. The 737-700's will receive their installations as they rotate through heavy maintenance at Goodrich (BFG), while the 737-800's will be installed by Boeing (TBC) before delivery.
December 2004: In 2005-02, Vancouver - San Diego (daily) & increases Vancouver - Las Vegas (9/week). Los Angeles - Loreto (MD-80, 2/week). In 2005-06, Anchorage - Phoenix (daily nonstop).
Caroline Boren, Managing Director, Corporate & Strategic Communications.
January 2005: Alaska Airlines (ASA) Group 4th Quarter = -$44.9 Million (-$16.1 Million). 2004 = -$15.3 Million (+$13.5 Million): +11.5% (RPM) passenger traffic.
March 2005: 737-8FH (30824, N549AS), (RBS) Aviation leased.
April 2005: Selects RightNow Technologies Crew Resources Management (CRM) to "enhance and streamline the Sales, Customer Service, & Marketing functions of its air cargo business."
May 2005: 10,040 employees. -472 ramp services baggage handlers were laid off overnight at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Their jobs were outsourced to Menzies Aviation, in a move that Alaska Airlines (ASA) would save > -$13 Million per year.
June 2005: Shannon Alberts, Managing Director Investor Relations. Kris Kutchera, Managing Director Applications Development, will lead the overall vision for the use of technology to support e-commerce, maintenance & engineering, ground & flight operations, and the airline's mileage plan.
35/18 orders (2006-01) 737-800's and purchase rights for an additional 50 airplanes. MD-82 (49387, N954AS) returned to Daimler Chrysler (DCY) and leased to 1Time Airline (1TA).
July 2005: 2nd Quarter = +$17.4 Million (-$1.7 Million).
737-890 (30020, N548AS) delivery.
August 2005: 9,968 employees (-.7%) (including 1,400 Flight Crew (FC)).
September 2005: Alaska Airlines (ASA) began double-daily service between Seattle and Dallas/Fort Worth with continuing service to and from Anchorage on one of the flights.
October 2005: Alaska Air Group (AAG), parent of Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Horizon Air, reported third-quarter net income of $90.2 million, up +21.9% over $74 million in the year-ago period. Excluding the impact of special items including mark-to-market fuel hedge accounting adjustments, refunds of navigation fees and restructuring items, current-period income totaled $71.5 million compared to net income of $50.7 million in 2004.
"The numbers show that the hard work of our employees is paying off," said Chairman & (CEO), Bill Ayer, adding that (AAG) expects to report a "modest" profit for the full year, "which is a big improvement over the past four years." Pre-tax margin for the 12 months is expected to be in the range of 3% - 4%, "which is obviously not adequate over the long term," he noted during a conference call to discuss the results. He also said that the company likely will have to revise downward its target of achieving a non fuel (CASM) of 7.25 cents in light of continued high fuel costs and the ongoing industry restructuring.
For the third quarter, operating revenues rose +10.1% to $845.7 million, reflecting strong growth at both airlines. Operating expenses climbed 6.2% to $755.5 million, driven by a +37.4% hike in fuel cost (excluding hedges) partly offset by a -11% decline in labor costs. Operating income jumped +58.8% to $90.2 million from $56.8 million.
(ASA) saw revenues rise +8.9% to $689.3 million while expenses grew only +2.9%. As a result, operating income nearly doubled to $80.4 million and pre-tax profit surged +35.8% to $133 million. Yield per (RPM) climbed 7.5% to 13.57 cents on a +0.9% rise in (RPM)s traffic. Load factor improved +3 points, boosting (RASM) +12.4% to 11.84 cents. Owing to operational problems, (ASA) trimmed its schedules and the impact was reflected in a 3.2% reduction in (ASM)s capacity that helped drive unit costs up +6.1% to 10.46 cents. Excluding fuel and special charges, (CASM) rose +2.4% to 7.53 cents.
For the nine months ended September 30, (AAG) saw profits dip -9.4% to $27.1 million from $29.6 million.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) will double the frequency of its Los Angeles to Mexico City route from 1 to 2 flights a day starting on Sunday. The new flight will originate and terminate in Portland, Oregon. Both flights will operate with a 737-700.
November 2005: Alaska Airlines (ASA) reinstated its daily flights between Seattle and Miami November 1, after a four-month hiatus.
(FAA) announced that it will deploy the Airport Surface Detection Model X at 15 major USA airports beginning in January with Seattle-Tacoma International. Others are Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall, Boston Logan, Chicago Midway, Chicago O'Hare, Detroit Metro Wayne County, George Bush Intercontinental (Houston), Los Angeles International, New York (JFK), LaGuardia, Newark Liberty, Reagan Washington National, Washington Dulles, William P. Hobby (Houston) and Minneapolis St-Paul. Additional sites are being evaluated.
The ten largest USA passenger airlines in aggregate lost -$3.24 billion in the third quarter ended Sept 30, a threefold increase over a loss of -$1.04 billion in the third period of 2004. However, current-period results include more than $2.5 billion in bankruptcy-related charges at Northwest (NWA), Delta (DAL) and United (UAL). Revenue for the group, which comprises AirTran (CQT), Alaska Air Group (ASA), AMR Corp (AAL), Continental (CAL), Delta (DAL), JetBlue (JBL), Northwest (NWA), Southwest (SWA), United (UAL) and US Airways (USA), rose +13.6% to $25.32 billion while expenses climbed just +11.4% in spite of the dramatic run-up in fuel prices throughout the quarter. The result was an industry operating profit of +$213.3 million compared to a loss of -$180.8 million in the year-ago period. Excluding fuel, the third-quarter operating costs grew less than +3% compared to last year, while unit costs dropped -2.3% excluding fuel and special charges.
Unveils a special livery "Salmon-Thirty-Salmon" to symbolize the critical role fresh Alaska seafood plays in the continental USA and beyond. 737-400 (N792AS) shows the glimmering image of the wild Alaska king salmon, complete with shiny scales, a dorsal fin and gills, and is the result of a dedicated team of 30 painters working nearly nonstop for 24 days. The paint scheme was produced in partnership with the Alaska Fisheries Marketing Board who promotes the export of Alaska seafood. (This airplane celebrates Alaska Airlines (ASA)'s unique relationship with the people and communities of Alaska and underscores our air transport commitment to the state's seafood industry" said Greg Saretsky, (ASA)'s Executive VP Marketing & Planning. "Alaska seafood is more popular than ever, and (ASA) is proud to pl;ay a role in getting much of it from the waters of Alask to dinner tables across the country in record time." This year, (ASA) will fly more than 30M pounds of seafood to markets in the continental USA, Mexico and Canada. (ASA) intends to increase the capacity of its cargo fleet by +50%, with a $15 Million contract to retrofit 5 737-400's from passenger to cargo configuration, including 1 all-cargo and 4 passenger-cargo combis.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) appointed Steve Jarvis VP Sales & Customer Experience. Greg Latimer, Managing Director Brand & Product Marketing.
December 2005: Alaska Air Group (ASA) said it intends to offer 5.7 million newly issued shares. At its current share price of around $35, the airline would raise gross proceeds of almost $200 million. Citigroup Global Markets is acting as the lead managing underwriter and was granted an additional 427,500 shares to cover overallotments. Proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes including working capital, the acquisition of airplanes and other capital expenditures.
INCDT: MD-83 (53471, N979AS) en route from Seattle to Burbank as AS536 was forced to return to SeaTac International Airport on Monday (Dec 26th) after a loss of cabin pressure about 20 minutes into the flight as the airplane was at FL260. The crew initiated a rapid descent with oxygen masks deployed and landed the airplane safely at 4:53pm. A ground inspection revealed a hole in the fuselage of approximately 12in long and 6in wide. It had been caused by a baggage handler who failed to report the damage he had caused when he ran into the airplane. The handler was employed by the outsourced Menzies Aviation.
January 2006: The USA (FAA) proposed to fine Alaska Airlines (ASA) $500,000 for flying a 737 without required cabin floor lighting on 478 revenue flights between July 12 and Dec 2, 2004. The agency said Goodrich Aviation Technical Services (BFG) performed "extensive" maintenance, repair & overhaul (MRO) on the airplane but did not reinstall the floor proximity lighting system's emergency exit identifier lights. Following 40 additional inspections, Alaska (ASA) discovered the problem and installed the identifier lights on Feb 2, 2005. Eight days later, an (FAA) inspector notified the carrier that incorrect lights were installed but it operated the airplane on "at least" 43 more revenue flights before replacing the lights on February 16, according to the agency. Alaska (ASA) requested an "informal conference" to discuss the penalty on January 18, (FAA) said.
INCDT: An Alaska Airlines (ASA) MD-80 en route from Seattle to Burbank as AS536 was forced to return to Seattle for an emergency landing after the crew was unable to raise the landing gear. The airplane landed safely 16 minutes after it took off. The problem was caused by one of (ASA)'s mechanics inadvertantly leaving the nose landing gear door open, after fixing a broken taxi landing light. This was confirmed by (ASA) spokesperson Amanda Tobin.
Subsequent to the above incident, David Prewitt, VP Safety resigned to take a new job as VP Safety at Sikorsky Aircraft, Connecticut.
Prewitt had informed (ASA) 6 months ago of his intention to pursue opportunities on the East Coast so he could be closer to his family. Other management changes include promoting Kevin Finan, 58, to Executive VP Operations, and Glenn Johnson, 48, to Senior VP, Customer Service for Airports. Johnson spent the past 6 months leading a ground-operations team seeking to improve the carrier's on-time performance.
The previous week, another incident occurred when a Menzies Aviation contacted employee inadvertently put a tug attached to the plane in gear, causing the airplane to hit a jetway and a baggage loader. In the same week a passenger on another (ASA) flight made a complaint because she observed a Menzies Aviation contracted worker throwing the crate containing her dog into the jet's lower hold, rather than using the conveyor belt.
All these incidents were front-page headlines in the local Seattle Times newspapers.
Alaska Air (ASA) Group Chairman & (CEO), Bill Ayer credited "sacrifices by our employees, strong revenue performance and the benefits of our fuel hedging program" for the company's improved performance in 2005, which saw the parent of Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Horizon Air narrow its net loss -61.4% to -$5.9 million from a 2004 deficit of -$15.3 million.
Excluding the cumulative effect of a maintenance accounting policy change that totaled $90.4 million, the company said it earned +$84.5 million last year. Furthermore, both 2004 and 2005 results include a number of special items, both gains and losses. Excluding these, 2005 net income would have been +$55 million.
Ayer briefly addressed the safety issues that have plagued Alaska Airlines (ASA) over the past two months, including two ground incidents in which airplanes were damaged on the ramp in Seattle. "I want to say unequivocally that safety is our No 1 priority," he insisted, adding that the carrier is "putting into place a ramp action plan to improve all aspects of our operation."
(AAL)'s operating revenue in 2005 climbed +9.3% to $2.98 billion and expenses rose just +6.4% to $2.98 billion, narrowing operating loss -90.7% to -$7.4 million from -$79.8 million in 2004. Excluding the impact of restructuring charges from both periods, however, operating loss was virtually flat at -$13 million. Fuel costs rose +33.7% to $722.8 million and employee costs fell -4.5%.
Ayer said the company's improving revenue and "balance sheet strength" allowed it to consider the early retirement of 26 MD-80s. It will add 12 737-800s in 2006 and a further 26 airplanes during the following two years. It will retire 20 MD-80s this year. Capacity (ASM)s will increase +5% - +6% in 2006.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) posted an operating loss of -$10.8 million, an -87.3% drop from a 2004 loss of -$85.4 million, as revenue increased +8.2% to $2.42 billion and expenses rose +4.7% to $2.43 billion. Passenger traffic climbed +4.2% to 16.76 billion (RPM)s and capacity rose just +0.1% to 22.29 billion (ASM)s. Yield was ahead +3.5% to 12.91 cents while load factor gained +3 points to 75.9% LF, pushing (RASM) up +8.2% to 10.84 cents. "The market is less price-sensitive than it has been in the past," Ayer said. (CASM) grew +4.6% to 10.89 cents but just +1.1% excluding fuel and special items.
For the fourth quarter, (AAL) Group lost -$33 million, narrowed -26.5% from a -$44.9 million loss in the prior year. Excluding special items, it would have earned +$0.6 million compared to a loss of -$14.3 million in the year-ago period. Operating revenue rose +11.3% to $730.6 million and expenses lifted +6% to $756.4 million, resulting in a -$25.8 million operating loss, a +55.1% improvement.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) has named Captain Robert Spero, System Chief Pilot. In the post, Spero is responsible for the safe operation of Alaska (ASA) flights, including leading the airline's 1,500 line pilots (FC) and ensuring flight operations comply with Federal Air Regulations (FAR)'s and company policies. He also works with other airline divisions to coordinate policies and procedures that affect airplane operations. Spero succeeds Captain Paul Majer, who has returned to line flying for Alaska (ASA) as an MD-80 captain.
2 737-890's (34593, N551AS; 34595, N552AS), deliveries.
March 2006: Alaska Airlines (ASA) announced the election of Benjamin Forrest as Vice President Flight Operations, filling the position that had been open since January 2006 due to executive promotions.
Forrest, 56, will oversee the airline's flight operations, pilot training and flight dispatch departments. Forrest is a 27-year veteran of the airline industry with over 16,000 flight hours. An Alaska Airlines (ASA) pilot (FC) since 1998, he also has served as flight instructor and interim Director of Corporate Safety. In addition to his commercial airline experience, Forrest served in the US Navy as an F-4 and F-14 fighter pilot, including three commands.
A native of New York, Forrest grew up in Bellevue, Washington, and holds a bachelor's degree in business from the University of Washington.
"Ben brings an extensive background in safety and operations to the role. His leadership and organizational skills combine with a real passion for aviation. He is a true pilot's pilot (FC) who knows the importance of communication and trust," said Kevin Finan, Alaska's Executive VP Operations and former VP Flight Operations.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) will discontinue service from Seattle to Washington's Dulles International Airport on June 4th and currently operate a daily nonstop flight using a 737-700. Alaska (ASA) will increase capacity on its Seattle to Washington's Reagan National Airport at the end of the month by switching from a 737-700 to a 737-800.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) became the 50th carrier to select Trax Engineering & Maintenance software.
(ASA) will transition to an all-737 fleet by the end of 2008 by accelerating the retirement of the 26 MD-80s it planned to phase out over the next 11 years, replacing them with 39 737-800s in 2006 - 2008 from an order placed last summer. In addition, (ASA) has firm commitments for 13 737-800s, options for 24 and purchase rights for 27 in 2009 and beyond. It also is retiring its seven 737-200s by mid-2007 as well as two 737-700s that will be returned to lessors. The changes will result in a 114-airplane fleet in December 2008 versus 110 today. The increased efficiency of the winglet-equipped 737-800s means, however, that it will grow capacity (ASM)s +6% with a net gain of just four airplanes.
(CFO), Brad Tilden said the speedier transition represents an investment of $750 million comprising airplanes, inventory, spare engines, retraining of pilots, buyouts of MD-80 leases and a credit for MD-80 airplane sales. (ASA) estimates it will incur some $160 - $190 million in charges, approximately half of which will come from writing down the value of the 15 owned airplanes. The balance relates to the cost of returning the 11 leased airplanes ahead of schedule.
Replacing the less fuel-efficient MD-80s will result in $118 - $130 million in cost savings depending on the price of fuel, Tilden said. Cost per (ASM) excluding fuel will decline 0.30 cents and 0.45 - 0.50 cents if fuel is included. Additionally, the 737-800s seat +17 more than the MD-80s in (ASA)'s configuration and it expects to be able to fly them 11.05 hours per day versus 9.86 hours for the MD-80s, meaning 18 737-800s will do the work of 23 MD-80s.
737-890 (34594, N552AS), delivery.
April 2006: Alaska Airlines (ASA) expects its unit costs, excluding fuel and special charges to drop -5% in the quarter ended March 31 to 8.1 cents, primarily owing to a shift in the timing of maintenance effects, it said in a Securities & Exchanges Commission (SEC) filing. It also expects to incur a pre-tax impairment charge of $130 - $140 million, related to plans to retire 15 owned MD-80s ahead of previous plans in favor of 737NGs. Nonadjusted (CASM) is expected to rise +23% to 13.6 cents.
Alaska Air Group (AAG), parent of Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Horizon Air, eked out a small but noteworthy profit of +$2.8 million before special items in the historically challenging winter quarter, reversing an adjusted net loss of -$41.7 million in the year-ago period.
(AAG) previously had said it would record an impairment charge of $131.1 million/$81.9 million after-tax, during the period to reflect the early retirement of its MD-80 fleet. Including the impact of this charge, partially offset by fuel hedge gains, it had a net loss of -$79.1 million compared to a loss of -$80.5 million in the 2005 first quarter.
"We're extremely happy to report a small first-quarter adjusted net profit. Our business is very seasonal and this quarter is always our weakest . . . The last time we posted an adjusted first-quarter profit was in 1999, so we are off to a great start," Chairman and (CEO), Bill Ayer said.
Group operating revenues climbed +14.5% to $735.4 million, with Alaska (ASA) revenues up +12.7% to $590 million and Horizon sales up +20.6% to $146.2 million. Operating expenses at the group level rose +39.9% to $860.6 million, but actually declined -3.9% year-over-year excluding airplane fuel and the impairment charge. Operating loss net of special charges was -$125.2 million compared to an operating profit of +$27.3 million last year.
Yield per (RPM) at Alaska (ASA) rose +8.8% to 13.16 cents, marking four consecutive quarters of yield improvement, while Horizon's yield was up +6.3% to 23.19 cents. Alaska (ASA)'s revenue per (ASM) climbed +9.3% to 10.65 cents on a +1.1-point gain in load factor. Nonfuel unit cost fell -6.8% to 7.97 cents, "the largest year-over-year decline in five quarters," according to Ayers.
(ASA) announced it will provide a $3.5 million upgrade at its Nome Airport terminal in Nome, Alaska. Construction is scheduled to begin in early June 2006 and be completed in March 2007. The project will include renovating and expanding the passenger lobby, secured passenger area, cargo facility and ground service equipment area, as well as paving the customer parking lot and connecting the terminal building to city water and sewer lines. (ASA) built the existing Nome Airport terminal building in 1985. The upgrade will expand the original terminal lobby area by nearly 1,500 square feet, an increase of about +50 percent. It will expand the cargo facility by about +30 percent and the ground-service equipment area by about +15 percent. An Alaska-based contractor will manage the construction. The airline operates three daily flights to and from Nome and expects minimal disruption to its Nome operations as a result of the construction.
(ASA) plans to lower from three to two, the number of daily flights on its Fairbanks - Barrow - Deadhorse/Prudhoe route effective June 4.
(ASA) placed an order for 3 additional 737-800s in February in addition to 35 it ordered last year. At that point the airline had 36 airplanes on order.
May 2006: Alaska Airlines (ASA) flight attendants (CA) ratified a new four-year labor contract that the Association of Flight Attendants - (CWA) said "provides a more generous profit-sharing program." No other details of the deal were released.
Parent Alaska Air (ASA) Group also announced the conversion of $150 million in outstanding convertible notes due in 2023 into Alaska Air (ASA) common stock. "With this transaction, we have converted $150 million of debt into equity," (CFO), Brad Tilden said.
(ASA) announced it is the first air carrier to use Required Navigation Performance (RNP) precision approach technology to land airplanes at Portland International Airport. By using these more direct (RNP)-guided approaches, (ASA) will shorten flight times for Portland-bound flights and reduce fuel consumption.
(ASA) pioneered the use of (RNP) technology during the mid-1990s to help airplanes land at some of the world's most remote and geographically challenging airports in the state of Alaska. Since 1996, the airline has introduced (RNP) procedures at airports throughout the state of Alaska as well as in Washington, DC; San Francisco and Palm Springs, California.
(ASA) will add a third daily Seattle - Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) flight and a second daily (DFW) - Anchorage flight via Seattle on June 4. (ASA) applied to the USA Department of Transportation (DOT) for authority to operate Seattle - Cancun, Portland (Oregon) - Los Cabos, and Portland - Puerto Vallarta flights. If approved, services will operate seasonally beginning this year from the end of October to the end of April. Seattle - Cancun and Portland - Los Cabos would be operated four-times-weekly, while Portland - Puerto Vallarta service would be thrice-weekly. "This is part of our ongoing investment in our growing route system in Mexico," Managing Director Planning & Alliances, John MacLeod said. Alaska currently operates 38 daily flights to nine Mexican destinations during the winter season. A (DOT) decision on the application is expected in June.
June 2006: Alaska Airlines (ASA) named Chris Glaeser, VP Safety. He comes from Northwest Airlines (NWA), where he was Director Flight Safety, Quality Assurance (QA) & Industry Affairs.
(ASA) introduced the first of five 737-400QC (28896, N709AS - see photo) converted freighters to its cargo fleet. The conversion was performed by Pemco World Air Services and is the first for the type, Alaska (ASA) said. The airplane replaces a 737-200F. Remaining airplanes, which will be converted into combis, will enter service by the end of 2007 as part of a $100 million expansion and modernization of its cargo operation. It will retire seven 737-200Fs. The 737-400F fleet will increase freight capacity by +20%.
737-890 (35175, N556AS), delivery.
July 2006: Alaska Air Group, parent of Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Horizon Air, reported net income of +$55.5 million for the second quarter ended June 30, more than triple the net income of +$17.4 million in the year-ago quarter, strong results that the company attributed to "a combination of revenue gains and cost improvements. "Group operating revenues grew +15.4% to $873 million, while expenses climbed +10.1% to $792.9 million. Operating income more than doubled to +$80.1 million from +$36.6 million last year.
(ASA) revenues rose +15.3% to $710.4 million against a +8.2% lift in expenses to $639.5 million, while Horizon revenues climbed +15.7% to $162.7 million as expenses rose +18.7% to $152.5 million. Alaska (ASA) posted operating income of +$70.9 million, up +178% over +$25.5 million in the year-ago quarter. Horizon reported operating income of +$10.2 million, down slightly from +$12.1 million last year.
Yield per (RPM) at (ASA) rose +7.6% to 13.99 cents while Horizon's yield was up +5.3% to 23.25 cents. (ASA)'s revenue per (ASM) climbed +9.5% to 12.18 cents on a +1.4-point gain in load factor to 79.3% LF. Nonfuel unit cost fell -2.1% to 7.92 cents.
For the six months, Alaska Air Group posted a net loss of -$23.6 million, a -62.5% drop from a net loss of -$63.1 million in the first half of 2005.
1st 6 months = 14.01 billion passenger traffic +5.99% (RPK), +4.22% capacity (ASK)s, 76.5% LF, 40.13 million freight traffic -13.75% (FTK), 8.34 million passengers +3.28%.
(ASA) will inaugurate nonstop service from Los Angeles to La Paz (Mexico) on October 30th, subject to approval by the Mexican government. (ASA) will operate 3 flights a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, & Saturdays, using a 737-400. (ASA) also received Department of Transportation (DOT) approval to start nonstop service from San Francisco to Cancun. (ASA) will inaugurate seasonal winter nonstop service from San Francisco to Cancun from October 28th and will operate 3 flights a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, & Sundays, using a 737-800.
Sabre Travel Network and Travelocity yesterday signed new five-year, full-content agreements with (ASA).
Boeing (TBC) said design enhancements that increase the short-field performance of the 737NG earned USA (FAA) certification after a four-month test program. The improvements allow carriers to fly increased payload at airports with runways shorter than 5,000 ft and include a two-position tail skid that reduces approach speeds, sealed leading-edge slats for lift and increased spoiler deflection on the ground. The features are standard on the 737-900ER and optional on the 737-600, 737-700 and 737-800. Gol (GOT) is the launch customer for the short-field performance package. Other operators who have placed orders are Alaska Airlines (ASA), Air Europe (ARE), Air-India Express (AIN), EgyptAir (EGP), GECAS (GEF), Hapagfly (HAP), Japan Airlines (JAL)/(JAS), Pegasus Airlines (PGS), Sky Airlines (SYC) and Turkish Airlines (THY). (EASA) certification is expected soon, the manufacturer said.
August 2006: Alaska Airlines (ASA) is adding frequencies to the following Mexican routes starting October 29: Los Angeles to Loreto (3x-weekly to 4x-), Manzanillo (4x-weekly to 6x-) and Mazatlan (7xes-weekly to 8x-) and San Francisco - Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo (2x-weekly to 4x-). It is increasing capacity to Mexico by +22% this fall.
(ASA) will begin San Francisco (SFO) - San Diego service using 737-400's with 4x-daily weekday flights, 2 on Saturdays and 3 on Sundays on October 29. (ASA) also will add 9x-weekly flights from Los Angeles and (SFO) to Mexican resort destinations for its winter timetable.
(ASA) extended its Northern Bites $5 meal option, currently available on Mexican services, to nearly all flights longer than 3 hours.
737-290C (22577), sold to Aloha Airlines (ALO). 2 737-890's (35176, N557AS; 35177, N558AS), deliveries.
October 2006: Alaska Air Group (AAG) said in a filing to the USA Securities and Exchange Commission that it expects a +38% year-over-year jump in third-quarter unit costs at Alaska Airlines (ASA) due to rising fuel costs and special items.
(AAG) said it expects to take a pre-tax third-quarter charge of $55 - $60 million related to its decision to buy out five of nine long-term MD-80 leases and a $30 million charge related to a voluntary severance package accepted by approximately 485 employees represented by the International Association of Machinists. The latter charge is +$10 million higher than initially anticipated.
(ASA)'s third-quarter (CASM) is expected to be 13.1 cents, or 7.4 cents, excluding fuel and special items, a decrease of -2% from the year-ago quarter.
Alaska Air Group (AAG), parent of (ASA) and Horizon Air, reported a third-quarter net loss of -$17.4 million, reversed from a net profit of +$90.2 million in the year-ago quarter.
The company blamed special charges for the losses, including the buyout of five MD-80 leases and costs associated with a voluntary severance program. Excluding special items, (AAG) said it would have made +$77.9 million for the quarter, increased from +$71.5 million, excluding special items last year. (CEO), Bill Ayer noted "slower unit revenue growth toward the end of the quarter" and said cost reductions remain necessary in order to provide passengers with seats "at a price they are willing to pay."
Overall revenues were up +10.6% to $935 million, but expenses soared +38.6% to $959.7 million, producing an operating loss of -$24 million, reduced significantly from a +$153.1 million profit last year. Alaska Airlines (ASA) reported a -$29.2 million operating loss for the quarter, down from operating income of +$135.2 million a year earlier, on a +10.2% rise in revenues to $759.9 million. Expenses jumped +42.4% to $789.1 million, led by a +106.5% surge in fuel costs to $251.5 million.
Alaska Airlines (ASA)'s third-quarter traffic rose +6% to 4.87 billion (RPM)s on a +5.6% capacity hike to 6.15 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 79.2% LF, up +0.2 point. Yield was ahead +5.6% to 14.33 cents as (RASM) lifted +4.4% to 12.36 cents and (CASM) jumped +34.8% to 12.38 cents. (CASM) excluding fuel and other expenses, including fleet transition charges, actually decreased -2.7% to 7.33 cents.
Alaska (ASA) announced the addition of a second daily winter season Fairbanks - Seattle frequency, beginning February 11 aboard a 737-400.
Although Ryanair (RYR) and other low-cost carriers (LCC)s generate large amounts of revenue from "nonticket sources," legacy airlines derive significantly more by selling frequent-flier miles to partners, typically via co-branded credit cards, says a recent study by IdeaWorks Company (ideaworkscompany.com).
According to the report, Europe's top four (LCC)s raised €470 million/$589.1 million in ancillary revenues last year, by charging for things such as seat assignments, checked baggage, credit card usage, onboard snacks and beverages, aswell as other items. IdeaWorks estimated that Ryanair (RYR)'s "aggressive use of a la carte pricing" generated ancillary revenues of €7.76 per passenger in 2005, placing it well ahead of Aer Lingus (ARL) (€5.99), SkyEurope Airlines (SKP) (€4.38), easyJet (EZY) (€4.37), and Air Berlin (BER) (€2.51).
Yet these performances were eclipsed by United Airlines (UAL), which generated €9.40 per passenger from its Mileage Plus frequent-flier program, and Alaska Airlines (ASA), which generated €8.55 from its Mileage Plan credit card. In fact, the consultancy estimated that 70% "of the miles earned by Mileage Plan members are now generated by charge activity tied to" Alaska (ASA)'s co-branded card. In total, USA frequent-flier programs generated "an estimated €2.5 billion."
IdeaWorks said the figures suggest that "even greater ancillary revenues may reside in an activity traditionally scorned by (LCC)s . . . frequent-flier programs." The full report is available at IdeaWorksCompany.com.
737-2X6C (23124, N747AS), sold to (BCI) Leasing, leased to Aloha Airlines (ALO). 3 737-890's (35178, N559AS; 35179, N560AS; 35180, N563AS), deliveries.
November 2006: Alaska Airlines (ASA) named Bob Bernicchi, Managing Director, Maintenance Engineering. He has been Director of MD-80 & 737-200 Fleet Engineering, since joining the airline in 2005. He previously spent 21 years at United Airlines (UAL), where he served as Chief Engineer of Narrow Body Aircraft.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) inaugurated routes to Mexico as follows:
On Saturday, October 28th, Alaska (ASA) inaugurated service between Portland and Los Cabos, the airline's first international destination from Portland International Airport. Flights operate seasonally, initially 4 days each week.
On Sunday, October 29th, the airline inaugurated San Francisco to Cancun and Portland to Puerto Vallarta. Both flights operate seasonally 3 days per week.
On Monday, October 30th, Alaska (ASA) inaugurated service from Los Angeles to La Paz with year-round flights 3 days a week.
The airline also increased service on other routes as follows:
Los Angeles to Loreto from 3 to 4 a week.
Los Angeles to Manzanillo from 4 to 6 a week.
Los Angeles to Mazatlan from 7 to 8 a week.
San Francisco to Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo from 2 to 4 a week.
737-490 (28894, N706AS), is a logojet dedicated to the "Make a Wish Foundation" with "Disneyland" also on fuselage and its castle as logo - see photo.
2 737-890s (35091, N562AS; 35103, N564AS), RBS Aerospace leased.
December 2006: Alaska Air Group (ASA) told the USA Securities and Exchange Commission that the company expects breakeven results in the fourth quarter, which will compare favorably to a -$33 million deficit in the final quarter of 2005. Its forecast for the current three-month period includes a +4% rise in Alaska Airlines (ASA) capacity to 5.8 billion (ASM)s and unit costs of 7.9 to 8 cents, which would represent a 0 to -1% drop from the year-ago period.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) made a voluntary cash contribution of $50 million to four defined benefit pension plans covering 7,300 employees in its airport, dispatch, maintenance, management and pilot work groups. It has contributed $122 million this year.
737-890 (35181, N565AS), delivery. MD-83 (49236), returned to lessor and sold to Mid-American Aerospace.
January 2007: Alaska Airlines (ASA) flew 1.47 billion (RPM)s passenger traffic in December, a +2% increase over the year-ago month. Capacity climbed +3.1% to 1.96 billion (ASM)s and load factor fell -0.8 point to 75.1% LF.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) parent Alaska Air Group reported a full-year 2006 net loss of -$52.6 million, widened from a loss of -$5.9 million in 2005, citing charges stemming from Alaska (ASA)'s ongoing transition to an all-737 fleet and voluntary severance programs related to new labor contracts.
Excluding the impact of special charges, 2006 net income would have been +$137.7 million, more than double the +$55 million earned the year before. The company reported a fourth-quarter net loss of -$11.6 million, narrowed from -$33 million in the year-ago quarter.
"While unit revenue growth slowed somewhat during the fourth quarter, our full-year adjusted earnings show steady improvement over the last five years," Chairman & (CEO), Bill Ayer said. "Alaska (ASA)'s transition by the end of 2008 to an all-737 fleet will further our efforts to reduce costs, while delivering a compelling customer value."
Full-year revenue rose +11.7% to $3.33 billion, as expenses increased +21.7% to $3.42 billion (including a +59% surge in fuel costs to $757 million), producing an operating loss of -$87.3 million, a reversal from a +$166.5 million operating profit in 2005.
(ASA) posted a 2006 net loss of -$92.2 million, a falloff from net earnings of +$124.2 million the previous year, on a +11.4% jump in revenues to $2.69 billion. Expenses climbed +22.5% to $2.79 billion and operating loss was -$96.2 million, reversed from a +$124 million profit in 2005. Alaska (ASA)'s 2006 traffic lifted +5.4% to 17.82 billion (RPM)s on a +4.4% capacity rise to 23.28 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 76.6% LF, up +0.7 point.
Yield increased +6.7% to 13.76 cents as (RASM) rose +6.7% to 11.57 cents and (CASM) jumped +17.3% to 11.98 cents. (CASM), excluding fuel and fleet transition costs, decreased -2.5% to 7.81 cents. Ayers said Alaska (ASA) is focused on controlling "what we can" to mitigate the "ups and downs of the underlying economy."
737-2X6C (23123, N746AS), WFU at Anchorage and sold to ALoha (ALO). 737-290C (22578, N740AS), WFU, donated to Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum. 737-298C (20794, N745AS), WFU at Anchorage and sold to Aloha (ALO). 2 737-890s (35182, N566AS; 35183, N568AS), deliveries. MD-83 (49235, N934AS), returned to lessor.
February 2007: 75th year annivesary!
Alaska Airlines (ASA) will launch daily flights from Portland, Oregon, to Boston and Orlando International, beginning September 9th aboard 124-seat 737-700s. New routes will be airline's first nonstop transcontinental service from Portland.
The USA Senate Commerce and Transportation Committee approved legislation to require the screening of all cargo in the bellies of passenger airplanes within three years. The Transportation Security Administration last May approved a rule that did not include such a strict requirement. "The steps proposed in this bill will both improve our existing security system and give the Transportation Security Administration the flexibility to combat new and emerging threats," committee Chairman, Daniel Inouye (Democrat-Hawaii) said in a statement. It was not clear what types of screening will be acceptable. Passenger airlines have strongly opposed 100% screening of belly cargo on grounds that it is impractical and will slow airfreight flow greatly. While yesterday's legislative action was a first step toward possible passage, the proposed bill still is a long way from becoming law, which requires passage by the full Senate and House as well as President Bush's signature.
Twenty-two additional carriers reportedly have joined AirTran Airways (CQT), Alaska Airlines (ASA), ATA Airlines (AAT), Frontier Airlines (FRO), Midwest Airlines (MWX), Southwest Airlines (SWA), and US Airways Group (AMW)/(USA) in filing a joint complaint with the USA Dept of Transportation (DOT) opposing new terminal charges at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), which this week broke ground on a $723.5 million renovation of its Bradley International Terminal. (LAX) raised fees on February 1 to help pay for "much-needed airport improvements," operator Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) said in a statement in response to this month's original (DOT) filing by the initial seven carriers. "In recent years, (LAWA) has absorbed the increasing costs to maintain and operate its terminals and other facilities at (LAX) without passing these costs on to airline tenants," it said.
But the seven airlines "estimate the collective financial impact [of the new charges] over the next 15 to 20 years at more than >$1 billion, with a near-tripling of charges from $20 million to $56 million in the first year alone," they said in a joint statement. "(LAWA) is not a private commercial landlord," their (DOT) filing noted. "Rather, (LAWA) is a public utility with monopoly power over the airlines wishing to serve (LAX) . . . access to (LAX) on fair and nondiscriminatory terms is essential." (LAWA) responded that while the new charges "may not be well received by some airlines," its previous model for assessing rent "is outdated and does not reflect the current aviation environment."
(ASA) said it introduced two 737-400 combis into its fleet for service within Alaska. The conversions were done by Pemco World Air Services. Two more 737-400Cs will enter the fleet by year end. The airplanes, the first 737-400 combis, accommodate 72 passengers and four cargo pallets on the main deck. 737-890 (N569AS) in 75th anniversary "Starliner" livery - see photo.
737-790 (30626, N629AS), returned to (ILF).
March 2007: Starting June 3rd, Anchorage - San Francisco, using 737-700s, which will be discontinued on August 20th.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Horizon Air introduced bilingual kiosks this month to enable passengers to check in and obtain boarding passes in English or Spanish.
April 2007: The Alaska Air Group, parent of Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Horizon Air, assigns Jeff Butler, Staff VP Station Operations.
(ASA) is a major USA carrier operating scheduled air services in the USA and to neighboring Canada and Mexico. The network is further expanded through subsidiary sister company, Horizon Air.
Employees = 9,866.
(IATA) Code: AS - 027. (ICAO) Code: ASA (ASA - ALASKA).
Parent organization/shareholders: Publicly listed (100%).
Owns: Horizon Air (100%).
Alliances: American Airlines (AAL); Big Sky Airlines; Continental Airlines (CAL); Delta Airlines (DAL); Era Aviation; Hawaiian Airlines (HWI); Horizon Air; (KLM); (LAN) Airlines (LAN); Northwest Airlines (NWA); PenAir; & Qantas Airways (QAN).
Main Base: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA).
Hubs: Anchorage International airport (ANC); Portland International airport (PDX); & Los Angeles airport (LAX).
Domestic, Scheduled Destinations: Adak Island; Anchorage; Aniak; Arcata; Atka; Atlanta; Austin; Barrow; Bellingham; Bethel; Billings; Boise; Boston; Bozeman; Burbank; Butte; Chicago; Cincinnati; Cold Bay; Cordova; Dallas; Denver; Detroit; Dillingham; Dutch Harbor; Eugene; Fairbanks; Fort Lauderdale; Fresno; Great Falls; Helena; Homer; Honolulu; Idaho Falls; Juneau; Kahului; Kalispell; Kauai Island; Kenai; Ketchikan; King Salmon; Klamath Falls; Kodiak; Kona; Kotzebue; Las Vegas; Lewiston; Long Beach; Los Angeles; McGrath; Medford; Miami; Minneapolis; Missoula; Monterey; Moses Lake; New York; Newark; Nome; North Bend; Oakland; Ontario; Orlando; Palm Springs; Pascoe; Pendleton; Petersburg; Phoenix; Pocatello; Portland; Prudhoe Bay/Deadhorse; Pullman; Redding; Redmond; Reno; Sacramento; Saint George Island; Saint Paul Island; Salt Lake City; San Diego; San Francisco; San Jose; San Luis Obispo; Sand Point; Santa Ana; Santa Barbara; Seattle; Sitka; Spokane; St Louis; Sun Valley; Tucson; Unalakleet; Valdez; Walla Walla; Washington; Wenatchee; Wrangell; Yakima; & Yakutat.
International, Scheduled Destinations: Calgary; Cancun; Edmonton; Guadalajara; Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo; Kamllops; Kelowna; Loreto; Manzanillo; Mazatlan; Mexico City; Puerto Vallarta; San Jose Cabo; Vancouver; & Victoria.
737-2Q8C (21959), sold to CSDS Sales. 737-790 (33011), returned to CIT Group (TCI).
May 2007: Alaska Airlines (ASA) will increase Seattle - Cancun service to daily from 4x-weekly on October 28.
American Airlines (AAL), Continental Airlines (CAL), and Alaska Airlines (ASA), "along with a few smaller carriers," according to the Associated Press, will be allowed to reduce contributions to their defined benefit pension plans by a combined -$2 billion over the next decade, thanks to a provision in the Iraq War spending bill approved last week by the USA Congress. The Dallas Morning News reported that airlines will be permitted to assume an 8.25% annual discount rate in calculating the value of their pension obligations, up from the current 6%. Delta Air Lines (DAL) and Northwest Airlines (NWA)discount at 8.85%, the paper said.
Calling it a "tipping point for performance-based navigation," USA (FAA) Administrator, Marion Blakey said that Southwest Airlines (SWA) informed the agency that it will equip its entire fleet for Required Navigation Performance (RNP), including retrofitting its 737 Classics. The airline confirmed the plan, which Air Transport Association President & (CEO), James May said was an indication that "the entire industry is migrating as rapidly as possible to NextGen." A (SWA) spokesperson said that the carrier "has made the decision to move forward internally, but all the specifics are not in place. We've been researching the capabilities for more than a year, the possibilities and efficiencies that we would gain and the benefits from our fleet being (RNP)-capable." The airline will start with its 737-700s, which come (RNP)-ready but would require "some switches to be flipped" before flying for (SWA). There is no timetable on the retrofit, the spokesperson revealed, saying, "we don't have a clear plan of how we're going to move forward." Nevertheless, Southwest (SWA) is the first airline to commit to (RNP) capability across its entire fleet. Blakey said 37 (RNP) approaches currently are available at 17 airports, with an additional 34 scheduled to be in place by year end and another 25 published next year.
Delta Air Lines (DAL) Executive VP Operations, Joe Kolshak was on hand to detail the benefits performance-based navigation has brought to his carrier. (DAL) received approval in March for its 737-800s to fly (RNP) approaches, joining Alaska Airlines (ASA), Horizon Air and Continental Airlines (CAL), and Atlanta Airport (ATL) has been (RNAV)-equipped since Fiscal Year (FY) 2005. Kolshak said average delays have been reduced at (ATL) by 3 minutes, which he said was the equivalent of adding three airplanes to the fleet. (DAL) ranked sixth among USA legacy carriers in ontime performance two years ago and stands second so far this year. The 5th runway and new taxiway also have been key contributors.
Kolshak said Delta (DAL) is conducting constant descent approach beta testing on early morning transcontinental arrivals at Atlanta and that initial indications are that it will save 400 lbs of fuel per flight, or 13 million gallons per year.
Alaska Air Group, parent of Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Horizon Air, said in a USA Securities and Exchange filing that it "currently expect[s] our consolidated adjusted net income in the second quarter and full-year 2007 to be below 2006 amounts." The company posted a second-quarter 2006 profit of +$55.5 million and a full-year loss of -$52.6 million. It also said it has found a buyer for its 20 owned MD-80s and has closed on sale and short-term leaseback transactions for 16 of them. The remaining sales are expected to be completed by the end of the current quarter. Alaska mainline second-quarter unit costs are expected to decline -3% to 10.6 cents and -4% to 7.5 cents excluding fuel. Capacity should rise +5% to 6.12 billion (ASM)s. April passenger unit revenue fell -2.8% as yield dipped -0.7% and load factor slipped -1.8 points.
737-890 (35188, N581AS), delivery.
June 2007: Alaska Airlines (ASA) will offer daily flights from Seattle to Honolulu (from October 12) and Lihue (from October 28), and seasonal service from Anchorage to Honolulu starting December 9, all aboard two-class 737-800s.
(ASA) announced the promotion of Angela Ursino to Managing Director Talent Strategy & Organizational Development, Dean DuVall to Managing Director Procurement for Alaska Air (ASA) Group, Arnie Stapnes to Managing Director Information Technology (IT) Customer Service & Infrastructure (succeeding DuVall), and Herman Wacker to Associate General Counsel, & Managing Director Labor & Employment Law.
July 2007: Kelley Dobbs VP Human Resources (HR). Jeff Butler VP Station Operations.
The USA General Services Administration awarded one-year contracts worth a combined $2.02 billion to 14 domestic carriers effective October 1. Contracts cover federal travelers on official business and went to United Airlines (UAL) ($661.1 million), American Airlines (AAL) ($389.7 million), Delta Air Lines (DAL) ($370.5 million), US Airways (AMW)/(USA) ($314.7 million), Alaska Airlines (ASA) ($54.5 million), Northwest Airlines (NWA) ($35.8 million), AirTran Airways (CQT) ($36.5 million), Frontier Airlines (FRO) ($17.4 million), ExpressJet Airlines (Continental Airlines (CAL) subsidiary) ($8.8 million), Midwest Airlines (MWX) ($4.1 million), JetBlue Airways (JBL) ($2.9 million), Mesa Air Group ($2.5 million), ATA Airlines (AAT) ($756,486), and North American Airlines (NNA) ($223,205).
August 2007: Alaska Air Group (AAG) said in a filing to the USA Securities and Exchange Commission that it expects to incur a full-year operating loss from its regional operation in excess of the -$13.2 million suffered in the first six months, "but not a multiple of it." Revenue will exceed expenses during the period, but (AAG) expects costs to surpass revenue in the fourth quarter. At Alaska Airlines (ASA), third-quarter capacity is expected to rise +2% to +3% to 6.27 to 6.34 billion (ASM)s, while (CASM) is expected to decline -16% to -17% to 10.6 to 10.7 cents. July unit revenue fell -1.2% year-over-year, with passenger (RASM) down -1.4% as yields dropped.
Alaska Air Group (ASA) promoted Director Government Affairs, Megan Lawrence to Managing Director, Government & Community Relations.
(ASA) hired 7 pilots (FC) in July, and is hiring 13 this month.
2 737-890s (35681, N583AS; 35682, N584AS), deliveries.
September 2007: Alaska Airlines (ASA) introduced a new online service that allows passengers to go to the carriers' website to make changes to itineraries. "The Change Itinerary feature . . . is the first online tool in the industry, that displays an easy-to-read matrix of 20 itinerary change options with corresponding adjustments to fares and taxes," the carrier claimed. "The new tool allows customers to change travel dates, as well as departure and arrival cities, and can be used even after some of the itinerary's travel has been completed. The enhanced feature can be used by groups of up to six passengers and allows each customer to make different flight changes." To encourage use of the new system, Alaska (ASA) announced that passengers using ticket counters and call centers to make itinerary changes for tickets purchased beginning October 3 will be charged a $75 fee, up +$25 from the current charge. The fee for online itinerary changes will remain $50. The online itinerary change feature was deployed using (ITA) Software's (QPX) system.
737-890 (35683, N585AS), delivery.
October 2007: Alaska Airlines (ASA) launched the first phase of an $18 million check-in facility dubbed the Airport of the Future at Seattle-Tacoma International. The system, shared with Horizon Air, replaces traditional ticket counters with a series of kiosks and bag check stations designed to reduce customer wait times. The first of three check-in "islands" features 11 kiosks and 16 bag check stations. Remaining islands will enter service by mid-2008. Alaska (ASA) first introduced the concept in 2004 in Anchorage, and has implemented it on a smaller scale in Los Angeles, Boise, Puerto Vallarta and several other Alaskan locations.
737-890 (35189, N586AS), delivery.
November 2007: First 6 months = 14.3 billion (RPK)s (+2.07%); (+4.04%) (ASK)s; 75.1% LF (-1.4%); 35.97 million (FTK)s (-10.35%); 8.48 million passengers (+1.69%).
Alaska Airlines (ASA) hired 24 pilots (FC) in October; and is hiring 11 in November.
Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) announced that Alaska Airlines (ASA) has become the first carrier to operate a 737-900 with blended winglets. It expects to retrofit its 737-900 fleet by late next year.
737-890 (35684, N587AS), delivery.
December 2007: Alaska Airlines (ASA) launched daily, Anchorage - Honolulu service aboard a two-class, 157-seat 737-800.
(ASA) entered into a code share agreement with Air France (AFA), effective January 5, under which (AFA) will sell tickets on Alaska flights serving 18 destinations in the USA Pacific Northwest and Alaska, providing feed for (AFA)'s Seattle - Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) service. (ASA) passengers also will be able to fly aboard (AFA) beyond (CDG) to points throughout Europe, India, Africa, and the Middle East. Ticket sales for code share flights started December 15. The carriers also expanded their frequent-flier program partnership.
Horizon Air plans to launch weekly, Los Angeles - Loreto flights on January 19 aboard a CRJ-700, marking the regional's first service to Mexico. Sister carrier, Alaska Airlines (ASA) will continue to operate 4x-weekly, 737-400 flights on the route.
(ASA) hired 11 pilots (FC) in November. The carrier continues to interview and accept online applications.
(ASA) appointed Ginny Carruthers, Director Government Affairs.
2 737-890s (35685, N588AS; 35686, N589AS), deliveries.
January 2008: 2007 statistics: 29.69 billion (RPK)s passenger traffic +3.5%; +4% capacity (ASK)s; -.3 load factor for 76.2% LF.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) parent, Alaska Air Group reported 2007 net income of +$125 million, reversed from a net loss of -$52.6 million in 2006, on a +5.4% boost in revenue to $3.51 billion. The company posted fourth-quarter net income of +$7.4 million, turned around from an -$11.6 million net loss in the year-ago quarter, but acknowledged that the profit was attributable to "fuel hedge accounting adjustments." Excluding the impact of the adjustments, it said it would have sustained a loss of -$17.9 million.
"It's frustrating to report a fourth-quarter adjusted loss in what has been a solid year, relative to other carriers," Chairman & (CEO), Bill Ayer said. "The loss was driven primarily by skyrocketing fuel costs combined with fares that have not kept pace." Full-year 2007 expenses totaled $3.29 billion, down -3.8% year-over-year, and operating income was +$212 million, reversed from a -$87.3 million operating loss in 2006.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) mainline traffic rose +3.5% to 18.45 billion (RPM)s on a +4% increase in capacity to 24.21 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 76.2% LF, down -0.4 point. Yield lifted +0.3% to 13.81 cents, as (RASM) rose +0.2% to 11.52 cents, and (CASM) lowered -11.6% to 10.54 cents ((CASM) in 2006 was affected by fleet transition costs). (CASM) excluding fuel, decreased -3.2% to 7.5 cents.
The Alaska Air (ASA) Group (AAG) is not interested in participating in the consolidation rumored to be facing the USA commercial aviation industry. "For us, the best future appears to be to remain independent," (AAG) Chairman, Bill Ayer told "The News Tribune."
737-890 (35687, N590AS), delivery.
March 2008: Alaska Air Group (ASA) announced completion of a $100 million stock repurchase program authorized last September. It repurchased approximately 4.1 million shares of outstanding common stock, or 10%, at an average price of $24.31. The company now has around 36.5 million shares of common stock outstanding.
The Alaska Air Group board authorized the repurchase of an additional +$50 million in common stock. It recently bought back 10% of its outstanding stock for $100 million. New acquisition will be financed with cash on hand.
March 2008: Alaska Air (ASA) Cargo said it is automating its cargo tracking system to enable customers to get "near real-time" updates on freight shipments. Using scanner-equipped cellular devices, it will scan cargo when it arrives at its final destination and wirelessly upload the information to its cargo data management system, and to http://www.alaskaair.com. Customers will be able to go to the website to get information on their shipment's status. Alaska (ASA)'s cargo arrivals previously have been tracked manually, delaying the amount of time before information can be provided to customers. "This [automated] system gives customers better visibility into where their cargo is and when it's ready for pickup," Managing Director Cargo, Matt Yerbic said. Arrival scanning has been implemented at 80% of its cargo service locations with full deployment expected by May. The service is enabled by Sprint Nextel phones equipped with AirClic software and scanning devices and by the cargoSPOT cargo data management system.
Virgin USA (VUS) launched Seattle - San Francisco (SFO), encroaching on Alaska Airlines (ASA)'s territory with low fares, mood-lit cabins, sleek leather seats, video touch screens and - - later this year - - Internet service. As (ASA) phrased it in a recent internal memo to supervisors, "Today's competitive threat is the most significant we've faced in years." About 25% of the seats on Alaska (ASA) flights are between the Pacific Northwest and California. Virgin (VUS)'s celebration begins with its passengers in San Francisco, who will be offered Seattle coffee, grunge music, and its custom "Vir-million" champagne cocktails. The company spent $2 million retrofitting each A320 with electronics. "Seattle is an incredibly important market for San Francisco and Los Angeles," (VUS) President & CEO, David Cush said. "We also have a product that is very much focused on high-tech, on consumer electronics - - -. It is unlike anything that is flying in the domestic market.
(ASA) will counter with "Alaska Spirit Day" offering employee prizes, including gift cards to Starbucks, Costco, and Marriott Hotels. "Our battle to succeed has always been a fight against all carriers that fly our routes, notably Southwest (SWA). We'll face more new competition from JetBlue (JBL), starting May 21." (ASA)'s battle plan involves more than just engaging employees, said Steve Jarvis, Alaska's VP Marketing, Sales, & Customer Experience. (ASA) is countering with a new mileage plan - - "SEA Double" offers double miles on some routes - - additional flights, matched fares, better food and a new "West Most" advertising campaign. "It's very Seattle-to-California oriented, and we're going to have some fun with it," Jarvis said.
Among the new flights from the Pacific Northwest to California, (ASA) is adding three flights per day to Los Angeles (LAX), bringing the total to 15, to better compete with Virgin America (VUS)'s three daily flights to (LAX), beginning April 8. "You're not late for one - - you're early for the next," Jarvis said of the shuttle model. It's also trumpeting its all-Boeing (TBC) fleet with "buy local, fly local" billboards. The message there, especially to the Puget Sound area, is we are an all-Boeing (TBC) fleet. We are a great Boeing (TBC) customer. Boeing is a customer of ours as well," Jarvis said. "The message is really geared toward the Northwest."
Virgin (VUS) CEO, David Cush commented briefly on the competition with Alaska (ASA) in an interview. "I think what they're going to have the most trouble competing with will be when we have the electronic platform on the airplanes," he said, adding, "that said, Alaska (ASA) is a great airline. I'm sure they'll compete just fine."
2 737-890s (35107, N593AS, RBS Aerospace leased; 35191, N594AS), deliveries.
April 2008: Alaka Airlines (ASA) named Kris Kutchera, VP Information Technology (IT) & Strategy Management; Wayne Newton, Managing Director Station Operations; Todd Sproul, Managing Director Operations Support; Peggy Willingham, Managing Director, Strategy Management; Andrew Harrison, Managing Director Planning; & Joe Samudovsky, Sales Director, Alaska Air Cargo.
American Airlines (AAL)'s schedule continued to be impacted heavily by (FAA)-mandated MD-80 inspections, as the carrier cancelled another 922 flights - - approximately 40% of its schedule - - while attempting to fly out of the accompanying public relations storm. Midwest Airlines (MWX) and Alaska Airlines (ASA) also pulled MD-80s from service in order to ensure compliance with the (FAA) airworthiness directives (AD)s. Midwest (MWX) cancelled 14 flights as it conducted additional inspections on auxiliary hydraulic pump wiring, while Alaska (ASA) cut 11 flights from its schedule to inspect wheel well wiring on nine airplanes. It echoed comments from (AAL) assuring that the "(FAA) inspections are focused on detailed, technical specifications and not safety-of-flight issues."
See progress on Seattle (SEA) - Honolulu (HNL) service on attached - - "ASA-SEA-HNL-2008-04."
737-890 (2587-35688, N596AS), delivery. MD-83 (53076), withdrawn from use (WFU) at Victorville.
May 2008: Alaska Airlines (ASA) is accepting Flight Crew (FC) applications, but is no longer interviewing.
737-890 (35689, N597AS), delivery.
June 2008: USA airline executives stressed the debilitating nature of rising fuel prices and said further capacity reductions may be warranted. Carriers said they have been unable to come close to passing on the record fuel price increases to customers. "The current environment will cause more harm [to USA airlines] than the period after 9/11," Alaska Air (ASA) Group Chairman, President & (CEO) William Ayer told the Merrill Lynch Global Transportation Conference in New York, available via webcast. He noted that Alaska Airlines (ASA) spends an average of $147 per passenger on fuel costs alone on a Seattle - Newark flight. "We're paying more now for refining margins than we used to pay for the all-out product just a few years ago," he said.
(ASA) is accepting Flight Crew (FC) applications but is no longer interviewing.
737-890 (35690, N506AS), delivery. MD-83 (53074), WFU at Victorville.
July 2008: Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Horizon Air parent, Alaska Air Group reported second-quarter net income of +$63.1 million, up +36.9% from the +$46.1 million earned in the year-ago period, although the result was driven largely by special gains. The profit includes a positive $155.3 million adjustment for mark-to-market fuel hedge accounting and charges of $32.1 million, related to fleet transition. Excluding special items, the company reported a net loss of -$14.1 million compared to net income of +$47.2 million a year ago.
Revenue rose +3% to $930.8 million, while operating expenses dipped -0.3% to $824.3 million and operating income rose +37% to +$106.5 million from +$77.7 million in the second quarter of 2007.
"Skyrocketing fuel prices have eclipsed the improvements we've worked so hard to achieve in every area of our business," Chairman & (CEO), Bill Ayer said.
To cope with the ongoing crisis, (ASA) said it would reduce capacity and increase fares and "other sources of revenue," while conserving fuel and controlling nonfuel costs. Capacity in the fourth quarter will be reduced by -5% from 2007 levels, and mainline capacity for 2009 will decrease by -5% to -10% year-over-year. It also announced changes to its Mileage Plan program effective November 1, with new award levels and a $25 fee for each award booked on a partner airline.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) reported operating income of +$91.6 million, up +13.2% year-over-year. Traffic climbed +1.1% to 4.87 billion (RPM)s against a +1.6% lift in capacity, dropping load factor -0.4 point to 78.1% LF. Yield was up +1.8% to 14.01 cents, operating (RASM) rose +0.9% to 11.9 cents, and unit cost fell -0.9% to 10.33 cents.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) began charging $25 for a second checked bag weighing up to 50 lb. Additional bags will cost $100 each, but first class (F) passengers, premium loyalty program members and customers on intra-Alaska routes will be exempt.
(ASA) to operate Seattle to Kahului on the island of Maui. (ASA) will operate thrice-weekly, Anchorage - Maui October 31 through April 25 and launch year-round, Seattle - Kona on November 17, both aboard 737-800s.
Korean Air (KAL) and Alaska Airlines (ASA) announced a code share agreement. From August 1, (KAL) passengers will be able to connect to (ASA) from Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, while (ASA) passengers will be able to connect to (KAL) flights to Asia from those cities. Reciprocal frequent-flier benefits begin September 6.
Alaska (ASA) announced that it will move to an all-cashless cabin on August 5 and no longer will accept cash for in-flight purchases. GuestLogix will provide the card reader used by cabin staff.
Also, it promoted Director Reservations, Lane Kemper to Managing Director Customer Service/Call Centers.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) said it now is using diesel-powered preconditioned air units in conjunction with ground-based electricity in place of onboard (APU)s at 19 gates at its Seattle hub. The ground units burn approximately -10x less fuel than Auxilliary Power Units (APU)s and are expected to conserve more than >1.1 million gallons per year, saving -$2.6 million at current prices. The carrier expects to have +14 more units in place at Anchorage, Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco later this year. It also said it completed the retrofit of all eligible 737s with blended winglets in early June.
August 2008: Alaska Airlines (ASA) elected Jay Schaefer, VP Finance & Treasurer. (ASA) named Navin Mithel, Managing Director Customer Relationship Management.
(ASA) is currently not accepting Flight Crew (FC) resumes.
September 2008: Alaska Airlines (ASA) said its winter schedule starting November 9 will see a -8% year-over-year capacity cut, leading to a -9% to -10%, or -1,000 employee, workforce reduction, including pilots (FC), flight attendants (CA), mechanics (MT), and other ground workers. It will cancel low-demand flights on Saturdays and holidays, reduce frequencies in some markets, and shift some flying from its 737s to regional subsidiary, Horizon Air's DHC-8-Q400s or CRJ-700s. Chairman & CEO, Bill Ayer explained that the cuts are driven by "the one-two punch of record oil prices and a softening economy, on top of increased competition."
(ASA) reportedly expects to furlough approximately 165 pilots (FC).
(ASA) is trying to capitalize on the overflowing oil wealth in its namesake state. The airline launched a “Permanent Fund” sale for travel to, from, and within Alaska, targeting the state’s residents, all of whom became $3,269 wealthier this month. Each year, the Alaskan state government distributes a dividend from its permanent fund — - mostly oil revenues — - and this year’s dividend was understandably generous. The Permanent Fund currently has $36 billion in assets.
(ASA) launched twice-daily, Seattle - Minneapolis/St Paul aboard 737-800s.
(ASA)'s last MD-80 was retired last month, leaving the carrier with a fleet of 108 737s including 69 737NGs. It has eight more 737NGs scheduled for delivery this year. (ASA) began a program in 2006 to retire its 26 MD-80s and replace them with 737NGs. It noted that the 737-800, of which it now has 37, burns 850 gallons of fuel per hour compared to 1,100 by the MD-80. "A common fleet type also will result in lower costs for maintenance, training and flight crew scheduling," it said.
October 2008: Airplane delivery delays, resulting from the International Association of Machinists strike at Boeing (TBC) will result in a -7% to -8% year-over-year capacity cut in the fourth quarter, rather than the forecast -6.5% to -7%, (AAG) said. It expects to add six 737-800s to the mainline operation in the quarter.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) inaugurated Anchorage - Maui service.
November 2008: Alaska Airlines (ASA) Group named Lynx Aviation (FRO) President & COO, Thomas Nunn as VP Safety, effective November 24.
Delta Air Lines (DAL) and Alaska Air (ASA) Group, expanded their marketing services agreement to give (ASA) passengers more access to (DAL)'s international flights, and (DAL) passengers more access to (ASA)'s western USA network. The new pact, to be implemented next year, builds on an (ASA)-(DAL) agreement launched in 2004, and a code sharing relationship between (ASA) and (DAL) subsidiary, Northwest Airlines (NWA) that goes back more than >20 years. (DAL)/(NWA) will add (ASA)'s code to new (NWA) Seattle (SEA) - Beijing flights launching March 1, and (DAL) Los Angeles (LAX) - Sao Paulo Guarulhos service, scheduled to begin next spring.
By the end of 2009, (DAL) and (NWA) frequent-fliers will have access to (ASA) lounges in Anchorage, (SEA), (LAX), Portland, San Francisco, and Vancouver, and (ASA) frequent fliers will have access to (DAL) and (NWA) lounges worldwide. Elite frequent fliers will have reciprocal access to priority boarding, check-in, seat assignments and upgrades.
Seattle-Tacoma (SEA-TAC) International airport opens its 3rd runway 16R/34L. It is 8,500 feet long and 150 feet wide. (SEA) international airport now allows simultaneous flights on two runways in bad weather, reducing delays from an average 10 minutes to about 2.5 minutes per flight. Cutting delays could save -5 million gallons of jet fuel and -50,000 tons of greenhouse gases per year. It increases (SEA)'s maximum efficient capacity from about 400,000 flights annually to 550,000 flights. This third runway cost $1.01 billion, more than double the preliminary estimate of $430 million. Most of the cost will be paid from a $4.50 fee charged to airline passengers.
December 2008: Alaska Airlines (ASA) parent, the Alaska Air Group promoted Executive VP Finance & Planning and CFO, Brad Tilden to President. Executive VP Customer Service, Glenn Johnson will succeed Tilden in his current position. Also, VP Seattle Operations, Ben Minicucci was named Executive VP Operations & COO; Managing Director Planning, Andrew Harrison was named VP Planning & Revenue Management; and Executive VP Flight & Marketing, Gregg Saretsky will leave the company.
737-4Q8 (25107), returned to (ILFC) (ILF). 737-890 (39044, N516AS), delivery.
January 2009: Alaska Airlines (ASA) flew 1.48 billion (RPM)s traffic in December, down -5.2% year-over-year. Capacity dropped -10.9% to 1.84 billion (ASM)s and load factor was up +4.9 points to 80.7% LF.
Fuel hedge losses, restructuring charges and special items sank Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Horizon Air parent, Alaska Air Group to a -$135.9 million net loss in 2008, reversed from a +$124.3 million profit in 2007.
In the fourth quarter alone, the company recorded a -$80.2 million mark-to-market fuel hedge loss, -$50 million in realized losses related to the early termination of fuel hedge contracts, restructuring charges of $9.2 million and $6.7 million in costs related to the disposal of Horizon's CRJ-700s. It suffered a -$75.2 million loss in the quarter compared to a +$7.4 million profit in the final three months of 2007. "In a year of unprecedented volatility . . . we were pleased to eke out a small profit for 2008 excluding special items and be one of only a few major airlines to do so," Chairman & CEO, Bill Ayer said, adding that the company is "prepared . . . to face whatever hurdles the current year brings."
Full-year revenue increased +4.5% to $3.66 billion, while expenses rose +16.4% to $3.83 billion. (ASA)'s operating result, which included the above charges, swung to a -$172.2 million loss from a +$210.9 million profit in 2007.
The mainline reported a -$153.3 million pre-tax loss in 2008, reversed from a +$215 million profit the previous year. It flew 18.71 billion (RPM)s traffic, up +1.4% year-over-year, while capacity stayed flat at 24.22 billion (ASM)s. Load factor rose +1.1 point to 77.3% LF. Yield was ahead +2.3% to 14.1 cents and operating (RASM) increased +4.7% to 12.1 cents. The fleet numbered 110 airplanes at year end, down from 115 the prior year.
(ASA) will launch twice-daily, Portland, Oregon - Long Beach service on February 8 and will operate a second daily, Anchorage - Chicago O'Hare flight June 7 to August 22.
737-4Q8 (25112) returned to (ILF). 2 737-890s (35197, N517AS; 35693, N518AS), deliveries.
February 2009: Alaska Airlines (ASA) flew 1.35 billion (RPM)s traffic in January, down -4.7% year-over-year. Capacity fell -8.4% to 1.88 billion (ASM)s and load factor rose +2.9 points to 71.7% LF.
(ASA) and the Association of Flight Attendants CWA announced a tentative two-year contract extension covering (ASA)'s 2,830 cabin crew (CA). The deal is subject to ratification by union members and would extend the current contract through April 2012.
(ASA) will launch daily, Seattle - Austin service on August 3 and thrice-weekly, Portland, Oregon - Maui flights on August 7 aboard 737-800s. In addition, seasonal Anchorage - Maui will become year-round.
(ASA) launched a 60-day customer trial of in-flight Wi-Fi service in conjunction with "Row 44" (test airplane - - SEE ATTACHED - - "ASA-ROW 44-FEB09"), allowing passengers aboard a 737-700 to use wireless Internet service on their own laptops or other devices. Service initially will be free. "After a successful trial period, the airline will determine the schedule for rolling out the commercial availability of its wireless Internet service to its entire fleet of airplanes," it said. The product has been in development for more than two years and has been certified by USA (FAA) but has not yet received USA Federal Communications Commission approval for a complete rollout, (ASA) added.
2 737-890s (36481, N520AS; 36482, N519AS), deliveries.
March 2009: Alaska Airlines (ASA) flew 1.27 billion (RPM)s traffic in February, down -10.2% year-over-year. Capacity dropped -10.5% to 1.73 billion (ASM)s, lifting load factor +0.2 point to 73.5% LF.
Continuing eruptions of the Mount Redoubt volcano, in Alaska forced the closure of Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, as workers scrambled to clean up a dusting of ash that could pose a danger to jet engines. (ASA) has canceled 215 flights since the eruptions began on March 22. An (ASA) spokesman said no standby passengers could be accommodated until April 1, at the earliest, due to the large number of cancellations and the rush of spring break travelers.
(ASA) and the Air Line Pilots Association announced an agreement "in concept" on a new four-year labor deal covering 1,500 pilots (FC). Meetings are scheduled this month "to finalize the agreement language," (ASA) said. Negotiations have been ongoing since January 2007.
Later, (ASA) and the Association of Flight Attendants - (CWA) announced the ratification of a two-year contract extension (to April 2012) covering 2,830 employees. The amended deal offers a +1.5% pay increase in 2010 and 2011, and participation in a performance-based incentive plan already offered to (ASA)'s dispatch and management employees.
(ASA) completed a sale-leaseback deal with the Bank of China (BOC)’s Singapore-based BOC Aviation leasing unit (SIL) for six 737-800s. Under the agreement, (ASA) will lease the planes for 12 years. The strategy of selling and leasing back airplanes improves cash positions but also increases operating expenses. (SIL) owns roughly 100 planes with another 70 on firm order.
737-4Q8 (25114, N783AS), returned to (ILFC) (ILF). 2 737-890s (35194, N523AS; 35195, N524AS), deliveries.
April 2009: Alaska Airlines (ASA) flew 1.56 billion (RPM)s traffic in March, down -8.1% from the year-ago month. Capacity fell -9% to 1.91 billion (ASM)s and load factor was up +0.8 point to 81.6% LF.
(ASA) parent, the Alaska Air Group (AAG) lost -$19.2 million in the first quarter, narrowed from a -$37.3 million deficit in the year-ago period, and announced a $15 charge for the first checked bag. That fee comes with a twist, however. It includes a guarantee to compensate passengers with either 2,500 loyalty program miles or $25 off a future flight if their bag is not at the claim 25 minutes after the airplane reaches the gate. "We're adapting to a marketplace in which customers increasingly want the lowest fare possible with the option to pay extra to use other services," Chairman & CEO, Bill Ayer said. "We want to continue matching the lowest fare in the market without being at a revenue disadvantage . . . But we're also going to provide customers more value for what we're charging through the bag service guarantee, which no other airline offers." The fee will not apply to intra-Alaska travel, premium loyalty program members and those flying to Mexico City or Guadalajara. The charge for a second bag will remain at $25 while a third will drop to $50 from $100.
The (AAG)'s first-quarter revenue dropped -11.6% year-over-year to $742.4 million, while costs declined -15.4% to $754.3 million. The operating loss of -$11.9 million was a +77.1% improvement from the -$52 million lost in the first three months of 2008. "While our first-quarter financial results improved over last year due to a significant decline in fuel cost, we're disappointed to report a loss in the quarter. To minimize the impact of the steep decline in air travel demand, we have reduced our schedules, reallocated capacity and taken fare actions," Ayer said.
(ASA) posted a -$6.3 million operating loss compared to a -$37.4 million deficit in the year-ago period. (ASA) flew 4.18 billion (RPM)s, down -7.7%, against a -9.3% drop in capacity to 5.52 billion (ASM)s. Load factor rose +1.3 points to 75.7% LF. Yield was off 3.7% to 12.92 cents on a -1.7% fall in operating (RASM) to 10.71 cents. Operating (CASM) dropped -5.3% to 10.81 cents but rose +11.3% to 8.42 cents excluding fuel.
(ASA) said more than >96% of the more than >2,100 passengers who tried in-flight Internet during a trial launched February 26 said they would use it again, with more than >78% either "extremely" or "very" likely to recommend it. The service was provided by "Row 44" on one 737-700. (ASA) said it will begin evaluating pricing models and intends to make a decision before year end.
(ASA) and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) announced the finalization of a tentative agreement covering 1,455 pilots (FC), concluding more than two years of negotiations. The four-year deal will be presented to (ALPA) members for ratification next month.
(ASA) said it became the first airline approved by the USA (FAA) to conduct its own Required Navigation Performance (RNP) flight validation, which could lead to faster (RNP) procedure approvals.
Director-Aerospace & Technology, Sarah Dalton said that the carrier is not sure how much time it will save but added, "We could probably eliminate six months out of the process." She explained that in the past, "we submit the documentation to the (FAA) for the procedure and they review it and determine whether it is ready for flight validation. This could be anywhere from six months to a year of review." Now, "We are going to go ahead and do the flight validation before we submit anything to the (FAA), so there won't be a lag. They will see the entire package at once."
Captains Kim Rackley and Mike Adams and (RNP) Procedure Developer, Matt King received (FAA) approval in December 2008 and carried out their first validation flight in January in Adak. (ASA) is the only scheduled carrier serving the weather-challenged airport in the Aleutian Islands chain. Interestingly, although (ASA) pioneered (RNP) in the mid-1990s in its namesake state, it has not made the decision to introduce (RNP) at every airport it serves, as Southwest Airlines (SWA) currently is pursuing. Dalton said, "When you get into the Lower 48 [states] most of the airports we serve, are well-equipped with ground-based navaids [and] have very good minimums."
(ASA) is studying whether (RNP) paths can provide "a more efficient way to get into such airports." However, "this requires redesign of airspace . . . it requires a lot of coordination with air traffic, it requires merging of equipped and non-equipped airplanes, it requires additional tools by air traffic, etc, etc, so while that is definitely the direction we want this to go, it is not readily available today." The carrier has (RNP) procedures in place at 23 airports and hopes to add five more this year, including its Seattle hub.
USA airlines' customer service improved for the first time in five years in 2008, researchers from St Louis University and Wichita State University said in releasing their annual "Airline Quality Rating (AQR)" report. Improvement was across the board, with carriers scoring better on baggage handling, on time performance, denied boarding and customer complaints, researchers said. The airline with the best overall (AQR) among the 17 graded was Hawaiian Airlines (HWI), followed by AirTran Airways (CQT), JetBlue Airways (JBL), Northwest Airlines (NWA) and Alaska Airlines (ASA).
Baggage handling improved at all 17 airlines, the report said. "Baggage handling probably needed to improve given the fact that people are now paying for it," Wichita State Associate Professor Dean Headley said. "The airlines would have had a real problem had they lost the same number of bags." AirTran (CQT) had the best baggage handling rate with only 2.87 mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers.
Hawaiian (HWI) had the best on-time performance at 90% while American Airlines (AAL) was worst at 69.8%. (JBL) had the lowest involuntary denied boarding rate at 0.01 per 10,000 passengers while (ASA) was last at 3.89 per 10,000 passengers. Southwest Airlines (SWA) had the lowest consumer complaint rate at 0.25 per 100,000 passengers, while US Airways (AMW)/(USA) had the highest rate of 2.01. Headley said the positive performance for airlines in 2008 should be taken "with a grain of salt," explaining, "We know the system performs better when it's less stressed by higher passenger volume. The economy scared away both business and leisure travelers in 2008."
(ITA) Software signed a multiyear contract renewal with Alaska Air Group covering (ITA)'s ReShop and Reward pre- and post-departure itinerary change solution for Alaska Airlines (ASA).
2 737-890s (35692, N525AS; 35196, N526AS), deliveries.
May 2009: Alaska Airlines (ASA) flew 1.48 billion (RPM)s traffic in April, down -5.9% year-over-year. Capacity dropped -8.3% to 1.87 billion (ASM)s, lifting load factor +2 points to 78.9% LF.
(ASA) pilots (FC) represented by the Air Line Pilots Association ratified a four-year labor agreement that includes pay increases, retirement options for current employees and "work rules that provide increased flexibility for pilots (FC) and improved productivity for the airline," the parties announced. The deal covers 1,455 pilots (FC) and is effective as of April 1, 2009. (ASA)'s defined benefit pension plan will be closed to pilots (FC) hired following ratification; those pilots (FC) will participate in a 401(k) program. Negotiations began in January 2007 and the contract was finalized one month ago.
737-890 (35694, N527AS), delivery.
June 2009: Alaska Airlines (ASA) flew 1.5 billion (RPM)s traffic in May, a -7.5% drop year-over-year. Capacity fell -6.3% to 1.95 billion (ASM)s and load factor was down -1 point to 76.8% LF.
(ASA) will launch daily, San Jose - Austin service on September 2 aboard a two-class 737-800.
(ASA) promoted VP Human Resources, Strategy & Culture, Kelley Dobbs to VP Human Resources & Labor Relations, succeeding the retiring Dennis Hamel.
(ASA) and maintenance technicians (MT) represented by the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association tentatively agreed to a two-year contract extension through October 17, 2011, covering 665 employees. Employee ratification is expected to be completed by late July.
FltOps.com, an assistance service for professional pilots (FC), recently released a report of what each major USA carrier pays its captains and first officers. For the eleven largest USA airlines, including freight carriers FedEx (FED) and (UPS), the average annual pay for a first-year first officer flying the smallest mainline airplane is about $36,000. But the range between the best and worst paying airlines is large, with (FED) paying $51,000 and US Airways (AMW)/(USA) just $22,000. Southwest Airlines (SWA) is the second highest paying at the entry level ($50,000), while Continental Airlines (CAL) and United Airlines (UAL) are tied for second last at $27,000. At the other end of the scale are long tenured captains flying the largest airplanes, who earn an average of $165,000 per year. Again, the cargo carriers are tops with (UPS) and (FED) paying $231,000 and $211,000, respectively. The best paying passenger airline is (SWA) ($181,000), quite remarkable considering its pilots (FC) only fly narrow body 737s. The worst is JetBlue (JBL) ($123,000). Flt.Ops.com notes that pilots (FC) can earn considerably more than their base pay through international overrides, overtime work, per diems and other items.
Recently released federal government employment figures for airline pilots (FC) and mechanics (MT) run counter to data compiled by private organizations and the personal stories of highly-trained pilots (FC) standing in unemployment lines. FltOps.com recently held a pilot (FC) recruiting conference in Dallas-Fort Worth in which only a handful of airlines were on hand to interview pilots (FC). Last year’s event drew 35 airlines, spelling out how drastic the drop in pilot (FC) hiring has been, as air carriers quit hiring and in many case furlough pilots (FC). FltOps.com says the 15 largest USA airlines it tracks hired 2,300 pilots (FC) in 2006 and 2,440 in 2007. But last year, only 1,300 pilots (FC) found jobs. Through the first four months of 2009, only 28 new pilots (FC) joined the 15 air carriers. FltOps.com’s figures jive with that of AIR Inc, the aviation career information service, that for two decades served as a reservoir of data on pilot (FC) hirings. But if anyone needed more evidence of the worsening condition of the airline industry, Air Inc in February this year, shuttered its operation as a result of the sorry state of the economy worldwide, which has produced a dearth of new commercial pilot (FC) jobs as legacy airlines shed capacity, implementing pilot (FC) furloughs and layoffs while also putting off new flight deck crew (FC) hiring.
By the end of 2008, as the recession deepened, it became clear that the future would be bleak for newly minted flight school graduates. Air Inc said airline pilot (FC) hiring totals for 2008 were less than half of what they were the previous year, 6,479 compared to 13,157 in 2007.
However, the federal government says USA scheduled passenger airlines employed +2.3% more pilots (FC) and +5.9% more maintenance (MT) workers in 2008 than in 2007, while total industry jobs declined by -3.0%. According to the USA Department of Transportation (DOT)’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the seven large network carriers employed +1.1% more pilots (FC) and +8.6% more maintenance (MT) workers in 2008 than in 2007. The seven largest low-cost carriers (LCC)s employed +5.2% more pilots (FC) and -6.8% fewer maintenance (MT) workers from 2007 to 2008.
Delta Air Lines (DAL) had the largest increase in pilots (FC) of any network airline from 2007 to 2008,K while Alaska Airlines (ASA) had the greatest percentage decrease in pilot (FC) employment of the network airlines. United Airlines (UAL) had the largest increase in maintenance workers of any network airline from 2007 to 2008, while Northwest Airlines (NWA) had the smallest increase.
All of the low-cost carriers (LCC)s except Frontier Airlines (FRO) added pilots (FC) from 2007 to 2008. Spirit Airlines (SPR) had the largest increase in pilot (FC) employment followed by Allegiant Airlines (WJE). (WJE) had the largest increase in maintenance (MT) workers of any low-cost airline from 2007 to 2008, while (SPR) had the largest reduction. The seven network carriers employed 13.2 pilots per airplane in 2008, down from 13.5 pilots (FC) per airplane in 2007. The (LCC)s employed 11.2 pilots (FC) per airplane in 2008, down -1.8% from 11.4 pilots (FC) per airplane in 2007.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) had 12.0 pilots (FC) per airplane in 2008, down from 12.9 (FC) per airplane in 2007, the fewest of any network airline. Delta (DAL), with 14.9 per airplane, up from 14.3 per airplane in 2008, had the largest increase in the number of pilots (FC) per airplane from 2007 to 2008 and had the most pilots (FC) per airplane of any network carrier.
Allegiant (WJE) had 9.3 pilots (FC) per airplane in 2008, the fewest of any (LCC), compared to 9.6 pilots (FC) per airplane in 2007. Spirit (SPR), with 15.5 (FC) per airplane, up from 12.6 (FC) per airplane in 2007 had the most pilots (FC) per airplane in the (LCC)s group.
As regards airline mechanics (MT), the (BTS) said the passenger airlines had 8.9 maintenance (MT) workers per airplane in 2008, up from 8.3 per airplane in 2007. The network airlines had 12.9 maintenance (MT) workers per airplane in 2008, up from 12.3 (MT) per airplane in 2007. Spending by network airlines for outsourced maintenance increased from 42.5% of total maintenance spending in 2007 to 42.8% in 2008. The (LCC)s had 3.2 maintenance (MT) workers per airplane in 2008, down from 3.7 (MT) per airplane in 2007. Spending by (LCC)s for outsourced maintenance increased from 52.1% of total maintenance spending in 2007 to 54.6% in 2007.
(NWA) had 0.8 maintenance (MT) workers per airplane in 2008, the fewest of any network airline and unchanged from the 0.8 employees per airplane in 2007. (NWA)’s spending for outsourcing maintenance declined from 71.0% of total spending in 2007 to 65.9% in 2008. American Airlines (AAL) had 22.4 maintenance (MT) workers per airplane in 2008, the most of any network airline. (AAL)’s spending for outsourcing was 23.6% of total maintenance spending in 2008, the lowest percentage spending share of the network carriers.
Virgin America (VUS) had 1.7 maintenance (MT) workers per airplane in 2008 the fewest of any (LCC). Of the (LCC)s, Spirit (SPR) spent the smallest portion of its maintenance expense on outsourcing at 22.6%. Southwest (SWA) had the highest percentage share for outsourcing at 61.3%. Frontier (FRO) had 3.9 maintenance (MT) workers per airplane in 2008, the most of any (LCC) but down from 7.7 (MT) employees per airplane in 2007. (FRO)’s spending for outsourcing increased from 20.5% of total maintenance spending in 2007 to 24.9% in 2008.
In the news, Alaska Airlines (ASA) and its mechanics (MT) union produced a tentative agreement on a two-year contract extension, through October 17, 2011. The Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) represents 655 airline technicians (MT). (ASA) and the union announced that they expect the results of the ratification vote by late July. (AMFA) is the largest craft union representing airplane maintenance technicians (MT) and related employees and serves members at (ASA), Mesaba Airlines and (SWA).
But (SWA) pilots (FC) rejected a tentative five-year contract that would have increased their salaries and retirement benefits. Work to reopen contract talks with (SWA) will begin immediately, said Carl Kuwitzky, President of the (SWA) Pilots’ Association. Almost 51% of pilots (FC) voted against the agreement, which was reached in January after >2 years of talks. In the interim, the existing contract remains in effect. >95% of pilots (FC) voted. "We are naturally disappointed and acknowledge it was a very close vote," said Chuck Magill, VP Flight Operations for (SWA). "We reached a tentative agreement in good faith, and both sides put a lot of effort into getting to this point. We have an outstanding and highly productive group of Pilots (FC), and we appreciate their active involvement in the voting process. We welcome the opportunity for our negotiating teams to re-engage and work toward an agreement that best meets the needs of our company and our outstanding pilots during these challenging economic times."
Meanwhile, it is reported that the skies aren’t so friendly for Steffan Schmidt and Chris Campbell. They were recently found on a street in Seattle, at rush hour, holding signs more often used by panhandlers. “Two laid-off pilots (FC)” read Schmidt's sign. “Will Fly for Food” Campbell’s sign said. It’s a small industry, and there aren’t a lot of pilot (FC) gigs on Craigslist or Monster, said Campbell, who lost his job flying a corporate airplane. Schmidt was laid off from his job flying a corporate plane three months ago, and figured they would get some “exposure” by standing at a busy freeway ramp. “The normal way to find employment didn’t cut it,” he said. Schmidt said he wanted to get off unemployment, and not “waste any more tax dollars.” They're seeking pilot (FC) jobs, not handouts, but passersby offered them money and books, which they politely declined.
The Alaska Air Group board authorized a stock repurchase program worth up to $50 million. The company repurchased "nearly" $112 million of its common stock in 2007 and 2008.
737-890 (35695, N528AS), delivery. 737-290C (22577) sold to BCI Aircraft Leasing and leased to Icaro Express (ICR).
July 2009: Alaska Airlines (ASA) flew 1.64 billion (RPM)s traffic in June, a -2.6% decline year-over-year. Capacity was down -4.1% to 2.04 billion (ASM)s and load factor rose +1.2 points to 80.7% LF.
(ASA) and Horizon Air parent, the Alaska Air Group reported second-quarter net income of +$29.1 million, down -53.9% from a +$63.1 million profit in the year-ago period, but said earnings improved excluding special charges owing to significantly lower fuel costs.
The company said its results were affected by $35.8 million in transition costs on (ASA)'s new pilot (FC) contract and mark-to-market fuel hedge gains of +$39.8 million, leading to a net profit of +$26.5 million, excluding special items. That compared to a net loss of -$14.1 million in the 2008 second quarter, excluding +$155.3 million in mark-to-market fuel hedge gains and charges of $32.1 million related to fleet transition. "The biggest driver [of the profit improvement excluding special items] was the dramatic decline in fuel expenses," CFO, Glenn Johnson told analysts and reporters. "We paid -$235 million less to suppliers for raw fuel" in the quarter compared to last year.
Second-quarter consolidated revenue declined -9.3% to $843.9 million, while expenses lowered -5.7% to $777.2 million, producing operating income of +$66.7 million, down -37.4% from +$106.5 million last year. (ASA) posted operating income of +$56.1 million, down -38.8% from +$91.6 million last year, as revenue dipped -8.7% to $749.3 million and expenses decreased -3.1% to $624.3 million. Horizon Air reported operating income of +$11.2 million, down -30.4% from $16.1 million last year, as revenue fell -16.4% to $157.9 million and expenses declined -15.1% to $146.7 million.
Mainline traffic slid -5.3% to 4.61 billion (RPM)s on a -6.2% dip in capacity to 5.85 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 78.8% LF, up +0.7 point. Mainline yield lowered -6.8% to 13.06 cents, as (RASM) fell -2.2% to 11.65 cents, and (CASM) rose +3.3% to 10.67 cents. (CASM) excluding fuel and special charges heightened +9.7% to 8.22 cents.
Looking ahead, Chairman & CEO, Bill Ayer said, "The overriding comment here is just uncertainty . . . We know that business (C) travel is way down. It just comes down to [the question], when will there be a recovery? We're erring on the side of caution and being conservative with capacity."
(ASA) launched thrice-weekly, Bellingham - Las Vegas (to four-times-weekly August 3) aboard a 737-700.
(ASA) began testing continuous descent approaches into Seattle/Tacoma with a 737-700 using Required Navigation Performance (RNP) technology on June 16 during a non-commercial flight. (ASA) pioneered (RNP) in the 1990s for challenging approaches in Alaska. The current effort, dubbed "Greener Skies," is being done in cooperation with the Port of Seattle, Boeing (TBC) and the (FAA) and also will involve regional affiliate Horizon Air. Horizon's DHC-8-Q400 fleet is being equipped for (RNP) as well. (ASA) estimates the procedures will cut fuel consumption by -2.1 million gallons annually and reduce carbon emissions by -22,000 tonnes, "the equivalent of taking 4,100 cars off the road every year." It also will "reduce overflight noise exposure" for an estimated 750,000 people. "With (FAA) approval, we hope the procedures will be available to all carriers and gradually integrated into the Seattle air traffic control (ATC) system," said
VP Flight Operations, Gary Beck.
Naverus said that it received a Letter of Qualification from the USA (FAA) "to design and validate Required Navigation Performance (RNP) flight paths for public use in the USA." As Air Transport World (ATW)'s "2009 Aviation Technology Achievement Award" winner, it has designed more than >300 optimized (RNP) procedures around the world. It said that the (FAA) action "completes more than two years of collaboration [with the (FAA)] to develop new rules, processes and oversight mechanisms to certify Naverus development and testing of public procedures in the USA." CEO, Steve Forte said, "With this Letter of Qualification, Naverus can begin to apply what we've learned in other parts of the world to help accelerate NextGen in the USA. We look forward to working with the (FAA) and operators to implement (RNP) procedures in the USA that reduce airplane fuel burn, CO2 emissions and noise."
Naverus already is working with Southwest Airlines (SWA) and other USA carriers to implement carrier-specific (RNP) procedures in the USA. "The task before us now is to work together to integrate and deploy these advanced navigation procedures into the national airspace," Forte said.
Over the summer, Airservices Australia and Naverus signed a contract to lay the foundation for the world's first nationwide (RNP) network.
August 2009: Alaska Airlines (ASA) flew 1.79 billion (RPM)s in July, up +0.1% year-over-year. Capacity fell -5.4% to 2.12 billion (ASM)s and load factor rose +4.6 points to 84.3% LF.
(ASA) and the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association jointly announced ratification of a two-year contract extension covering the airline's 658 aircraft Maintenance Technicians (MT). The extended contract, which becomes amendable on October 17, 2011, provides the mechanics (MT) with a +1.5% pay increase on October 17 in both 2009 and 2010.
September 2009: Alaska Airlines (ASA) flew 1.78 billion (RPM)s traffic in August, a -0.8% drop year-over-year. Capacity fell 2.9% to 2.11 billion (ASM)s and load factor climbed +1.8 points to 84.3% LF.
(ASA) launched daily, Portland, Oregon - San Jose - Austin service Tuesday aboard a Wi-Fi equipped 737-700. The route becomes twice-daily on March 14. (ASA) will launch daily, Portland - Chicago O'Hare service November 16 aboard a 737. (ASA) launched daily, Houston Intercontinental - Seattle Tacoma service using 737-800s.
October 2009: Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Horizon Air parent, the Alaska Air Group credited capacity cuts, the deployment of airplanes in "promising new markets" and "record operational reliability" for a +$87.6 million third-quarter profit that represented a reversal from the -$86.5 million loss suffered in the year-ago period. Revenue fell -9.2% year-over-year to $967.4 million against a -31.9% drop in costs to $807.6 million, producing a +$159.8 million operating profit. It lost $120 million on an operating level in the 2008 third quarter. A +$7.3 million mark-to-market fuel hedge gain also helped the bottom line.
The Alaska Airlines (ASA) unit reported a +$136.7 million operating profit compared to a -$98.2 million loss in the year-ago quarter. The (ASA) mainline flew 5.02 billion (RPM)s traffic, up +0.2%, against a -3.3% capacity cut to 6.1 billion (ASM)s. Yield dropped -6.7% to 13.98 cents, Operating (RASM) fell -6.2% to 12.74 cents and operating (CASM) declined -29.9% to 10.62 cents. The Group posted a +$97.5 million profit through the first nine months, reversed from a -$60.7 million loss in the year-ago period.
Delta Airlines (DAL) published its summertime 2010 flight schedule, complete with several new long haul international routes. In Asia, for example, an enhanced partnership with Alaska Airlines (ASA) makes it feasible to fly from Seattle to both Beijing and Osaka with 767-300ERs. (ASA) began flying to America’s busiest airport, Atlanta. New Seattle - Atlanta non stops, highlight (ASA)’s growing cooperation with (DAL). (ASA) is breaking its code share links with Continental (CAL) now that (CAL) is no longer in the SkyTeam (STM) alliance.
(ASA) currently has 106 pilots (FC) on furlough.
November 2009: Alaska Airlines (ASA) flew 1.46 billion October (RPM)s traffic, up +3% year-over-year. Capacity fell -1.6% to 1.89 billion (ASM)s and load factor rose +3.4 points to 77% LF.
(ASA) launched service from Oakland to Kahului (four-times-weekly) and Kona (thrice-weekly) aboard a 737-800. (ASA) began daily, Portland - Chicago O'Hare service.
MD-83 (49232) to Perla Airlines (PLA), Venezuela.
December 2009: Alaska Airlines (ASA) will launch service from San Jose, California, to Kahului (thrice-weekly on March 11) and Kona (four-times-weekly on March 12), plus a daily Sacramento - Maui service on March 26.
The USA Air Transport Association (ATA) announced that 15 airlines have signed Memos of Understanding (MOU)s with either AltAir Fuels, Rentech or both expressing nonbinding commitment to support future biofuel supply. Air Canada (ACN), American Airlines (AAL), Atlas Air (TLS), Delta Air Lines (DAL)/(NWA), FedEx Express (FED), JetBlue Airways (JBL), Lufthansa (DLH), Mexicana (CMA), Polar Air Cargo (PAO), United Airlines (UAL), (UPS) Airlines, and US Airways (AMW)/(USA) signed with both providers. Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Hawaiian Airlines (HWI) went with AltAir only and AirTran Airways (CQT) signed with Rentech. The (ATA) said discussions with additional fuel producers "about other projects" have started. "This agreement is a significant step forward, establishing a framework for a large group of diverse carriers to negotiate a definitive fuel purchase agreement," Rentech President & CEO, D Hunt Ramsbottom said.
AltAir is working on producing some 75 million gallons of jet and diesel fuel derived from camelina oils or comparable feedstock per year at a new plant in Anacortes, Washington, USA. Rentech plans to produce around 250 million gallons per year of synthetic jet fuel derived principally from coal or petroleum coke near Natchez, Mississipi, USA with the resultant carbon dioxide sequestered and the carbon footprint potentially further reduced by integrating biomass as a feedstock. Last summer, eight airlines operating at Los Angeles International (LAX) signed a deal with Rentech for the supply of a renewable synthetic diesel fuel for use in ground service equipment (GSE).
(ASA) ramp service and stores agents represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers ratified a two-year contract extension, while 2,800 clerical, office and passenger service employees represented by the same union rejected an identical two-year offer, the airline announced. It said it will reopen negotiations with the latter group in early 2010.
737-4Q8 (28199), returned to (ILF).
January 2010: Alaska Airlines (ASA) December 2009 had 1,612,000 (RPM)s traffic (+8.7%), +5% (ASM) and 83.6% LF. 2009 = 18,362,000 (RPM)s (-1.9%); -4.4% (ASM), 79.3% LF.
(ASA) parent Alaska Air Group cited "positive network changes" as the driver of a return to profitability in 2009, when it posted a +$121.6 million surplus that compared to a -$135.9 million loss in 2008.
The result included a $55.2 million mark-to-market fuel hedge gain and $22.3 million in costs related to a new contract with its pilots (FC). Full-year income of +$88.7 million rose from +$4.4 million on a similar basis. Revenue grew +7.2% to $3.4 billion, while costs were cut -18.3% to $3.13 billion. Operating income reversed to a +$267.4 million profit from a -$172.2 million deficit in 2008.
The Alaska Airlines (ASA) unit suffered a -6.7% decline in operating revenue to $3.01 billion but was able to cut costs -17.1% to $2.78 billion, resulting in a +$228.8 million operating profit that compared to a -$128.9 million loss the prior year. Pre-tax profit was +$183.8 million, reversed from a -$153.3 million 2008 loss.
Passenger boardings fell -7.4% to 15.6 million on a -1.9% dip in (RPM)s to 18.36 billion. Capacity dropped -4.4% to 23.14 billion (ASM)s, lifting load factor +2 points to 79.3% LF. Yield declined -6% to 13.28 cents and unit revenue was down -2.7% to 11.74 cents. Operating (CASM) was reduced -14% to 10.78 cents. (ASA) operated 115 airplanes at year end compared to 110 on December 31, 2008.
The group's fourth-quarter profit of +$24.1 million was reversed from a -$75.2 million loss in the three months ended December 31, 2008. Operating income swung to a +$52.8 million profit from a -$106.7 million deficit on a +2.3% lift in revenue to $846.1 million.
February 2010: Alaska Airlines (ASA) flew 1.47 billion (RPM)s traffic in January, up +9.5% year-over-year, against a +1% lift in capacity to 1.9 billion (ASM)s. Load factor rose +6 points to 77.7% LF.
The nine largest USA airlines posted a cumulative net loss of -$3.43 billion in 2009, considerably improved over a net deficit of -$25 billion in 2008 when heavy goodwill impairment charges and Delta Air Lines (DAL)/Northwest Airlines (NWA) merger costs weighed down the collective bottom line.
Operating loss was -$532 million, significantly narrowed from a -$22.15 billion operating deficit the prior year. A brightening economic environment in the second half of the year helped four of the nine USA majors to post a 2009 net profit and five to earn positive full-year results on an operating basis.
AirTran Airways (CQT) was the top performer with a +$135 million net profit that was reversed from a -$266 million loss in 2008. The Alaska Air (ASA) Group followed with +$122 million in net income. The worst performer was American Airlines (AAL), which posted a -$1.47 billion net loss.
The cumulative 2009 loss was not too severe considering that revenue plunged -15.4% year-over-year to $106.74 billion. The carriers cut capacity -6.2%, outpacing a -5.3% traffic decrease. Load factor grew +0.8 point to 80.8% LF.
Domestic traffic fell even more, with the five legacy international airlines ((AAL), Continental Airlines (CAL), (DAL), United Airlines (UAL) and US Airways (AMW)/(USA)) operating -7.6% fewer collective mainline domestic (RPM)s year-over-year in 2009 on a -8.4% cut in capacity. Domestic load factor for the five was 83.7% LF, up +0.7 point.
But the mostly full airplanes hardly compensated for much lower fares, especially in the first half of the year, leading to an 11.1% yield drop for the nine majors to 12.11 cents. (RASM) decreased -9.6% to 10.32 cents. Helped by lower fuel costs and reduced special charges compared to 2008, (CASM) fell -18.3% to 10.83 cents. (CASM) ex-fuel rose +5% to 7.74 cents.
Alaska Airline (ASA), which tested Row 44's in-flight Internet service last year, has chosen instead to offer Aircell's Gogo in-flight Internet on its passenger fleet, excluding combis, by year end. The decision will prompt Aircell to add coverage in Alaska. It currently provides Wi-Fi coverage in the lower 48 states but said it wants "to ensure the service is available to the airline's namesake state." A 60-day customer trial of Row 44's in-flight Internet conducted on board an (ASA) 737-700 last year found that 96% of passengers would use the service again.
An (ASA) spokesperson said that Row 44 is "a great product" but that the "decision to go with Aircell had to do with their proven track record . . . the equipment is lower in cost, and that coupled with the ease of installation and the speed of installation really weighed heavily on our decision." Gogo can be installed on an airplane during one overnight visit. (ASA) is working with Aircell to install the service on one 737-800 for testing and said it will outfit the rest of its fleet, beginning with 737-800s serving longer routes, "once Aircell's equipment has been certified for (ASA)'s 737s" by the (FAA). Service will start at $4.95 and go up based on flight length and device used. (ASA)'s fleet numbers 115 airplanes.
March 2010: Alaska Airlines (ASA) flew 1.35 billion (RPM)s traffic in February, a +5.9% increase from the year-ago month. Capacity was cut -2.4% to 1.69 billion (ASM)s, lifting load factor +6.3 points to 79.8% LF.
(ASA) will launch service from San Jose, California to Kahului (thrice-weekly) and Kona (four-times-weekly) on March 12.
April 2010: Alaska Airlines (ASA) will launch daily, Portland - Honolulu service September 20 aboard a 737-800.
2 737-890s (35198, N529AS; 36578, N530AS), deliveries.
737-4Q8 (25105, N772AS), returned to (AWAS) (AWW).
May 2010: Alaska Airlines (ASA) flew 1.58 billion (RPM)s traffic in April, a +7.3% increase year-over-year. Capacity was up +2.2% to 1.91 billion (ASM)s, while load factor rose +4 points to 82.9% LF.
737-890 (35199, N531AS), delivery.
June 2010: Alaska Airlines (ASA) flew 1.66 billion (RPM)s traffic in May, a +10.7% increase year-over-year. Capacity was up +4.5% to 2.04 billion (ASM)s, while load factor rose +4.6 points to 81.4% LF.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) has ramped-up its baggage service guarantee, shortening customer wait time from 25 minutes to 20 minutes. If baggage does not reach the claim area within 20 minutes of a flight parking at the gate, customers will have their choice of 2,000 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles or -$20 off a future flight. (ASA) will also start charging customers $20 for each of the first three checked bags, representing a $5 increase for the first checked bag, a $5 decrease for the second and a $30 decrease for the third. (ASA) has have cut the cost of the fourth through 10th checked bags from $100 per bag to $50.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) will launch daily, Seattle - St Louis service on September 27 aboard a 737. (ASA) will launch service to Lihue from San Jose (thrice-weekly, beginning March 27) and Oakland (four-times-weekly, beginning March 28).
The Alaska Air Group (AAG) that Horizon Air President & CEO, Jeff Pinneo is retiring following eight years of guiding the regional carrier and will be replaced by (AAG) Executive VP Finance & CFO, Glenn Johnson. Brandon Pedersen, previously (AAG)'s VP Finance & Controller, was named (AAG) CFO. Pinneo will remain at Horizon for several months to aid in the transition, the company said. (AAG) noted that Pinneo "oversaw substantial improvements in the carrier's operational performance and customer satisfaction" and during his tenure it garnered several awards, including being named Air Transport World (ATW)'s "Regional Airline of the Year" in 2007.
Johnson announced that he will "launch a comprehensive review of Horizon's market position and fleet and financial performance," according to (AAG). The regional last week reached an "agreement in principle" on a new labor contract with its 686 pilots (FC). Its first-quarter operating loss narrowed to -$1.6 million from -$5.2 million in the year-ago period.
737-890 (36346, N532AS), delivery, ex-(N1782B).
July 2010: Alaska Airlines (ASA) flew 1.83 billion (RPM)s traffic in June, a +11.5% increase from the year-ago month. Capacity rose +6.4% to 2.17 billion (ASM)s and load factor grew +3.9 points to 84.6% LF.
The Alaska Air Group reported second-quarter net income of +$58.6 million, double the +$29.1 million profit earned in the year-ago period, attributing the increase to "strong revenues and good cost control." Group operating revenue jumped +15.7% to $976.4 million, while expenses climbed +11.5% to $866.5 million. Despite "higher fuels costs," operating income rose from +$66.7 million in the year-ago quarter to +$109.9 million this year. The fuel bill heightened +98.6% to $255 million. Excluding mark-to-market pre-tax fuel hedge losses of -$37.6 million and CRJ-700 pre-tax transition charges of $3.4 million, the company reported net income of +$84 million for the quarter.
Alaska Airlines (ASA)'s revenue rose +16.4% to $872.5 million against a +10.4% lift in expenses to $765.2 million. (ASA) posted operating income of +$107.3 million, up +91.3% over +$56.1 million in the year-ago quarter. Alaska (ASA) mainline flew 5.07 billion (RPM)s, a +10% rise year-over-year, on a +4.4% increase in capacity to 6.11 billion (ASM), producing a load factor of 83% LF, up +4 points. Its yield rose +6% to 13.85 cents as (RASM) lifted +10.9% to 12.92 cents. (CASM) heightened +5.9% to 11.3 cents. (CASM) ex-fuel fell -5.2% to 7.79 cents.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) announced it exercised options for two additional 737-800s in a deal valued at approximately $153 million at list prices.
(ASA) completed outfitting all 55 of its 737-800s as well as 10 737-900s with Aircell's Gogo in-flight Internet service, representing more than half of (ASA)'s fleet. It said the service will be available on its remaining two 737-900s by the end of the month and on its remaining 737-400s and 737-700s by year end.
Alaska Airlines (ASA), Boeing (TBC), Portland International, Seattle-Tacoma International, Spokane International and Washington State University announced that they will examine biomass options "within a four-state area" exploring "all phases of developing a sustainable biofuel industry." The project, dubbed Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest, will include an analysis of potential biomass sources that are indigenous to the Pacific Northwest. Sources to be examined include algae, camelina, wood byproducts and other agriculturally based oilseeds. Boeing Commercial Airplanes (TBC) President & CEO, Jim Albaugh said, "Developing a sustainable aviation fuel supply now is a top priority both to ensure continued economic growth and prosperity at regional levels and to support the broader aim of achieving carbon-neutral growth across the industry by 2020."
Biofuel development for the aviation industry is still in the "chicken-and-egg stage," AltAir Principal Bryan Sherbacow said at Air Transport World (ATW)'s Eco-Aviation Conference in Washington. The Pacific Northwest effort vowed to explore all phases of developing a sustainable biofuel industry, including biomass production and harvest, refining, transport infrastructure and actual use by airlines, with an aim of identifying "potential pathways" and "necessary actions" needed to make biofuel a commercially viable option for airline operators in the region. The project will be managed by Northwest-based environmental nonprofit Climate Solutions, with the first meeting slated to take place later this month.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) said it flew a 737-700 on a test flight over Puget Sound using Required Navigation Performance (RNP) guidance and demonstrated eight continuous descent approaches into Seattle-Tacoma, reducing carbon dioxide emissions "by -35% compared to a conventional landing."
The test flight was conducted in conjunction with the Port of Seattle, Boeing (TBC) and the (FAA). "With a landing weight similar to a typical passenger flight, the shorter and more efficient approaches reduced carbon emissions and saved -400 pounds of fuel per approach," (ASA) said. (ASA) added that it "estimates the new [RNP] procedures at Sea-Tac [if approved by the (FAA) and made broadly operational] will cut fuel consumption by -2.1 million gallons annually and reduce carbon emissions by -22,000 metric tons, the equivalent of taking 4,100 cars off the road every year. They will also reduce overflight noise for an estimated 750,000 people living below the affected flight corridor."
COO, Ben Minicucci noted that "Seattle has the highest percentage of advanced (RNP)-equipped planes in the nation" and "could serve as a blueprint for next-generation aviation technology throughout the country."
(ASA)'s fleet is "completely (RNP)-equipped" and its crews "fully trained" to operate the new procedures, (ASA) said.
(ASA) will launch thrice-weekly, San Jose - Los Cabos service on November 20 aboard a 737-700.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) entered into a code share agreement with Icelandair (ICE) under which (ICE) will place its code "on select Alaska flights," the carriers said. Agreement also includes a reciprocal frequent flier partnership to be launched this fall.
"As we celebrate one year of service from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, we are pleased to strengthen the bridge for West Coast travelers wanting to explore Europe," Icelandair (ICE) General Manager for the Americas, Thorsteinn Egilsson said. "Alaska Airlines (ASA)'s route network complements passengers connecting through Seattle on Icelandair (ICE)."
"Alaska Airlines (ASA) is delighted to welcome Icelandair (ICE) as our newest Mileage Plan and code share partner," stated Alaska Director of Customer Loyalty & Marketing Programs, Rick Rasmussen. "Icelandair (ICE) offers affordable and convenient options for our customers to earn or redeem miles for travel to Iceland and beyond."
August 2010: Alaska Airlines (ASA) flew 1.99 billion (RPM)s in July, a +11% increase on the year-ago month, while capacity rose +7.1% to 2.27 billion (ASM)s. Load factor rose +3.1 points to 87.4% LF.
(ASA) on January 7 plans to launch daily nonstop services from Bellingham International Airport in Washington to Honolulu. (ASA) will operate a 157-seat, two-class 737-800 on the route. Bellingham is located about 110 miles north of (ASA)'s hub at Seattle-Tacoma international Airport, and a little less than 50 miles from Vancouver. It has also been a major base for Allegiant Travel Company’s Allegiant Air (WJE) operations since early 2008. Allegiant (WJE) early this year started taking delivery of 757s to expand its network to Hawaii. No services have been announced, but Bellingham is believed to be a potential route. Alaska Airlines (ASA) started serving Hawaii in 2007.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is scheduled to install its first full-body scanner next month, stirring a local debate over privacy, safety and effectiveness. While a (TSA) spokesman says the machines are safe and effective, with built-in safeguards for travelers' privacy, they have agreed to make the screening optional. Other airports also warn Seattle may see longer security lines as the new machines are introduced. "There was a learning curve on the part of passengers and (TSA) personnel," says the operations manager at El Paso International Airport, which got its scanners in June.
September 2010: Alaska Airlines (ASA) flew 1.96 billion mainline (RPM)s traffic in August, up +10% year-over-year, on a +7.1% increase in capacity to 2.26 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 86.5% LF, up +2.2 points.
(ASA) will launch thrice-weekly, San Jose - Los Cabos service on December 4, two weeks later than initially planned. (ASA) will increase its flights in the Mexican business markets and take advantage of Mexicana's problems by connecting both Sacramento and San Jose (California) with Guadalajara. These flights operated with 737-800s, will begin in December and join existing flights to Guadalajara from Los Angeles.
(ASA) launched daily, Seattle – St Louis service with a 737.
Orbitz Worldwide announced that Alaska Airlines (ASA) has selected the Orbitz Worldwide Distribution private label solution to power hotel and car rental search and booking capabilities on its website. The new offering is built on iSeatz's highly flexible OneView In-Path Plus platform that allows (ASA) to seamlessly offer other travel products within its primary flight booking path and checkout process, whether booked stand-alone or as part of a package.
Aircell announced it has installed its Gogo In-flight Internet service on the 1,000th airplane to be equipped, a Delta Air Lines (DALO) DC-9. (DAL) currently has 527 out of a planned 549 Gogo installations complete, Aircell said. "This is a big milestone for our company and for consumers who want to stay connected at 30,000 feet," Aircell President & CEO, Michael Small stated. "A few years ago Internet on a commercial flight was unheard of, and today it is commonplace."
This month, Aircell equipped a total of 32 airplanes for Delta (DAL) (A320s, 757s, DC-9s), American Airlines (AAL) (737-800s) and Alaska Airlines (ASA) (737-700s). The service is currently available on approximately "one-third of all mainline domestic airplanes," it said, roughly translating to 3,800 daily flights, up from 2,100 last year.
"We have a couple hundred airplanes in the pipeline, about half of which we will install by end of year," an Aircell spokesperson said. "We continue to look for additional opportunities with our existing airlines partners and new airline partners." The in-flight connectivity provider said it expects to begin installations on Frontier Airlines (FRO)'s airplanes "very soon."
October 2010: Alaska Airlines (ASA) flew 1.64 billion mainline (RPM)s traffic in September, up +12.9% year-over-year, on a +7.8% increase in capacity to 2.01 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 81.5% LF, up +3.6 points.
(ASA) launched daily San Diego - Maui service.
Seattle Tacoma International Airport has received an $18.3-million grant from the (FAA), the largest issued by the (FAA) under its Voluntary Airport Low Emission (VALE) program, to build a central preconditioned air plant. Airplane docking at Sea-Tac gates will be able to turn off auxiliary power units (APU)s and tap into the common heating and air conditioning system, improving air quality and saving fuel. FAA Administrator, Randy Babbitt praised the Port of Seattle, the Alaska Air Group and the Boeing Conpany for the "Greener Skies Over Seattle" program, which employs satellite-based technology to test direct and optimal descent profiles at Sea-Tac.
November 2010: October's load factor neared 82% LF at Alaska Airlines (ASA) as a +15.9% (RPM) traffic gain outstripped a +9.1% (ASM) increase in capacity. For the year to date, (ASA) says traffic is up +10.1%, while capacity has increased +4.6%.
(ASA) will operate four-times-weekly, 737-800 Portland, Oregon - Kona service through April 9.
The USA (FAA) awarded its largest Voluntary Airport Low Emission (VALE) grant for an $18.3 million project at Seattle-Tacoma International airport to improve air quality and reduce the use of conventional fuels at the airport. With the (VALE) grant, Sea-Tac (SEA) will install a centralized pre-conditioned air plant that will enable airplanes arriving at gates to shut off their Auxiliary Power Units (APU)s and connect to a cleaner central heating and cooling system, greatly reducing airplane emissions on the ground.
(FAA) Administrator, Randy Babbitt announced the grant during a press conference in Seattle, where he highlighted environmental efforts under way at Sea-Tac and by the Alaska Air (ASA) Group as examples of the kind of innovative work being done in the aviation community. “The (FAA) is encouraging airlines and airports to find creative ways to reduce aviation’s impact on the environment,” Babbitt said. “NextGen technology will also help aviation go even greener by significantly reducing the amount of fuel burned during air travel.”
The entire project is estimated to cost just over >$33 million. The $18.3 million grant funding will cover the first phase, which will include 53 of Sea-Tac's 81 gates. Phase one construction is expected to begin shortly and be completed by the end of 2011, with the entire program finished by the end of 2012. Remaining costs will be paid through Airport Development Funds, which come directly from fees charged to airlines.
Once installed, CO2 emissions are expected to be reduced by more than >-50,000 tonnes, with airlines saving up to -5 million gallons of fuel and -$10 million in fuel costs per year. The CO2 savings are equivalent to taking 8,700 cars off the road. The project is expected to create 120 jobs. Since the first (VALE) grant award in 2005, the (FAA) has funded 40 projects totaling $83 million.
Babbitt also discussed the innovative program underway in the Sea-Tac area known as "Greener Skies over Seattle." The project began in early 2009 with Alaska Airlines (ASA), the Port of Seattle and Boeing (TBC) using NextGen satellite-based technologies to provide more direct and optimized descent paths to landing.
Navtech reached a contract extension with Alaska Airlines (ASA) to continue to provide its Preferential Bidding System flight crew (FC) planning tool. Of the 86.4% of (ASA)’s In-flight Crew (FC) members voting 70.6% agreed to retain the system, Navtech said.
December 2010: November's (RPM)s were up +15.5% at Alaska Airlines (ASA), while the monthly passenger count rose almost +11% to 1.35 million. Capacity rose by nearly +10%, pushing the passenger load factor up to 83.9% LF, compared to 80% LF a year earlier.
(ASA) launched service to Guadalajara from San Jose, California (four-times-weekly) and Sacramento (thrice-weekly).
(ASA) announced it has nearly deployed Gogo Wi-Fi statewide in Alaska with recent availability on flights from southeast Alaska to Anchorage and Fairbanks. Since May, (ASA) has installed the service from Aircell on more than >70% of its 737s and aims for complete fleet-wide installation in early 2011.
"We're pleased to be able to offer in-flight Wi-Fi service to our customers flying from Southeast Alaska to Anchorage and Fairbanks," said (ASA) VP Marketing, Joe Sprague. "For our business travelers, especially, the ability to access e-mail and the Internet is a great benefit."
(ASA) currently provides Gogo as a complimentary service, but will charge an introductory cost of $4.95 per flight to, from and within Alaska, beginning December 9. Within the lower 48 states, it will provide Gogo for $4.95 and up, based on length of flight and device used. Passengers with Wi-Fi enabled devices can access the Web, send and receive e-mail and connect to virtual private networks with the service, which becomes available above >10,000 feet. (ASA) launched the service in October.
Boeing (TBC) is introducing a new subscription-based "In-Flight Optimization Services" harnessing (NASA) (NAS) technology and existing equipment to offer airlines fuel savings and increased environmental efficiency. "Direct Routes" and "Wind Updates" are designed to be implemented within current air traffic and airline operating procedures using current communication channels, according to Director Airline Efficiency Services, Mike Lewis. “No regulatory changes and little to no new equipment is needed, while no upfront costs are involved,” he told Air Transport World (ATW)'s "Eco-Aviation Today." “The new suite of products provides live actionable, flight-specific advisories and is available for the full fleet, not just Boeing (TBC) airplanes, and importantly, it works within the current air traffic system and airline procedures.”
"Direct Routes" provides up-to-the-minute information to airlines and flight crews, enabling adjustments en route to account for weather and air traffic control (ATC) status. The savings are significant. Initial (TBC) projections show that Direct Routes can save more than >40,000 minutes of flight time per year for a medium-size USA airline.
The systems are based on (NASA) (NAS)’s "Direct-To" software that was developed in the late 1990s. The program brings together weather, winds, aircraft performance, airline model, the user’s business objectives, traffic sequence, flow and airspace constraints and advises the airline operations center of any (ATC)-approvable efficiency opportunities. “To increase the likelihood of air traffic controller approval and to keep workload to a minimum, the advisories are pre-checked for traffic conflicts, wind conditions, established airspace constraints and other factors,” says Lewis. (TBC) has collaborated with (NASA) (NAS), Continental Airlines (CAL), and Southwest Airlines (SWA) in the development of Direct Routes to ensure operational viability and assess the benefits, and has shared details of the project and its findings with the (FAA).
(TBC)’s other In-Flight Optimization Services offering, "Wind Updates," increases fuel efficiency and improves airplane performance by sending datalink messages directly to the flight deck with real-time, flight-customized wind information. “These messages enable the airplane's flight management computer (FMC) to recalculate flight control inputs based on more accurate and precise information,” Lewis says. “Currently, if flight crews (FC)s obtain wind data prior to departure, that data can be as much as 12 to 20 hours old as a flight approaches its destination. Inaccurate and limited weather data can prevent airplanes from operating at optimum speeds, altitudes and trajectories. Wind Updates delivers a fleet wide solution using existing on board equipment and requiring minimal investment." (TBC) projects potential savings of -100 to -200 lbs or more fuel for the descent portion of a typical single-aisle airplane flight and is conducting operational trials with (KLM) Royal Dutch Airlines and Alaska Airlines (ASA). Both services will be available beginning in 2011.
(ASA) recalled 6 pilots (FC) in November and currently has 81 Flight Crew (FC) on furlough.
737-790 (30662), returned to (ILF).
January 2011: Aided by a +13.3% (RPM) rise in December, Alaska Airlines (ASA) says its traffic grew +10.8% for all of 2010, reaching 20.35 billion revenue passenger miles (RPM)s. Full-year capacity was up 5.6% (ASM), while occupancy rose +4 points to 83.3% LF. For December alone, planes flew 85.6% full, and 80.9% of flights arrived on time.
The Alaska Air Group says net income increased to +$64.8 million in the fourth quarter, up from +$24.1 million in the same period in 2009. Revenue rose +13%, surpassing Wall Street expectations, despite a -2.6% (RPM) decline in traffic. (ASA) trimmed capacity -5.8% (ASM), helping boost occupancy to 76.6% LF.
Full year net income was +$251.1, compared to net income of +$121.6 million in 2009.
Some 2,600 office and passenger-service workers represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers have voted to ratify a new three-year contract with (ASA). More than >90% of voting members approved the pact, which includes pay raises, bonuses and productivity improvements.
In a textbook preemptive move, Alaska Airlines (ASA) began flying to Honolulu from Bellingham, an airport located between Seattle and Vancouver, BC, Canada. The idea is to prevent Allegiant Airlines (WJE), which already serves eight destinations from Bellingham, from getting a foothold in the Hawaii market, one that’s increasingly key to (ASA)’s fortunes. (WJE) is buying 757s to start Hawaii service later this year. Of course, Air Canada (ACN) and WestJet (WJI) also fly to Honolulu from Vancouver, BC, while (ASA) and Delta Airlines (DAL) have Honolulu non-stops from Seattle. It might not be long before Southwest (SWA) enters the Hawaii market using 737-800s (which start arriving in 2012), although it would probably fly there from California, where it has stronger brand loyalty. (ASA) is also using 737-800s for its new Bellingham flights.
(ASA) was named the winner of the "2011 Airline Technology Leadership" awarded by the Air Transport World (ATW) magazine - - SEE ATTACHED - - "ASA-2011-01-ATW AIR TECHNOLOGY AWARD.".
(ASA) has the No 1 spot in the USA Department of Transport "on-time performance" among the 10 largest USA airlines for the last twelve months. (ASA) achieved a 2010 on-time performance record of 87.36%. The average on-time performance was 79.18% for this category which includes airlines based in North America and operating at least 30,000 annual scheduled flights within North America.
(ASA) ordered 15 new 737 airplanes, including 13 737-900ER (extended range) and 2 737-800s, for delivery in 2012 through 2014.
737-790 returned to (ILF) and leased to Lucky Air (LKY) as (B-5272). 2 737-890s (35201, N533AS; 35202, N534AS), deliveries.
February 2011: Alaska Airlines (ASA) flew 1.71 billion mainline (RPM)s traffic in January, up +15.8% year-over-year, on a +12.4% increase in capacity to 2.13 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 80.0% LF, up +2.3 points.
(ASA) will increase its 737-800 service to Maui from Oakland (four-times-weekly) and San Jose (thrice-weekly) June 5 to daily. It will discontinue its San Jose - Austin service on May 6.
(ASA) currently has 51 pilots (FC) on furlough with more recalls to come.
March 2011: Alaka Airlines (ASA) launched four-times-weekly, Oakland, California - Lihue service. It will also increase its four-times-weekly, Oakland - Kahului service to daily on June 5.
April 2011: Alaska Airlines (ASA) will this year begin a "major renovation project" for its facilities at Los Angeles International (LAX), moving from Terminal 3 to Terminal 6 in late 2011, and integrating its "Airport of the Future" check-in process and "modernized" gate facilities. The new location will open for operations in spring 2012.
"Our modern Airport of the Future facility will improve efficiency and greatly enhance our customers' experience at (LAX)," said Alaska Airlines (ASA) Managing Director Corporate Real Estate, Karen Gruen. "And our new location at Terminal 6 will provide faster and more convenient connections for our customers on Mexico flights and for those arriving or departing on code share flights served by our partner, Delta Air Lines (DAL)." (DAL) operates from Terminal 5.
"This is a big step forward in the overall modernization of (LAX) because Alaska Airlines (ASA) is partnering with us to provide much-needed upgrades to the level of service and convenience for not only our international, but also for our domestic travelers," said Los Angeles World Airports Executive Director, Gina Marie Lindsey.
The Alaska Air Group (AAG), parent of Alaska Airlines (ASA), earned +$74.2 million in first-quarter net income, considerably widened from a +$5.3 million net profit in the year-ago period. Revenue lifted +16.3% year-over-year to $965.2 million.
Excluding mark-to-market fuel hedge gains of +$82 million (+$51 million after tax) and a $10.1 million charge ($6.3 million after tax) for retiring CRJ-700s, (AAG) reported first-quarter net income of +$29.5 million, more than double net income of +$13.1 million on a similar basis in the 2010 March quarter.
"These results are due to strong passenger demand," Chairman & CEO, Bill Ayer told analysts and reporters. "Our results were driven by record load factors and improving yield, partially offset by a significant increase in fuel costs. We had 80% LF or higher load factors at Alaska in both January and February for the first time ever. We are optimistic but also cautious about the rest of the year. We know that as fares go up with rising fuel prices, demand will be impacted at a certain point."
First-quarter expenses rose +3.4% to $831.4 million and operating income was +$133.8 million, a more than five times increase over a +$25.7 million operating profit in the year-ago quarter. Mainline traffic jumped +18% to 5.28 billion (RPM)s on a +14.7% rise in capacity to 6.35 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 83.1% LF, up +2.4 points. Yield improved +1.4% to 13.31 cents as (RASM) increased +3.6% to 12.36 cents. (CASM) ex-fuel, lowered -6.8% to 7.83 cents.
May 2011: Boeing (TBC) and Alaska Airlines (ASA) are working together to develop a "Component Management Optimization Program" under which (ASA) has agreed to use its fleet and Seattle-based Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) organization to "develop, test and validate" Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID) and "Contact Memory Button" (CMB) technology that can be used to track parts information such as serial numbers, manufacturing date and maintenance history. (TBC), in partnership with Fujitsu, will provide automated identification technology devices, device readers, software applications and system integration service.
"Together, (TBC) and (ASA) are pioneering this innovative technology for use on airplanes and within airline operations," said Boeing VP Information Services, Per Noren. "This exciting solution is paving the way towards a more digital airline."
The program is expected to launch in the fourth quarter and will be available for both (TBC) and non-Boeing (TBC) fleets, (TBC) said.
(GE) Aviation (GEC) Performance-based Navigation (PBN) Services business deployed the first public-use, Required Navigation Performance (RNP) procedure in Alaska at Deadhorse. The optimised instrument approach procedures will increase schedule reliability into Deadhorse, while reducing fuel burn, CO2 emissions and flight time.
The Deadhorse procedures became available for public use just four months after (GEC) submitted documentation to the (FAA) for processing, transmittal and publication. Last August, (GEC) became the first commercial third-party to deploy a public instrument flight procedure in the USA.
Deadhorse is located more than >200 miles north of the Arctic Circle and is an important staging point for personnel and equipment bound for Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay and North Slope oil operations. The airport has approximately 189 arrivals per week, including commercial service, air taxi, and general aviation operations. However, due to inclement Arctic weather, it’s not uncommon for ground-based navigation aids to go out of service, causing flight delays and cancellations.
The (RNP) procedures, which will save qualified operators up to four track miles compared to existing (RNAV) arrival procedures, allow the use of onboard technology to follow a precise path, independent of aging ground-based navigation beacons. When the ground-based system is out of service, the Deadhorse (RNP) procedures will enable qualified airplanes to land during low visibility weather conditions that previously would have prevented them from landing – on average, 26 days a year.
(RNP) procedures, an advanced form of (PBN), can be deployed at any airport, allowing airplanes to fly very precise paths with an accuracy of less than a wingspan. This precision allows pilots (FC) to land the airplane in weather conditions that would otherwise require them to hold, divert to another airport, or even cancel the flight before departure. In addition, since the procedures are very precise, they can be designed to shorten the distance an airplane has to fly en-route, and to reduce fuel burn, exhaust emissions and noise pollution in communities near airports. Because of (RNP)’s precision and reliability, the technology can help air traffic controllers to reduce flight delays and alleviate air traffic congestion.
SEE ATTACHED "SEATTLE TIMES" ARTICLE - - "ASA-2011-05-MERGERS-A/B/C."
June 2011: In a move to both enhance flight safety and reduce its impact on the environment, Alaska Airlines (ASA) has begun distributing iPads to its pilots (FC) to replace up to 25 pounds of required paper flight manuals. (ASA) said it has "been exploring the idea of an electronic flight bag (EFB) for several years."
The 1.5-lb iPads will be issued to all (ASA)'s pilots (FC) by mid-June, following a successful trial by 100 line and instructor pilots (FC) in conjunction with the Air Line Pilots Association this past winter and spring. "When the iPad hit the market, we took one look at it and said 'this is the perfect fit,'" said AS VP Flight Operations, Gary Beck.
The iPads will include the "GoodReader" app, loaded with (PDF) versions of 41 flight, systems and performance manuals, reference cards and other materials that can be updated with a tap of the screen. The iPad is stowed during takeoff and landing under USA (FAA) regulations, as it is considered a Class 1 electronic device.
Along with the "GoodReader" App, (ASA) is also exploring the possibility of moving to electronic navigation charts on the iPad. Together, these two initiatives, which (ASA) has dubbed, "Bye, Bye Flight Bag," could produce an estimated savings of -2.4 million pieces of paper. It expects project costs to be offset by “lower paper, printing and distribution expenses and reduced fuel consumption as some weight is removed from the airplane."
July 2011: Alaska Airlines (ASA) parent, the Alaska Air Group reported second-quarter net income of +$28.8 million, down -50.9% from a +$58.6 million profit in the prior-year period, on a +13.7% lift in revenue to $1.11 billion.
SEE PHOTO - - "ASA-737-790WL-PORTLAND TIMBERS-2011-07" which shows the result of Alaska Airlines (ASA) sponsorship with the Portland Timbers MSL soccer team.
(ASA) will launch daily, San Diego - Honolulu service on November 17.
August 2011: Alaska Airlines (ASA) will increase Oakland service to Kona (thrice-weekly) and Lihue (four-times-weekly) as well as San Jose service to Kona (four-times-weekly) and Lihue (thrice-weekly) to daily service on March 12, 2012.
September 2011: Alaska Airlines (ASA) has upgraded its iPhone and iPod application with new features, including the ability to check-in and access mobile boarding passes within the app. Passengers can check flight status and boarding information, create text or email flight alerts, and select or change seat assignments.
The USA (FAA) said it is proposing a $590,000 civil penalty against Alaska Airlines (ASA) for allegedly operating a 737-400 on 2,107 flights without performing required maintenance after chafed wiring, resulting from an improperly installed hose clamp, caused a 2010 flight deck ceiling fire while the plane was parked at the gate at Anchorage International.
(ASA) had most recently performed maintenance in the burned area in August 2008, according to the (FAA), which noted (ASA) subsequently discovered the same problem existed on nine other 737-400s in its fleet and made corrections. There were no other fires.
“Maintenance work has to be performed precisely and correctly every time,” said (FAA) Administrator, Randy Babbitt. “Improper maintenance can have serious consequences.”
Alaska Airlines (ASA) named Daniel Chun its new Regional Manager of Sales & Community Marketing for Hawaii. Chun, who is based in Honolulu, will lead (ASA)'s marketing and community outreach efforts to the four Hawaiian Islands.
October 2011: Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Horizon Air parent, the Alaska Air Group reported third-quarter net income of +$77.5 million, down -36.7% from +$122.4 million in the year-ago quarter.
“In this quarter, we saw strong demand in all of our regions,” Alaska Air Group Chairman & CEO, Bill Ayer said. “Fuel prices were much higher and offset much of our revenue gains. Traffic gains outpaced the +5% capacity growth leading to higher load factors.”
Excluding mark-to-market fuel hedge losses of -$84.3 million and fleet transition charges of $2 million, the company reported a record third-quarter net income of +$131.1 million, compared to net income of +$118.1 million on a similar basis in the third quarter of 2010.
Group operating revenue rose +12.2% to $1.2 billion, while expenses increased +23.9% to $1.05 billion, producing an operating profit of +$143.2 million, down -34% on the prior-year quarter.
(ASA)’s revenue rose +25.1% to $1.2 billion, while expenses increased +27% to $976.4 million, producing an operating profit of +$219.7 million, up +17.2% from $187.5 million in the prior-year quarter.
(ASA) mainline flew 6.04 billion (RPM)s, a +8.2% rise year-over-year, on a +6% rise in capacity to 6.93 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 87% LF, up +1.7 points. Its yield rose +5.3% to 14.7 cents as (RASM) lifted +6.8% to 14.15 cents. (CASM) ex-fuel was 7.27 cents, down -3.3%.
(ASA) President, Brad Tilden said (ASA)’s decision to redeploy 21 airplanes to more profitable routes has proved successful.
Looking to 2012, Ayers said (ASA)'s plan is to “grow capacity by +5%, taking advantage of the Hawaiian markets and opportunistic growth in markets that competitors have recently pulled out of. For example, we will add regional capacity in the Seattle - Spokane and Seattle - Boise markets in January.”
(ASA) will launch daily, Seattle - Kansas City, Missouri service March 12 and daily, Portland, Oregon - San Jose, California - Palm Springs service on February 17.
November 2011: Alaska Airlines (ASA) will launch daily, Honolulu service to Oakland and San Jose on April 10. (ASA) It also launched daily, San Diego - Honolulu service.
Alaska Airlines (ASA)'s 626 airplane technicians (MT), represented by the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA), ratified a new five-year contract. The agreement includes annual pay raises, additional job protection provisions, a long-term contract bonus, and a shared commitment to work on minimizing health-care cost increases.
"This contract recognizes the professionalism and skill of our technicians and provides long-term security for our employees, the union and the airline," AS VP Maintenance & Engineering, Fred Mohr said.
(ASA) and the (AMFA) reached a tentative agreement on the new contract in October. The new contract becomes amendable October 17, 2016.
December 2011: Alaska Airlines (ASA) will resume daily, Portland, Oregon - Long Beach service on March 12.
The (FAA) is proposing a $777,000 civil penalty against Horizon Air Industries (ASA) for allegedly operating 32 Bombardier DHC-8-400 turboprops on 49,870 flights between October 19, 2009 and March 17, 2010 when the airplanes were not in compliance with federal aviation regulations. The (FAA) alleged Horizon Air installed new external lighting systems on the airplanes, but did not conduct required tests for radio frequency and electromagnetic interference before returning the airplanes to service. Horizon immediately completed tests and inspections of all 32 airplanes before further flights, the (FAA) said.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) has named Greg Mays as Managing Director Airframe, Engine & Component (MRO). Mays previously served as Managing Director Global Cargo Ops for Delta Air Lines (DAL).
Alaska Air (AS) Cargo announced a cargo tracking service called Alaska Mobile Track, which allows its cargo customers to track and monitor shipments from a mobile phone. With the service, customers send a text message to (AS) Cargo with their air waybill number and receive a text response with tracking information.
January 2012: Alaska Airlines (ASA) was again a winner in the Air Transport World (TW) magazine awards, this year being selected to receive the "2012 Joseph S Murphy Industry Service" award that recognizes an organization that has not only demonstrated exceptional service which benefits the airline industry, but has also brought credit to the airline industry by performing outstanding public service. (ASA) is involved with numerous environmental and corporate-giving charities that include Make-A-Wish Foundation, Angel Flight West, Special Olympics, and Shriners Hospital for Children, and Business Opportunities for Leadership Diversity (BOLD).
The Alaska Air Group (AAG), parent of Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Horizon Air, reported 2011 net income of +$244.5 million, up +2.6% from +$225.1 million year-over-year, in its second consecutive year of record earnings.
(AAG) Chairman & (CEO), Bill Ayer said that the improvement was the result of company initiatives, including “schedule optimization and network expansion, high load factors, lower non-fuel unit costs and operational performance.” Ayer called the group’s 2011 performance the “best fiscal year in adjusted profit in our history,” although fourth-quarter earnings were down slightly from the year-ago quarter.
Consolidated full-year revenue totaled $4.32 billion, up +12.7% from 2010, while expenses climbed +15.1% to $3.87 billion, producing an operating income of +$448.9 million, down -4.8% from a +$471.6 million operating profit in the prior year.
(ASA)’s mainline traffic rose +11% to 22.6 billion (RPM)s on a +8.5% lift in capacity to 26.52 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 85.2% LF, up +1.9 points. Yield increased +3.5% to 14.06 cents, as (PRASM) increased +5.9% to 11.98 cents. (CASM) ex-fuel, lowered -3.2% to 7.60 cents.
(AAG)’s fourth-quarter net income was +$64 million, down -1.2% from a +$64.8 million profit in the year-ago quarter. Revenue rose +9% to $1.04 billion, while expenses rose +10.8% to $930.2 million, producing an operating profit of +$114.1 million, down -4.4% from a +$119.3 million profit in the fourth-quarter 2010.
(ASA) will resume daily, Portland, Oregon - Long Beach service on March 12. (ASA) will launch daily, San Diego service to Monterey and Santa Rosa on June 4 and 2X-daily service to Fresno on June 5. It will also launch 2X-daily, Reno, Nevada - San Jose, California service on June 4.
Amsterdam-based SkyNRG finished 2011 on a high note by partnering with Thai Airways (TII) to conduct what was called “the first passenger biofuels flight in Asia” in late December (Air China (BEJ) flew a biofuel demonstration flight in October without paying passengers). The (TII) flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai included a 777 with both engines running on a 50-50 fuel mix of bio-jet fuel derived from used cooking oil and conventional petroleum-based jet fuel. As we’ve seen before with these “first” flights, (TII) airline officials said the flight marked the beginning of a collaborative effort to develop a bio-jet fuel supply chain in Thailand. For SkyNRG, which sourced the fuel, this flight followed similar flights
by AirFrance (AFA), Alaska (ASA), Finnair (FIN), (KLM) and Thomson Airways (ATZ)/(TFY), all since July, when bio-jet fuel became standardized.
In their search for commercially viable bio-jet fuel, airlines are leaving no stone unturned in Australia. Lufthansa has signed an agreement with the Perth-based biofuel company Algae.Tec. The plan is to “jointly evaluate the potential” of Algae.Tec’s algae-based crude oil as a low-carbon jet fuel source. Meanwhile, Air New Zealand (ANZ) and Virgin Australia (VOZ) signed similar agreements with the Sydney-based biofuel company Licella, which has technology to convert a range of waste plant material, such as sawdust, corn stalks and sugar cane waste, into bio-jet fuel.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) is currently interviewing pilot (FC) applicants. See FltOps.com and FAPA.aero.
737-890 (35203, N536AS), delivered.
February 2011: Emirates (EAD) and Alaska Airlines (ASA) have launched a new frequent flier partnership. Under the new terms, travelers will be able to accumulate ASA) Mileage Plan miles when flying to any of (EAD) worldwide destinations, and Emirates Skywards members can gather miles while traveling across the (ASA) network.
(ASA) beginning in June of this year is introducing new flights from its Seattle hub to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and shifting its Seattle - Miami flight to Fort Lauderdale.
(ASA) said the move in Florida was cost driven. "By redirecting our flight to the lower-cost Fort Lauderdale airport, (ASA) can serve the same geographic area and continue to offer its customers low fares," said Alaska. It also stressed the shift would have little effect on customers since the Miami and Fort Lauderdale airports are about 43km/27 miles apart. (ASA) has served Seattle - Miami since 2002.
(ASA) will operate daily, San Jose - Palm Springs through June 2, and again October 5.
(ASA) is competing with US Airways (AMW)/(USA) on its new nonstop flights from its Seattle hub to (AMW)/(USA)'s Philadelphia hub. (AMW)/(USA) offers seven nonstop weekly flights on the pairing, and Southwest Airlines (SWA) operates six weekly one-stop flights on the route.
The new flights to Philadelphia begin 11 June, while the shift to Fort Lauderdale is scheduled for 16 July.
The Alaska Air Group (AAG) has announced that Chairman & (CEO), Bill Ayer will retire from his Chief Executive role, effective May 15, and Alaska Airlines (ASA) President, Brad Tilden will become (CEO) of (AAG). Tilden will remain President of (ASA) and Ayer will continue to serve as Chairman of (AAG)'s board.
Ayer said, "The time is right to implement a succession plan that's been in the works for several years and which the board and I believe will ensure that we continue to lead the industry in safety, customer service, operational and financial performance and technological innovation." Ayer has spent three decades at (AAG), including 10 years as (CEO).
737-890 (35204, N537AS), delivery.
March 2012: Alaska Airlines (ASA) increased weekly service to Lihue from Oakland and San Jose to daily on March 11. (ASA) inaugurated its first ever service to Kansas City (MCI) on 12 March. The daily service from Seattle (SEA) will be operated with 737-800 airplanes. The only competition on the route comes from Frontier (FRO), which provides four weekly frequencies, although Southwest (SWA) does operate the route on a seasonal basis.
Gogo said its air-to-ground in-flight connectivity system achieved a program milestone, the installation of its 1,500th commercial airplane. For the year to date, the company has installed Gogo on more than >140 airplanes.
"This is a big milestone for Gogo and it's obviously big for passengers who want to stay connected at 30,000 feet," said Michael Small, Gogo's President & (CEO). "Since 2008, we've worked to get Gogo up and running on nine of our airline partners, which represent approximately 87% of Internet-enabled North American commercial airplanes."
Gogo can now be found on nine major airlines including on all domestic AirTran (CQT), Virgin America (VUS) and nearly all Delta Air Lines (DAL) and Alaska Airlines (ASA_ flights. Gogo is also currently installed on more than >300 American Airlines (AAL) airplanes and on select US Airways (AMW)/(USA), Frontier Airlines (FRO), Air Canada (ACN) and United Airlines (UAL) flights. US Airways (AMW)/(USA) recently announced plans to expand Gogo service across the A320 (A319, A320 and A321) family and Embraer EMB 190 fleet. With this expansion, US Airways (AMW)/(USA) will have 90% of its mainline domestic fleet equipped with Wi-Fi Internet access, Gogo said.
SEE ATTACHED - - "ASA-2012-03-A/B/C - AVIATION BIOFUELS."
April 2012: The Alaska Air Group, parent of Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Horizon Air, earned net income of +$40.8 million in the first quarter, a -45% drop from a +$74.2 million net profit earned in the year-ago quarter.
Revenue lifted +7.7% to $1.04 billion but fuel costs jumped +63.9% to $318.8 million. Excluding mark-to-market fuel hedge gains of $19.9 million, the company reported first-quarter net income of +$28.3 million, compared to net income excluding special items of +$29.5 million in the first quarter of 2011.
Alaska Air Group (CEO)-elect, Brad Tilden said, “Changes to our network and new markets led to a significant improvement in revenues, which helped offset rising fuel prices. These results provide a strong footing for the rest of the year."
(ASA) said it will take delivery of its first three 737-900ERs in the fourth quarter of this year, replacing smaller 737-700s, and expects to take delivery of 22 737-900ERs between now and the end of 2014. It intends to exercise another two options for the airplane type.
Going forward, Tilden said the company is “seeing solid demand in all regions” and will focus on increasing yields to recover fuel costs. “I’m cautiously optimistic about 2012,” he said.
First-quarter expenses rose +16.3% to $966.9 million, while operating income fell -45.9% to $72.4 million. Mainline traffic jumped +6.8% to 5.6 billion (RPM)s on a +3.5% rise in capacity to 6.6 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 85.7% LF, up +2.6 points. Yield improved +1.8% to 13.55 cents as (RASM) increased +5.1% to 11.62 cents. (CASM) ex-fuel, rose +0.9% to 7.9 cents.
(ASA)’s ancillary revenue from bag fees totaled $35 million for the quarter, down -7.9% from last year’s $38 million. Overall ancillary revenue per passenger fell -5.5% year-over-year to approximately $11.60.
In the week following the release of the iPad, Gogo Director Airline Operations, Tim Lemaster said the Wi-Fi provider identified over >10,000 separate usages of iPads being used on board airplanes. The tablets continue to outpace cell phones and laptops 10 to one on airplanes, he said.
“The traditional In-Flight Entertainment (IFE)s are going to be squeezed down to a more long-haul market,” Lemaster said. He pointed out that Wi-Fi-enabled short-haul flights that take advantage of passengers’ own personal electronic devices (PEDs) could help the industry avoid buying and installing seatback systems. However, on a 3-hour flight, Gogo has seen the average passenger pushing 61 megabytes by themselves — - a challenging amount of data to support on multiple (PED)s. “It is a big challenge in the industry,” of “how to push more through the pipe, because the pipe is limited,” he said.
American Airlines (AAL) provides passengers with Samsung tablets on select routes, Manager (IFE), Erik Miller said. “Customers love them,” but he cautioned “there are pros and cons” to eliminating the seatback system altogether.
“Airlines used to take a year to 18 months looking at new airplanes, looking at new systems,” Lemaster said. “Is the right decision today to go away from a traditional (IFE)? It probably makes sense on a short-haul flight (people are already bringing on their own personal devices). I would say in the next three to five years, we will see that decision more and more, move away from the traditional (IFE).”
Alaska Airlines (ASA) launched daily, Honolulu service from Oakland and San Jose.
May 2012: Alaska Airlines (ASA) will launch 4X-weekly, Portland, Oregon - Kauai service on November 5.
Alaska Airlines (ASA), jetBlue Airways (JBL), Southwest Airlines (SWA) and Virgin America (VUS) have all received slot exemptions for new flights beyond the perimeter of 1250 statute miles from Washington Ronald Reagan National airport (DCA). Flights over longer distances from Reagan are restricted to ensure the majority of this traffic is flowing through Washington Dulles International (IAD). (ASA) will serve Portland International (PDX), jetBlue (JBL) will operate to San Juan Luis Muñoz Marin International airport (SJU), (SWA) to Austin Bergstrom International airport (AUS) and (VUS) to San Francisco International airport (SFO).
(ASA) has named Halle Hutchison as Managing Director Brand & Marketing Communications. Ms Hutchison is former Senior Director of brand marketing for Expedia.
The (FAA) is proposing a civil penalty of $210,000 against Alaska Airlines (ASA) for allegedly failing to properly document and tag deactivated systems and equipment before making repairs.
The (FAA) alleged that on 10 occasions between June 19, 2010, and January 13, 2011, (ASA) performed maintenance on six of its 737 airplanes but failed to document the alternative actions it took and install the appropriate danger tag. “These requirements are safety measures designed to reduce hazards to maintenance technicians (MT) during maintenance and to prevent potential damage to the airplanes and onboard systems,” the (FAA) said.
An (ASA) spokesman said “In these instances, (ASA) performed the required maintenance work according to the airplane manufacturer’s specifications; however, we did not properly document the alternate procedure. The maintenance was performed during ground operational checks and at no time were passengers or employees in danger.”
Since receiving the letter of investigation, (ASA) said it has “implemented a number of changes to ensure compliance, including revising the maintenance manual, implementing a new training program for aircraft technicians and performing routine compliance audits. We are also working cooperatively with the (FAA) to resolve the proposed penalty.”
(ASA) has 30 days to respond to the (FAA).
June 2012: Alaska Airlines (ASA) has reached a tentative agreement with the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) on a new six-year contract covering (ASA)'s 587 ramp service and stores agents. The agreement includes wage increases of +10% over the life of the contract, long-term incentive bonuses, and job security and improved productivity provisions.
(IAM) Air Transport District 142 President, Tom Higginbotham said, "Job security was our number one issue heading into these negotiations, and this agreement delivers not only job protection, but an enhanced financial package and an opportunity for future growth."
Negotiations between (ASA) and the union began in February and culminated in agreement on a proposed contract two months before the current pact becomes amendable.
A ratification vote is expected by August 1. If approved, the new contract would become amendable in July 2018.
Recaro Aircraft Seating has won an order from Alaska Airlines (ASA) for its Recaro Basic Line 3520 seat. (ASA) will be the launch customer for the variant, which will be installed as economy (Y) seats on its 22 new 737-900ERs scheduled for delivery beginning in the fall through 2014. (ASA) will also install the Recaro CL4400 seat in the first (F)-class cabin on its 737-900ERs.
See video - "ASA - Alaska Airlines Jets" - -
See video - "ASA - Alaska Airlines Flying Over Hawaii" - -
July 2012: Alaska Airlines (ASA) more than doubled its net income for the second quarter, earning +$67.5 million versus net income of +$28.8 million recorded in the year-ago period. Excluding the impact of market-to-market fuel hedge adjustments of $69.6 million/$43.3 million after tax, it reported second-quarter net income of +$110.8 million, up +23.7% year-over-year, for its 13th consecutive quarterly profit.
"Significantly higher revenues driven by strong demand, our growing route network and our preferred product led to a record second-quarter profit," Group (CEO), Brad Tilden said. He told journalists and analysts that despite the leadership transition, its 2010 strategic plan remains “the big picture plan.” Alaska Air Group in June named (ASA) President, Brad Tilden to succeed Bill Ayer as (CEO).
Revenues for the quarter jumped +9.3% to $1.21 billion on a +4.3% rise in operating expenses to $1.09 billion. Among the expenses was a +20.1% increase in variable incentive pay, a +8.6% increase in fuel expense, a +11% hike in airplane maintenance costs, and a +14.6% increase in food and beverage service expenses. Operating income was +$115.8 million, a +$58 million increase year-over-year.
AS earlier this month ratified a new six-year contract with its ramp workers. Tilden said he is hopeful they will be able to achieve long-term contracts with all (ASA) and Horizon workers.
(ASA) announced it will advance delivery of one 737-900ER by one month to September. A total of three 737-900ERs are slated for delivery this year to replace smaller 737-700s.
“Demand for during the quarter was strong,” Tilden said.
Group VP Finance & (CFO), Brandon Pedersen said (ASA) “did a much better job managing supply and demand this quarter,” leading to a jump in load factor. Mainline traffic jumped +9.4% to 6.23 billion (RPM)s on a +6.4% rise in capacity to 7.13 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 87.4% LF, up +2.4 points. Yield improved +1.9% to 13.85 cents as (RASM) increased +3.7% to 14.13 cents. (CASM) ex-fuel lifted +0.3% to 7.46 cents. By year end, it expects approximately 20% of its (ASM)s to be from Hawaii, 20% from California, and about 15% from Alaska.
On 16 July, Alaska Airlines (ASA) launched daily overnight flights from Seattle (SEA) to Fort Lauderdale (FLL). The 4,400-kilometer transcontinental route comes as a replacement of (ASA)’s Miami service, which terminated the day before. Joe Sprague, Alaska Airlines (ASA)’s VP Marketing, said: “By redirecting our flight to the lower-cost Fort Lauderdale airport, we can serve the same geographic area and continue to offer our customers low fares.” The two Florida airports are less than 40 kilometres apart, but the Fort Lauderdale is more popular with departing cruise ship passengers. There is no direct competition on the route, although American Airlines (AAL) serves the market with daily services between Seattle and Miami. (ASA) will operate 4X-weekly, seasonal Bellingham - Maui service November 8 - December 24.
September 2012: Alaska Airlines (ASA) launched daily, Portland, Oregon - Washington Reagan service on August 28.
(ASA) launched its fourth route to Texas on 17 September. (ASA), which already serves Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, and Houston Intercontinental from its Seattle (SEA) hub, now flies to San Antonio, Texas (SAT) with a daily operation. 157-seat 737-800 airplanes are used on the route. “This new Seattle service provides San Antonio travelers more options for domestic travel and increases the ease and convenience for business and leisure travelers in the Northwest to experience San Antonio,” said San Antonio Mayor, Julian Castro. “These two cities share a lot in common, including a large military presence, robust technology and bio-science industries, and strong aviation and aerospace sectors.”
SEE ATTACHED - - "ASA-2012-09 - RNP STATUS-A/B/C/D" TO SEE THE STATUS OF "REQUIRED NAVIGATION PERFORMANCE STATUS (RNP)."
October 2012: The Alaska Air Group, parent of Alaska Airlines (ASA), more than doubled its net income year-over-year, earning +$163.4 million in the third quarter versus net income of +$77.5 million in the 2011 third quarter.
Excluding special items, it reported +$150.3 in net income. The three month results are the highest quarterly profit in the company’s history. Revenues for the quarter jumped +6.2% to $1.27 billion on a -4.9% dip in operating expenses to $1 billion. Included among the costs was a +11.6% year-over-year jump in maintenance costs, which (ASA) said was largely attributable to engine repairs – including faulty repair work on five engines.
Fuel-related costs for the quarter dropped -19.9% to $336.6 million on a flat economic fuel cost per gallon of $3.24. Operating income was $269.5 million, up +88.2% over the prior year’s quarter.
In the coming year, the Group expects to be disciplined in its expansion into new markets. “I think we’ve started 17 new markets in the 12 months ended September,” Alaska Air Group VP Planning & Revenue Management, Andrew Harrison said. “In the next three weeks, we will be announcing three new markets for 2013 for the mainline business. From where I sit today, that will be it for new markets in 2013.”
Mainline traffic jumped +7.2% to 7.19 billion (RPM)s on a +6.8% rise in capacity to 8.27 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 86.9% LF, up +0.4 points. Yield fell -0.3% to 15.35 cents as (RASM) fell -0.5% to 15.38 cents. (CASM), ex-fuel, dropped -1.5% to 8.05 cents.
(ASA) launched 5X-weekly, Orlando - San Diego 737-800 service. The 3,460 km route is operated five times weekly. This is (ASA)’s second route to Orlando after the service from its home base in Seattle. Last time the route was operated was by AirTran (CQT) in 2007 - 2008
(ASA) selected the (ARINC) AviNet electronic border solution to comply with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) passenger reporting requirements.
According to (ARINC), the (CBSA) passenger reporting requirements call for mandated data transmission methods of Advanced Passenger Information (API). The AviNet solution allows (ARINC) to directly submit flight crew (FC) (API) data on behalf of (ASA). “Our relationship with (ASA) is another step toward reaching our goal of being the premiere provider of border security services throughout the airline industry, and our seamless interoperability with existing airline technology and the (CBSA) gives us a competitive advantage over other message providers,” said Yun Chong, VP Global Network & Information Technology (IT) solutions at (ARINC).
The Alaska Air Group elected Tammy Young VP Human Resources (HR). She joins (ASA) from accounting firm, Moss Adams LLP where she served as Managing Director (HR).
(ASA) has placed a firm order for 20 737 MAX 8s, 17 737 MAX 9s and 13 737-900ERs. The order, valued at more than >$5 billion at list prices, is the largest in (ASA) history.
The 13 737-900ERs will be powered by (CFM56-7B) engines and the 737 MAX airplanes will be powered by the advanced (LEAP-1B) engines, according to (CFM) International.
(ASA) currently operates 120 737s. “The new order, plus 25 existing firm delivery positions, gives (ASA) the flexibility to manage the size of its fleet to meet air travel demand over the next decade.”
Alaska Airlines (ASA) hired 10 pilots (FC) this month and plans to hire 6 flight crew (FC) in November. See FAPA.aero for details on date of of next application window opening.
See FAPA.aero: Pilot Career Conferences & Job Fairs
...For Future & Active Pilots (FC).
November 2012: Alaska Airlines (ASA) will operate 4X-weekly, Portland, Oregon - Kauai service November 5 - April 7; 4X-weekly, Bellingham - Maui November 8 - April 14; and Anchorage - Kona November 10 - April 7. It will also launch 2X-daily, Seattle - Salt Lake City on April 4. (ASA) will launch San Diego service to Boston (daily, March 29) and Lihue (daily, June 7; down to 4X-weekly on August 24).
(ASA) launched two further routes to Hawaii. On 5 November (ASA) connected Portland, Oregon (PDX) with Lihue, Hawaii (LIH) on the island of Kauai. The route, which is (ASA)’s fourth from Portland to airports in the state of Hawaii, is now operated four times a week with (ASA)’s 16F, 141Y-seat 737-800s, complementing its services to Maui, Honolulu, and Kona. (ASA) already serves Lihue from Seattle, San Jose, and Oakland. On 8 November, (ASA) connected Bellingham, Washington airport (BLI), located near the border to Canada and Vancouver, with Kahului, Hawaii (OGG) on the island of Maui. This is (ASA)’s second route to the state of Hawaii from Bellingham after its Honolulu services. Flights on the new route operate seasonally until 14 April; four times a week with (ASA)’s 16F, 141Y-seat 737-800s. Allegiant (WJE) is just about to start competing with two weekly flights from 14 November. On 10 November, (ASA) also connected Anchorage, Alaska (ANC) with Kona, Hawaii (KOA) on the Big Island – its third Hawaiian route from Alaska’s largest city. Flights operate once a week with 737-800s until 7 April.
(ASA) has introduced its first 737-900ER, to be used on its Seattle - San Diego service. It is scheduled to take delivery of 38 of the airplanes through 2017.
December 2012: The (FAA) will introduce area navigation (RNAV) approach procedures for pilots (FC) using Portland International Airport (PDX), Oregon starting in 2013.
A collaborative effort between the (FAA), the Port of Portland and airlines created six (RNAV) approaches, which enables airplanes to fly any desired flight path within the coverage of ground or space-based navigation aids. “These new procedures in Portland are the building blocks of NextGen,” said USA Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood. “NextGen initiatives underway in major regions across the country are helping deliver more on-time flights for consumers, reducing fuel consumption for airlines and creating an even safer aviation system.”
"These procedures will continue to enhance operational safety and efficiency at this important airport while improving air quality around Portland,” said Acting (FAA) Administrator, Michael Huerta.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) has promoted Ron Calvin to Managing Director In-flight Operations, with responsibility for (ASA)'s flight attendant (CA) bases in Anchorage, Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle. Calvin is former Director Customer Service for (ASA)’s Eastern region based in Washington, DC and has been with (ASA) for 26 years.
January 2013: The Alaska Air Group, parent of Alaska Airlines (ASA) reported a 2012 net income for 2012 of +$316 million, up +29% from a +$245 million net profit in the year-ago period. The company said this is its ninth consecutive year of adjusted profits and the third year in a row the company has exceeded its goal of a 10% return on invested capital.
Revenue rose +8% to $4.66 billion, while expenses increased +7% to $4.13 billion, producing an operating profit of +$532 million, up +18% from +$449 million in the prior-year.
Fourth-quarter net income was +$44 million, down -31% from the +$64 million net profit for the year-ago quarter.
Full-year traffic rose +8.1% to 24.4 billion (RPM)s on a +6.3% increase in capacity to 28.1 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 86.6% LF, up +1.4 points. Yield rose +1.4% to 13.45 cents, as (RASM) increased +2.3% to 13.62 cents and (CASM) ex-fuel was 7.56 cents, down -0.5%.
In October 2012, (ASA) placed an airplane order for 50 737s, including 37 737 MAX airplanes.
During the fourth quarter, (ASA) began service from San Diego to Orlando, Portland to Lihue, Bellingham to Maui, and Anchorage to Kona, bringing the total new routes for the year to 21.
(ASA) named Constance von Muehlen, Managing Director Airframe, Engine & Component Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO). Von Muehlen previously served as (ASA)'s Director Engine Maintenance.
SEE ATTACHED FROM "AIRWAYS" MAGAZINE - - "ASA-2013-01 - UPDATE."
February 2013: Alaska Airlines ((IATA) Code: AS, based at Seattle Tacoma International (SEA)) (ASA) has provided details of its planned operations from Everett Snohomish County airport (PAE) that it needed to submit to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as part of its efforts for the airport to be authorized for scheduled passenger operations. (ASA) would like to operate scheduled flights from the airport complementing its hub at Seattle Tacoma International (SEA) and small base at Bellingham International (BLI) in the region. Everett is north of Seattle and currently mainly used by airplane manufacturer, Boeing (TBC) which assembles airplanes there. A passenger terminal will yet have to be built once the airport is eventually authorized for scheduled services. (ASA) has said it would initially operate an average two daily 737-800 departures from Everett to destinations such as Honolulu International (HNL), Kahului (OGG) and Las Vegas McCarran International (LAS), as well as three daily DHC-8-400 operated by regional subsidiary Horizon Air ((IATA) Code: QX, based at Seattle Tacoma International (SEA)) to Portland International (PDX).
American Airlines (AAL) and Alaska Airlines (ASA) expanded their code share agreement; (ASA) will place its code on 19 (AAL) routes and (AAL) will place its code on an additional 22 (ASA) routes.
(ASA) will operate daily, Fairbanks - Portland, (Oregon) service between June 9 - September 2.
March 2013: The Alaska Air (ASA) Group during the last few years has consistently outperformed its USA carrier peers in a financial metric (return on invested capital (ROIC)) that is prevalent in discourse in other industries but has only surfaced in discussion among airline executives during the last few years. Since 2010, (ASA) has exceeded its (ROIC) targets on an after tax basis and has posted annual profits for the last nine years. Despite its consistent profitability, (ASA)’s robust financial performance is often overlooked by the investment community, leaving executives scratching their heads as to why the company’s consistent financial results are not more recognizable.
Even as (ASA) delivers consistent profitability, questions often arise over the company’s growth prospects at its two subsidiaries: Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Horizon Air (which now operates under the Alaska banner). (ASA) holds an advantageous position as the leading airline in Seattle, where it can feed into long-haul flights operated by its partner Delta Air Lines (DAL). It also has a strong relationship with American Airlines (AAL), but it is not certain how that partnership will evolve once (AAL) and US Airways (AMW)/(USA) close on their merger and complete a roughly 18 month-long integration process. (ASA) does have the opportunity to flesh out its domestic network, and remains bullish that it will still deliver sound financial results with planned annual capacity growth of 4% to 8% during the next few years.
April 2013: The Alaska Air (ASA) Group, parent of Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Horizon Air, earned first-quarter net income of +$37 million, down -11% from +$41 million in the year-ago period.
Excluding the impact of mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustments of $12 million, the company reported a first-quarter “record” net income of +$44 million, compared to +$28 million in 2012.
Revenue lifted +9% to $1.13 billion, while operating expenses were $1.07 billion, up +11% year-over-year, producing an operating income of +$64 million, down -11% from +$72 million in the first quarter of 2012.
Alaska Air (ASA) Group (CEO), Brad Tilden said “Our record performance in what is seasonally our weakest quarter is due to steady demand that kept pace with our growth, and to the many changes we've made to improve our business over the last several years.”
First-quarter mainline traffic jumped +9.5% to 6.17 billion (RPM)s on a +9.6% rise in capacity to 7.2 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 85.7% LF, flat year-over-year.
Yield improved +0.5% to 12.90 cents. (CASM) ex-fuel, declined -3.9% to 7.59 cents.
During the quarter, (ASA) began new service between San Diego and Boston, and between Seattle and Salt Lake City. (ASA) announced it will begin new service between San Diego, California, and Lihue, Hawaii, and seasonal service between Portland and Fairbanks in June.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) began San Diego - Boston service with 737NGs. It is its sixth route from San Diego.
May 2013: Alaska Airlines (ASA) begins daily, Portand, Oregon - Atlanta on August 26 and Portland - Dallas/Fort Worth on September 16.
(ASA)'s Mileage Plan membership is up +10% in San diego, a market where it is challenging Southwest Airlines (SWA).
(ASA)’s flight attendants (CA), represented by the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), have filed for mediation with the National Mediation Board, the (AFA) said.
Negotiations on the contract began in November 2011, but stalled over compensation for the 3,100-plus flight attendants (CA) at the airline.
“Management’s failure to effectively address past employee sacrifices and essential compensation items that are at the heart of our contract demands became roadblocks to progress,” (AFA) President-Alaska Airlines (ASA), Jeffrey Peterson said. “For the last three contracts, flight attendants (CA) responded to management’s plea to keep costs low while the airline created a winning strategy. We partnered with them in good faith. As a result, we have fallen far behind our airline peers in compensation in most pay steps and pay rules.”
June 2013: Alaska Airlines (ASA) and its 1,480 pilots (FC), represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), have reached a tentative agreement on a new five-year labor contract.
(ASA) said, “The proposed contract includes pay raises and quality of life and productivity improvements. (ALPA)’s leadership is unanimously recommending that (ASA) pilots (FC) ratify the tentative agreement, and a vote is expected to be completed in mid-July.”
(ASA)’s last labor contract with its pilots (FC) was ratified in May 2009 and became amendable April 1. Chris Notaro, Chairman of (ALPA)’s Master Executive Council at Alaska Airlines (ASA), said, “The fact that we were able to reach an agreement so close to our amendable date is indicative of the commitment of both parties to reaching an agreement that recognizes the role the pilots (FC) play in the success of Alaska Airlines (ASA).”
Not all of (ASA)’s labor negotiations have gone as smoothly. (ASA)’s flight attendants (CA), represented by the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), last month filed for mediation with the National Mediation Board.
July 2013: The Alaska Air Group, parent of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, reported second-quarter net income of +$105 million, down -5.4% compared to +$111 million at the same time last year.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) begins daily, Seattle - Colorado Springs on November 1 and Seattle - Omaha on November 7. It is also starting daily nonstop flights Portland, Oregon - Tucson on November 1 and – Reno on November 8. New daily, San Diego - Boise service begins November 1, and daily seasonal, San Diego - Mammoth Lakes service on December 19. (ASA) will begin seasonal 2X-weekly, seasonal Seattle - Steamboat Springs/Hayden from December 18 through March 29, 2014.
(ASA) pilots (FC), represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), have ratified a new five-year contract. (ALPA) said of the nearly 94% of 1,343 eligible pilots (FC) casting a ballot, 67% voted in favor of the agreement. The contract increases pay by nearly +20% over the life of the agreement and contains job security and work rule improvements. It also protects pilots (FC)’s retirement and insurance benefits.
(ASA)’s last labor contract with its pilots (FC) was ratified in May 2009 and became amendable April 1. “Alaska (ASA)’s pilots (FC) and management now will begin the process of implementing the new agreement and preparing to discuss changes needed to accommodate new flight-time/duty-time rules that are scheduled to go into effect on January 4, 2014.”
Alaska Airlines (ASA) signed an agreement with Hawai`i BioEnergy to purchase biofuel to begin using sustainable biofuel for its Hawaii flights possibly as soon as the fall of 2018. Founded in 2006, Hawai`i BioEnergy is a consortium of three of Hawaii's largest landowners and three venture capital companies who plan to use locally grown feedstocks to produce biofuels.
(ASA) is Hawai`i BioEnergy's second customer, and the first airline to sign a contract. Hawaiian Electric Company previously announced it had agreed to purchase 10 million gallons of fuel a year from Hawai`i BioEnergy for power generation to the state, pending approval by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission. Hawai`i BioEnergy will ramp up production of the sustainable fuels within five years of regulatory approval, allowing (ASA) to begin procuring sustainable jet fuel for its Hawaii flights.
"We are pleased to be partnering with Hawai`i BioEnergy to encourage the production and commercial distribution of sustainable fuels," said Keith Loveless, Alaska Air Group's Executive VP & General Counsel. "Beyond the environmental advantages, it improves the fuel supply integrity in the state of Hawaii, which will allow for the further growth of our airline operations throughout the Islands."
The feedstock for the biofuel is anticipated to be woody biomass-based and will be consistent with the sustainability criteria established by the Roundtable for Sustainable Biofuels, an international multi-stakeholder initiative concerned with ensuring the sustainability of biomass production and processing.
August 2013: According to FAPA.aero, Alaska Airlines (ASA) has had
no Flight Crew (FC) hiring in 2013 thus far. Its short flight crew (FC) application window has closed.
September 2013: Alaska Airlines (ASA) has added its latest service, expanding the network between Portland, Oregon (PDX) and Atlanta (ATL) on August 26, marking the eighth new route added from Portland within the last 12 months. Atlanta is scheduled daily using 737-800s on the 4,023 km route. The new service is the 35th direct destination out of its Portland hub; Alaska Airlines (ASA) competes with Delta Air Lines (DAL), which offers the route 20 times weekly. Although the major carrier is not an alliance member, it does however operate code shares with members from both Oneworld (ONW) and SkyTeam (STM) Alliances.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) has launched its latest network addition on September 16th. The new domestic service from Portland, Oregon (PDX), one of the airlines’ hub airports, is operated daily to Dallas/Fort Worth, TX (DFW). The new route is a 2,600 km sector and is operated using 737-800s. (ASA) competes with American Airlines (AAL), which offers 27 flights weekly between the destinations.
A new study found that Alaska Airlines (ASA) is the most fuel efficient carrier in the United States. Using data reported gathered from the 2010 fuel-consumption reports submitted to the USA Bureau of Transportation Statistics, a study conducted by the International Council of Transportation (ICCT) found that (ASA) is able to travel the furthest on a gallon of jet fuel. (ASA) was the first USA carrier to train its pilots (FC) to fly (GPS)-guided required navigation performance (RNP) procedures in 1996, and was the first airline in 2009 approved by the (FAA) to conduct its own (RNP) flight validations.
The (ICCT) examined the fuel efficiency of the 15 largest airlines operating in the USA, and issued a fuel efficiency score based on the airline industry's average fuel economy within a given year. Spirit Airlines (SPR) and Hawaiian Airlines (HWI) tied for second on the list, trailed by Continental (CAL) and Southwest (SWA), all of which were separated by 2% or less on (ICCT)'s efficiency scale.
Low cost carrier (LCC) Allegiant Air (WJE) finished last, with a fuel efficiency rate 26 lower than Alaska (ASA)'s, which is attributable to the airline's fleet including aging McDonnell Douglas airplanes.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) has named three new Managing Directors: Bennie Johnson as Managing Director Flight Crew Management Systems; Sunae Park as Managing Director Airport Services and Sandy Stelling, Managing Director Customer Research & Development in (ASA)’s new Customer Innovation division.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) announced an order for five additional Next-Generation 737-900ERs (Extended Range). The order, valued at $481 million at list prices, continues (ASA)'s investment in its fleet and efforts to improve fuel performance. “This announcement supports our goal of growing (ASA) by 4 to 8% a year,” said Mark Eliasen, Alaska Air Group’s VP Finance & Treasurer. “The 737-900ER is a great airplane, with the cost efficiency and reliability needed for us to be successful in today’s competitive marketplace.”
The largest and newest model in the Next-Generation 737 family, the 737-900ER can carry up to 26 more passengers or fly about 500 nautical miles/926 km farther than the 737-900. (ASA) operates the 737-900ER in a two-class configuration with 181 seats and features the Boeing Sky Interior. The Boeing Sky Interior is the latest in a series of enhancements for both airlines and passengers that introduces new lighting and a curving architecture that create a distinctive entry way. Passengers enjoy a more open cabin feel and an environment simulated by light-emitting diode (LED) lighting. The interior also features sculpted sidewalls and newly improved and expanded pivot bins. In addition, all of (ASA)’s seats will feature outlets providing dual 110-volt and (USB) power.
The longer range of the 737-900ER can connect distant city pairs across continents, such as Seattle to Orlando, Florida, in a generous two-class configuration. It has substantial economic advantages over competing models, including -6% lower operating costs per trip and -4% lower operating costs per seat mile.
With this order, (ASA) now has unfilled orders for 35 737-900ERs and 37 737 MAX airplanes.
See video - - "ASA-One Summer at Alaska Airlines" - -
October 2013: Alaska Air Group, parent of Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Horizon Air, has reported a third-quarter net profit of +$289 million, up +77.3% compared to a net income of +$163 million in the year-ago period.
Seattle is emerging as a confronting new battleground for partners the Alaska Air Group and Delta Air Lines (DAL) as Alaska Airlines (ASA) appears to be quickly answering (DAL)’s latest moves in key USA domestic markets by fortifying its leading position on these routes: – Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
(ASA) appears poised to add frequencies on those routes beginning in March 2014 and continuing through June 2014. The move follows (DAL)'s declaration of launching new service from Seattle to San Francisco in March 2014 and adding frequencies in Los Angeles and Las Vegas during 1st half 2014.
The build-up in those markets by both carriers is occurring even as (ASA) remains a key strategic partner for (DAL) in Seattle, and as (DAL) adds more international service from the airport buoyed by feed from (ASA)’s vast domestic network. The heightened competition between the two carriers alongside their powerful partnership reflects the reality that loyalty only goes so far, when revenue maximisation is the ultimate end game for any carrier, and (ASA)’s efforts to maintain its passenger concentration in key west coast markets shows that it is willing to strike back at any carrier’s encroachment (even if its originates from an important revenue sharing partner).
Alaska Airlines (ASA) has completed the (IATA)’s Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) and has been renewed on the (IOSA) Registry. (ASA) has been on the registry since 2006.
Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) has booked an order from Alaska Airlines (ASA) to supply new Split Scimitar Winglet Systems for retrofit on 111 737NGs starting early 2014. The new winglets will reduce fuel consumption by -58,000 gallons a year per airplane and cut carbon dioxide emissions by -57,000 tons annually. SEE ATTACHED - - "ASA-2013-10 - SPLIT SCIMITAR WINGLET."
See video - - "ASA-Internship Program" - -
November 2013: Alaska Airlines (ASA) inaugurated services on two new domestic routes. On November 7th, (ASA) commenced operations on the 2,200 km route from Seattle (SEA) to Omaha, Nebraska (OMA), while a day later, services from Portland, Oregon (PDX) to Reno (RNO) followed. Omaha is new in (ASA)’s network and the daily service is operated using SkyWest Airlines’ CRJ 700s. Daily flights on the 700 km route from Portland to Reno are in fact a resumption (last served in 2009) and are operated using Horizon Air’s Bombardier Q400s. Southwest Airlines (SWA) provides competition in the market from Portland to Reno, which it serves with eight weekly flights. (ASA) also offers flights to Reno from Seattle (thrice-daily) and San Jose in California (12 weekly).
The Alaska Air Group has elected President & (CEO), Brad Tilden as Chairman of the Alaska Air Group and its subsidiary carriers, Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Horizon Air. Tilden succeeds Bill Ayer, who will retire December 31 after spending 31 years at the Alaska Air Group and serving as President, (CEO), and Chairman during his last decade at the company. Ayer remained as Chairman when Tilden was elected (CEO) in February 2012.
Ayer said Tilden “has continued to set the bar in safety and operational performance, provide award-winning service, innovate to make flying easier, grow our network, and achieve record financial results. His new role as Chairman completes an orderly leadership transition that the board has been planning for years.”
Tilden joined Alaska (ASA) from Price Waterhouse in 1991. He was promoted to (CFO) in 2000, to Executive VP Planning & Finance in 2007 and to President of Alaska Airlines (ASA) in 2008.
Ayer joined Horizon in 1982 and served in a variety of Marketing, Planning and Operational posts at the regional carrier and Alaska Airlines (ASA). He was appointed (CEO) of the Alaska Air Group and Alaska Airlines (ASA) in 2002 and became Chairman in 2003.
December 2013: Pressure by Delta Air Lines (DAL) on Alaska Airlines (ASA) in Seattle, continues through service additions on routes where Alaska is the dominant or lone carrier (Vancouver and Fairbanks, Alaska). The latest moves underscore (DAL)’s build-out of Seattle during the last year to solidify connecting traffic for its gateway to the Pacific, and the now familiar increasing competition with its long-term partner Alaska Airlines (ASA).
(ASA) is all too aware of (DAL)’s encroachment, evidenced by the recent acknowledgement by (ASA)’s management that the two carriers have no plans to code share on (DAL)’s recently announced spate of new USA domestic north - south markets from Seattle to feed (DAL)’s expanding international network from Seattle Tacoma International Airport.
As it works to add service to six of (ASA)’s top 10 domestic markets from Seattle by September 2014, (DAL) during the next year also plans to compete with (ASA) by launching service from Vancouver to feed its international operations in Seattle. The new service not only continues to heighten tension with (ASA), but also adds a new layer of competitive dynamics to carriers offering service to Asia from Vancouver, B C, Canada which is just 204 km north of Seattle.
The Alaska Air Group has named Laura Fowler as Managing Director Recruiting & Diversity. Fowler will oversee the newly unified recruitment and diversity departments and expand efforts to increase diversity recruitment and inclusion at Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Horizon Air.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) has reached an agreement with the Association of Flight Attendants (CA) on a tentative labor agreement on a new five-year contract for (ASA)’s 3,300 flight attendants (CA).
Once the tentative agreement is approved by union leadership, (ASA)’s flight attendants (CA) will conduct a ratification vote that is expected to be completed in mid-February 2014.
See video - - "ASA-Best Moments of 2013" - -
January 2014: The Alaska Air Group, parent of Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Horizon Air, reported record full-year net profit for 2013 of +$508 million, up +60.7% over net profit in 2012 of +$316 million.
Fourth-quarter net income was +$78 million, up +77.3% from a +$44 million profit in the year-ago period.
Revenue for 2013 rose +11% to $5.156 billion, while expenses increased +5% to $4.318 billion, producing an operating profit of +$838 million, up +58% from a +$532 million operating profit in 2012.
Alaska Air Group employees earned +$105 million in incentive pay in 2013, or nearly five weeks of pay. Over the past four years, the group has paid $357 million to employees in incentive pay.
Traffic rose +6.8% to 28.83 billion (RPM)s in 2013 on a +7.1% increase in capacity to 33.67 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 85.6% LF, down -0.3 points. (RASM) decreased -0.5% to 14.74¢ and (CASM) ex-fuel was 8.47¢, down -0.1%.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) added four new domestic routes, of which three are seasonal, to its offering during the course of last month. With the longest sector being the 4,105 km service from Anchorage (ANC) to Phoenix (PHX) launched on December 18th, and the shortest being inaugurated on December 19th from San Diego (SAN) to Mammoth Lakes, California (MMH) at 563 km, (ASA) faces direct competition only on the thrice-weekly services to Phoenix from US Airways (AMW)/(USA)’s twice-daily flights. The routes are as follows:
Anchorage (ANC) to Phoenix (PHX), 3x weekly 737-800s vs (AMW)/(USA) 14x weekly;
Seattle (SEA) to Steamboat Springs (HDN), 2x CR7s;
(ANC) to Las Vegas (LAS) 3x 737-800s;
San Diego (SAN) to Mammoth Lakes (MMH), 7x Q400s.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) has firmed an order for two additional 737-900ER airplanes, in a deal worth $192 million at current list prices. The order was announced as (ASA) took delivery of its 100th 737 NextGen airplane.
In September, (ASA) ordered five additional 737-900ERs, worth $481 million at current list prices. Two of the airplanes will arrive in 2015, two in 2016 and one in 2017.
Alaska Air Group VP Finance & Treasurer, Mark Eliasen said, “The 737-900ER has proven to be an ideal upgrade for us. This airplane offers impressive operational efficiencies and environmental benefits, and our customers are very pleased with its onboard amenities.”
(ASA) flies 131 737 airplanes, including 14 737-900ERs. (ASA) has 68 firm orders for 737-900ERs and 737 MAX airplanes to be delivered through 2022. (ASA) took delivery of its first 737-900ER in October 2012 and began adding Next-Generation 737s to its fleet in July 1999 with the first delivery of a 737-700.
February 2014: Alaska Airlines (ASA) and the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers (IAM) have reached tentative agreement on a new five-year contract for (ASA)'s 2,500 clerical, office and passenger service employees. The proposed contract includes pay raises and job security provisions, among other improvements. The current three-year contract became amendable January 1st. A ratification vote on the new contract is expected in early April.
The Alaska Air Group’s board of directors has approved several leadership changes in the company’s Legal Division. Herman Wacker, Air Group’s deputy general counsel and managing director of legal, has been elected VP Legal. Shannon Alberts, Managing Director Corporate Affairs & Assistant Corporate Secretary, has been elected Corporate Secretary. Kyle Levine retains his role as Deputy General Counsel and Managing Director Legal, and replaces Alberts as Assistant Corporate Secretary.
737-990ER (36355, N457AS), delivery.
March 2014: Alaska Airlines ASA) adds Seattle - New Orleans on June 12; Seattle - Tampa on June 20; Seattle - Baltimore daily service starting September 2 (Boeing 737-800); Seattle - Detroit on September 4; daily, Seattle - Albuquerque on September 18 (737-800). (ASA) is discontinuing service on Los Angeles - San Jose on April 5; Portland - Long Beach on August 23; Atlanta - Portland on September 1, and Anchorage - Denver.
For the second consecutive month, after 15 months of reported declines, full-time equivalent (FTE) employment at USA scheduled passenger airlines has registered a monthly increase year-over-year.
In February, USA scheduled passenger airlines employed 381,985 full-time workers, up +0.4% year-over-year, according to figures from the USA Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).
It was the third consecutive month in which full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs at USA scheduled passenger airlines increased year-over-year. The February total registers +1,571 more (FTE) jobs among USA scheduled passenger carriers than in February 2013.
Among the USA major/network carriers, year-over-year increases in February (FTE) jobs were seen at US Airways (AMW)/(USA) (up +3.6%), Alaska Airlines (ASA) (up +2.7%), American Airlines (AAL) (up +0.4%) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) (up +0.2%). United Airlines (UAL) reported losing -1.8% of its (FTE) positions year-over-year. Overall, the USA major/network carriers saw a +0.1% year-over-year increase in February (FTE) employees.
Hawaiian Airlines (HWI), a major carrier classified by (BTS) as an “other carrier” (airlines that operate within specific niche markets) reported a year-over-year February increase of +332 (FTE) positions, up +7.5%.
Overall, (FTE) positions at the major USA low-cost-carriers (LCCs) grew +0.7% year-over-year in February. Spirit Airlines (SPR) had the largest concentration of year-over-year growth, expanding its February (FTE) job count by +16.8%, to 3,534 (FTE) employees; Allegiant Air (WJE)’s monthly (FTE) job count grew as well, up +14.3% from February 2013, to 2.134 (FTE) employees. Increases also occurred at Virgin America (VUS) (up +6.7%) and JetBlue Airways (JBL) (up +4.9%). February (FTE) job declines were seen at Frontier Airlines (FRO) (down -7.4%) and Southwest Airlines (SWA) (down -1.7%).
Sun Country Airlines (SCA), a national carrier/(LCC) classified by (BTS) as an “other carrier,” registered a year-over-year February increase of +169 (FTE) positions, up +17.4%.
Ranked by (FTE) workforce, the top 10 passenger airlines for February were: United Airlines (UAL) (80,694 (FTE) employees), Delta Air Lines (DAL) (73,602), American Airlines (AAL) (59,699) (less US Airways (AMW)/(USA) - see later, Southwest (SWA) (45,091) +8,500 from merger with (CQT), US Airways (AMW)/(USA) (31,604), JetBlue Airways (JBL) (13,301), and Alaska Airlines (ASA) (10,192).
See video - - "ASA-Flight Attendant Dixie" - -
See video - - "ASA-Flight Attendant Training" - -
April 2014: The Alaska Air Group, parent of Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Horizon Air, reported +$94 million net income for the first-quarter, more than doubling the +$37 million net income reported in the year-ago period.
Excluding the impact of mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustments of $5 million, the company reported a first-quarter “record” net income of +$89 million, compared to +$44 million in 2013.
Revenue increased +7.9% year-over-year to $1.22 billion, as operating expenses came to $1.08 billion, up +1.1% from the 2013 March quarter.
The Alaska Air Group’s first-quarter mainline traffic grew +3.7% year-over-year to 6.4 billion (RPM)s on a +4.1% capacity rise to 7.5 billion (ASM)s, producing a passenger load factor of 85.4% LF, down -0.3 point from the 85.7% LF passenger load factor reported in the 2013 first-quarter.
The company reported 4,737,000 mainline passengers for the first quarter, up +4.5% year-over-year from the 4,534,000 passengers carried in the year-ago quarter. Mainline yield rose +3.4% year-over-year to 13.34 cents. (CASM) ex-fuel, grew +1.2% year-over-year to 7.68 cents.
First-quarter regional operating results (reflecting the performance of Alaska Air Group subsidiary, Horizon Air and third-party carriers) included a +8.2% year-over rise in traffic to 675 million (RPM)s. Capacity grew +9.9% year-over-year to 857 million (ASM)s, resulting in a passenger load factor of 78.8% LF, down -1.2 points year-over-year. There were 1,912,000 passengers for Alaska’s regional carriers in the first quarter, up +5.5% year-over-year from 1.812,000 passengers in the March 2013 quarter. Regional yield fell -5.4% year-over-year to 27.53 cents.
In January, Alaska Airlines (ASA) firmed an order for two Boeing 737-900ER airplanes, a transaction worth $192 million at current list prices. During the same month, (ASA) took delivery of its 100th 737 NextGen airplane.
May 2014: The Alaska Air Group board of Directors approved a share repurchase program authorizing the company to buy back up to $650 million of its common stock. This share repurchase program represents approximately 10% of the market capitalization of the company. The board also approved a quarterly cash dividend of 25 cents per share as part of the Air Group's program to be a leader in returning capital to investors. The dividend to all shareholders of record as of May 20 will be paid on June 4. The $650 million repurchase program will begin immediately after the existing $250 million buyback is completed.
The Alaska Air Group announced several leadership changes. (CFO) Brandon Pedersen has been promoted to Executive VP Finance & (CFO). VP Planning & Revenue Management, Andrew Harrison has been promoted to Senior VP Planning & Revenue Management. VP Marketing, Joe Sprague has been promoted to Senior VP Communications & External Relations. A replacement for a new VP Marketing is underway. VP Legal, Herman Wacker will become General Counsel, October 1st, when Executive VP & current General Counsel, Keith Loveless retires. Wacker will also assume the role of Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer, effective immediately.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) is seeking approval for new flights from Portland International airport to Puerto Vallarta and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, from November. The Portland - Puerto Vallarta route will operate 3x-weekly from November 4th to April 26th 2014, and the Portland - San Jose del Cabo route 4x-weekly from November 3rd to April 27th on Boeing 737-800 airplanes. They are subject to approval by the USA and Mexican aviation authorities.
“Alaska Airlines is committed to offering the most nonstop service from the Pacific Northwest to places our customers want to explore, and Los Cabos [San Jose del Cabo] and Puerto Vallarta are hot spots," says Joe Sprague, Senior VP Communications & External Relations, (ASA).
The new routes follow a more than >13% increase in seat capacity on (ASA) in Portland during the year ending in April. No other carriers fly between Portland and either Puerto Vallarta or San Jose del Cabo.
See video "ASA-Kelli - Director Content Merchandising & Segmentation"
June 2014: Alaska Airlines (ASA) added six domestic routes, of which five were launched from Salt Lake City, Utah (SLC). With the longest sector being the 3,357 km service from Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) to New Orleans (MSY) launched on June 12th, and the shortest being inaugurated on June 16th from Salt Lake City (SLC) to Boise, Idaho (BOI) at 468 km, (ASA) will face extensive competition on five of the new services from Delta Air Lines (DAL), American Airlines (AAL), Southwest Airlines (SWA) and United Airlines (UAL).
Alaska Airlines (ASA), which in the previous week added nine USA services, continued to strengthen its domestic network with the addition of two new routes. Firstly, on June 19th, (ASA) inaugurated the 964 km sector from Salt Lake City, Utah (SLC) to San Francisco (SFO) with daily operations utilizing a mixed fleet of its 124-seat 737-700s, 144-seat 737-400s and 163-seat 737-800s. Secondly, one day later, (ASA) launched daily flights from its Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) hub to Tampa, Forida (TPA) utilising its 163-seat 737-800s. While the 4,056 km sector to Florida faces no competition, the route to San Francisco is already flown by United Airlines (UAL) (34 weekly flights) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) (32 weekly flights).
July 2014: The Alaska Air Group, parent of Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Horizon Air, reported +$165 million net income for the second-quarter, up +58.7% from a +$104 million net income in the second-quarter of 2013.
Excluding the impact of mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustments of $13 million, (ASA) reported a record second-quarter adjusted net income of +$157 million, up +49.5% year-over-year compared with adjusted net income of +$105 million in the year-ago quarter.
Noting the second-quarter results indicate Alaska Air Group’s 21st consecutive quarterly profit and a record second-quarter result, President & (CEO), Brad Tilden said: “Through strong demand, a growing network and steady [customer] support we were able to overcome the impact of substantial new competition.”
Alaska Air Group’s total consolidated operating revenue for the second quarter was $1.4 billion, up +9.5% year-over-year. Expenses grew +2.8% year-over-year, to $1.1 billion, producing second-quarter operating income of +$265 million, up +56.8% compared with the year-ago quarter.
(ASA)’s second-quarter mainline passenger traffic grew +4.5% year-over-year to 7 billion (RPM)s on a +4.5% capacity rise to 8.1 billion (ASM)s. The mainline passenger load factor for the second quarter came to 86.8% LF, down -0.1 point from the year-ago quarter. Mainline passengers came to 5,307,000, up +4.6% year-over-year. Mainline yield rose +4.1% year-over-year to 13.86 cents. (CASM) ex-fuel grew +1.2% year-over-year to 7.44 cents.
Regional operating results (reflecting the second-quarter performance of Alaska Air Group subsidiary Horizon Air and third-party carriers) reflected a +10.5% year-over-year rise in traffic to 725 million (RPM)s. Capacity was up +11.2% year-over-year to 894 million (ASM)s, leading to a passenger load factor of 81.2% LF, down -0.4 point from the second quarter of 2013.
As of June 30, the company reported a mainline operating fleet of 134 airplanes, a gain of six airplanes compared to the June 2013 quarter. Regional carrier Horizon Air reported 51 airplane in its fleet for the second quarter, a gain of 3 airplanes since the year-ago quarter.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) has named Shaunta Hyde to the newly created position of Managing Director of Community Relations. The Alaska Air Group has named Veresh Sita as VP Chief Information Officer, effective August 1. The group also announced Lavanya Sareen has joined (ASA) as Managing Director Investor Relations, overseeing analyst and shareholder communications for the Alaska Air Group, the parent company of Alaska Airlines (ASA) & Horizon Air.
August 2014: 737-990ER (41702, N469AS), delivery.
See video - - "ASA-2014-08 - Training Camp with Seattle SeaHawks" -
September 2014: Alaska Airlines (ASA) strengthen its domestic network with the addition of two new routes from Seattle-Tacoma (SEA), both of which are operated daily. Firstly, on September 2nd, (ASA) inaugurated the 3,758 km sector to Baltimore/Washington (BWI) utilizing its 157-seat 737-800s. Secondly, two days later, (ASA) launched daily flights to Detroit (DTW), which are operated using its 182-seat 737-900s. While the route to Baltimore/Washington faces no competition, the 3,101 km link to Detroit is already flown by Delta Air Lines (DAL)’s 34 weekly flights.
Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) has launched a “carbon accreditation” program similar to the one that has been in place in Europe since 2009. (ACI-NA), announcing the program at its annual Conference and Exhibition in Atlanta, said it “independently assesses and recognizes airports’ efforts to measure, manage and reduce their CO2 emissions.”
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) has achieved accreditation, the first airport in North America to do so, according to (ACI-NA). (ACI) World Director General, Angela Gittens said, “North America’s adoption of the airport carbon accreditation program is exemplary of how airports the world over are working with their local communities, and within the larger global context, to prove that growth will not be achieved to the detriment of the environment.”
(ACI-NA) said “early adopters” of the carbon accreditation program in North America will include Montreal, Denver, San Francisco, and Portland (Oregon) airports.
October 2014: News Item A-1: Alaska Airlines (ASA) has reached a tentative agreement with its flight attendants (CA) on a new five-year contract. Its 3,300 flight attendants (CA) are represented by the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA).
Once the tentative agreement is approved by (AFA) leadership, the flight attendants (CA) will conduct a ratification vote, which is expected to be completed in December.
Under the Railway Labor Act, which governs collective bargaining agreements in the airline industry, contracts do not expire. Instead they become amendable. The prior contract was effective in 2010 and became amendable in May 2012.
News Item A-2: The Alaska Air Group has appointed former Yahoo! Chief Marketing Officer, Kathy Savitt and former Expedia (CCO), Dhiren Fonseca as new members of its board of directors. The appointments support the company’s continued efforts to develop new and innovative technologies.
News Item A-3: Alaska Airlines (ASA) has ordered +10 737-900ERs at an estimated total market price of more than half a billion dollars. This makes their current order status to grow to 37 737-900ERs with the rest coming over the next 3 years. SEE ATTACHED - - "ASA-2014-10 - ASA 737-900ER ORDER-A/B."
(ASA) also has 37 of the new 737MAX family on order for delivery from 2018. (ASA), which has an existing fleet of 136 737s, plans to replace aging 737 Classics and to expand services out of its Seattle hub. "We're doubling down on our strength in Seattle," said Alaska Air Group (CEO), Brad Tilden. "We have a very strong franchise here. It's important that we protect what we've got." (This is a reference to (ASA)'s battle to maintain its dominance at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport against a rapid expansion by Atlanta-based airline giant, Delta Airlines (DAL)).
To underscore its hometown roots against the interloper from Atlanta (DAL), (ASA) organized a Seattle-area scavenger hunt for Friday October 10th, with prizes including pairs of free flight tickets and the opportunity to fly a Boeing 737 in a simulator. Details are on the (ASA) blog at blog.alaskaair.com/
Note: The latest passenger traffic data from the Port of Seattle, which runs the airport, suggests that so far, (ASA) is holding its own.
In August, (ASA)'s passenger traffic through Sea-Tac was up +9.4% compared with a year earlier, roughly in line with over-all traffic growth at the airport, thanks to a strong local economy. For the year through August, the hometown airline (ASA) carried 51% of all the passengers passing through the airport. Meanwhile, (DAL)'s share of Sea-Tac passenger traffic climbed to just shy of <15%, almost 2 points higher than 4 months earlier. Delta (DAL)'s growth is affecting the market share of international carriers out of Sea-Tac more than (ASA)'s. Year-to-date through August, United (UAL)'s passenger traffic share at the airport was down -7% compared with the previous year.
Meanwhile, (ASA) continues to grow. In 2010, (ASA) flew 114 Boeing 737s. By 2017, with some older jets being retired and the new orders deliveries coming in, the fleet should grow to 147 of the jets.
News Item A-4: In addition to Boeing, another local company will win business from (ASA)'s order: Aviation Partners Boeing (AVP), which designs and sells new winglets for the 737. (ASA) is modifying the wingtips on its existing 737s and on the latest ones rolling out, is replacing the standard upward-sweeping winglets with the "(AVP)-designed "split scimitar" models that have parts curving both upward and downward.
The drag-reducing aerodynamics of the (AVP) winglets improve the airplanes fuel efficiency by roughly +1.5%.
News Item A-5: USA Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx recently awarded $10.2 million (FAA) grants to six airports to reduce emissions and improve air quality through the (FAA)’s Voluntary Airport Low Emission (VALE) program.
(VALE) is designed to reduce all sources of airport ground emissions in areas of marginal air quality. The (FAA) established the program in 2005 to help airport sponsors meet air quality responsibilities under the Clean Air Act. Through (VALE), airport sponsors can use Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds and passenger facility charges to help acquire low-emission vehicles, refueling and recharging stations, gate electrification, and other airport-related air quality improvements.
The airports include: Albuquerque International Sunport ($431,479: — to help the airport upgrade the infrastructure to low-emission technology by replacing four boilers in the airport’s central utility plant); Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International ($102,456: — to enable the airport to purchase two alternative-fuel garbage trucks and convert two passenger vans to cleaner burning fuel instead of diesel); Chicago O’Hare International Airport ($2 million: — to allow the airport to install an underground fuel-hydrant system, eliminating the need for diesel-powered fuel trucks); Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport ($2 million: — to help the airport install 12 electric gates at Terminal B and install and connect seven pre-conditioned air units for parked aircraft); Seattle-Tacoma International Airport ($2 million: — to allow the airport to install 43 charging units in Terminals A and B to support electric ground support equipment (GSE) such as luggage loaders and aircraft tugs); Yeager Airport in West Virginia ($3,678,168: — to fund both gate power units and pre-conditioned air units at seven of the airport’s gates).
“These grants will allow the airports to take advantage of the remainder of the construction season by beginning or completing the construction process,” (FAA) Administrator, Michael Huerta said. “The airports can continue to be good neighbors to residents in the surrounding communities.”
See video - - "ASA-Alaska Airlines Buys 10 737-900ER Airplanes" - -
November 2014: News Item A-1: Alaska Airlines (ASA) continued to expand rapidly its presence in the Mexican market with the addition of two new seasonal links which are operated until April 27th and are not served by any other carrier. Firstly, on November 4th, (ASA) introduced its second international service from Portland, Oregon (PDX), when it launched four weekly flights on the 3,187 km sector to Puerto Vallarta (PVR), utilizing a mixed fleet of its 163-seat 737-800s and 181-seat 737-900s. Alaska Airlines (ASA)’s other international city pair from Portland is flown to Vancouver with twice-daily flights. Secondly, on November 6th, (ASA) added daily flights on the 4,321 km sector from its Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) base to Cancun (CUN), using its 163-seat 737-800s. This is (ASA)’s third Mexican destination from Seattle-Tacoma, as it already operates daily to Puerto Vallarta as well as weekly to San Jose del Cabo.
(ASA) strengthened its presence at San Jose del Cabo (SJD), adding its sixth route to the Mexican airport on November 20th, this time from Portland, Oregon (PDX). The 2,747 km sector to the city located in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur will be served four times weekly until April 27th, utilizing (ASA)’s 181-seat 737-900s. No other carrier serves this airport pair, while Alaska Airlines (ASA) is already flying to San Jose del Cabo from Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle-Tacoma, as well as San Jose (the one in California).
News Item A-2: The Alaska Air Group has named Bryan Shillito as Managing Director Safety Programs. Bryan will lead Alaska’s cross-organizational safety programs and ensure a robust safety management system.
December 2014: News Item A-1: Alaska Airlines (ASA) begins daily, Portland (PDX) - St Louis Embraer (EMB) E175 service on July 1.
News Itemk A-2: Alaska Airlines (ASA) flight attendants (CA) have ratified a new five-year contract. Included in the new contract are quality of life enhancements and pay increases that rank (ASA)’s 3,400 flight attendants (CA) among the highest paid in the industry at every pay step.
Under the Railway Labor Act, which governs collective bargaining agreements in the airline industry, contracts do not expire, and they only become amendable. The previous agreement became amendable on May 1, 2012 and the new contract becomes amendable again on December 17, 2019.
News Item A-3: Alaska Airlines (ASA) will begin offering premium economy (PY) seats on its airplanes in the first half of 2015. The move is among a number of initiatives that are expected to generate $100 million in additional revenue for (ASA) in 2015, said (ASA)'s Senior VP Planning & Revenue Management, Andrew Harrison. Harrison, who made his comments during a series of presentations made by (ASA) to investors on December 4TH, said premium economy (PY) seats should contribute $15 million to (ASA)’s bottom line next year.
(ASA) will offer three rows of premium economy (PY) seats on its Boeing 737s. The seats will have 7 to 9 inch more legroom than (ASA)’s basic economy (Y) seats and will be priced at a $15 - $50 premium, said Harrison.
(ASA) also expects that its recent increase in baggage and change fees, the addition of more seats to its airplanes and other efforts will generate an additional +$30 million next year. In addition, pricing changes and revenue management improvements will contribute an additional +$50 million in revenue.
News Item A-4: Alaska Airlines (ASA) will begin a new entertainment service in which customers can enjoy free entertainment directly on their personal electronic devices (PED)s through January 31, 2015. The new service is available on 50 of Alaska’s Boeing 737 airplanes. (ASA) will equip nearly all of its all-Boeing fleet by April 2015.
News Item A-5: See video - - "ASA-How to Use the Self Tag Kiosk" - -
January 2015: News Item A-1: The Alaska Air Group, parent of Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Horizon Air, posted a record full-year net profit for 2014 of +$605 million, up +19.1% compared to 2013’s net profit of +$508 million.
(ASA)’s 2014 operating revenue grew +4.1% year-over-year to $5.37 billion. Operating expenses rose +2% year-over-year (YOY) to $4.41 billion, resulting in an operating profit for the year of +$962 million, up +14.8% from +$838 million in operating profit for 2013.
With the presentation of the year’s results, the group announced a +$0.20 per-share dividend increase, up +60% from the 2014 third-quarter. The dividend will be paid to shareholders in March.
Alaska Air Group employees earned +$116 million in incentive pay in 2014, or more than a month’s pay for most company employees. Over the past five years, the group has paid $473 million to employees in incentive pay, averaging 8.7% of annual pay.
Traffic rose +6.5% to 30.72 billion (RPM)s in 2014 on a +7.1% increase in capacity to 36.08 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 85.1% LF, down -0.5 points from 2013. (RASM) grew +0.9% to 14.88¢ and (CASM) excluding fuel was 8.36¢, down -1.3%. Yield increased +0.7% (YOY) to 14.91¢.
The Alaska Air Group’s fourth-quarter net income was +$148 million, up +89.7% from a +$73 million profit in the year-ago period. Operating revenue for the fourth quarter was $1.31 billion, up +7.9% (YOY). Fourth-quarter operating expenses were $1.06 billion, down -1.5% (YOY). Operating profit for the quarter came to +$242 million, up +86.2% from the 2013 fourth quarter.
News Item A-2: Air Transport World (ATW) Editor, Karen Walker in her (ATW) Editor's Blog titled "Not-So-Friendly Skies according to 2014 ranking of USA carrier performance:"
There’s an interesting article here by Wall Street Journal, "The Middle Seat" Editor, Scott McCartney, providing his annual scorecard on the performance of the eight biggest carriers in 2014.
The survey assesses the carriers on service parameters such as flight delays, cancellations, lost baggage and complaints (all of which increased last year, despite the USA airlines being in a much better financial position, McCartney pointed out.
His report showed that USA airlines canceled nearly +66,000 more flights last year than in 2013, and the percentage of canceled flights jumped to +2.7% from +1.9% the previous year, according to flight-tracking firm FlightStats Inc. The number of complaints filed with the Department of Transportation (DOT) over airline service, meanwhile, increased by a steep +26%.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Virgin America (VUS) score best; Delta (DAL) also stood out for a very good performance among the “Big Three” consolidated carriers.
American (AAL) and United (UAL), not so. Indeed, (UAL) is hunkered down in either last or second from last place on every ranking, making it the clear worst performer on all counts.
With carriers like (ASA) and Virgin America (VUS) changing the game in USA airline customer service, and Gulf carriers (with their excellent service reputations) growing their North American footprints on international routes, (UAL) has some real work to do. (Note to Jeff (Smisek): I know a man named Gordon (remember your previous leader, Mr Bethune at Continental Airlines (CAL), who famously took (CAL) from 'worst to first.' You may want to seek his advice).
Addendum: A colleague of mine recently boarded a Delta (DAL) 737-900ER at Detroit bound for Washington DC and texted me raving about the cabin. Mood lighting!, clean, comfortable seats!, in-seat video!, (USB) port!, - - Go Delta!
News Item A-3: Alaska Airlines (ASA) has named Sangita Woerner as VP Marketing, overseeing the company’s strategic marketing, advertising and branding programs. She most recently served as VP Global Coffee Brand Management at Starbucks Coffee Company.
News Item A-4: Alaska Airlines (ASA) is asking the commission in charge of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac) to alter plans to pay for an expanded international arrivals facility mostly with Passenger Facilities Charges (PFCs). It said such a payment structure would disproportionately hurt (ASA) while propping up its competitors.
The issue is seen as something of a proxy fight between (ASA) and its newest and most fierce competitor in Seattle, Delta Air Lines (DAL). Delta (DAL) has said it supports paying for the facility with (PFC)s, arguing that the airport needs an updated international arrivals building for its new Pacific gateway. (ASA) estimates the expansion of the building, opened in 1973, will now cost slightly more than >$600 million, up from an earlier estimate of roughly >$350 million.
In an interview, (ASA) Senior VP Communications & External Relations, Joe Sprague downplayed the Delta (DAL) angle, saying the issue was fairness, not competition. (ASA), he argued, has more than >50% market share at Seattle, but accounts for a tiny fraction of international arrivals. (ASA) could benefit some from carrying international traffic onward from Seattle, but Sprague said that angle was also relatively insignificant.
“In the case of Sea-Tac, 90% of traffic is domestic and 10% is international,” Sprague said. “If 100% of the international facilities project is funded with (PFC)s, that means the vast majority of that project will be funded by domestic travelers who will rarely, if ever, use the facility.”
(ASA) worries (PFC)s for the international project would tie up so much money that future investments important to (ASA) would not be able to move forward. “The problem is SeaTac has numerous capital project needs both on the domestic side and international side,” Sprague said. “If the (PFC) funding goes to pay for basically the debt service on the new international arrivals facility, that means that other airport costs must be paid for in some other way.”
(ASA) is not entirely against using (PFC)s, but it would like to see them used to fund a much smaller proportion of the facility. (ASA) is also asking the Port of Seattle to consider building a slightly less fancy building at a less expensive price. “Maybe 10% of the project is funded by (PFC)s, and the remainder by rates and charges for carriers using the facility,” Sprague said. While that would increase costs for international carriers, Sprague argues that those airlines can absorb it, as they have with the new international terminal at Los Angeles International Airport. “Let’s not have an inequitable cost structure that weakens Alaska Airlines (ASA),” he said.
News Item A-5: See attached "ASA-2015-01 - Seattle-A/B/C/D/E/F/G/H/I" from an Article by Alex Rodriguez in the "Airways" February 2015 magazine.
News Item A-6: See video - - (ASA-Best of 2014 at Alaska Airlines" -
February 2015: News Item A-1: Alaska Airlines (ASA) is seeking to transfer its authority to fly between Los Angeles and Mexico City to American Airlines (AAL), a move that would permit (AAL) to start double-daily flights on June 4.
News Item A-2: Alaska Airlines (ASA) named Jay Gupta as Managing Director Infrastructure & Modern Platforms in its Information Technology (IT) Services division. Gupta is responsible for strategy, implementation and operations for (ASA)'s data centers, airports, call centers and mobile employees. Gupta is former Senior Director Infrastructure with Thomson Reuters. Prior to that, he served as Information Technology (IT) Director for Oracle, leading its global Cloud Services initiatives. (ASA) also elected Andrew Harrison as Executive VP & (CRO), as well as Shane Tackett as VP Revenue Management. (ASA) announced that veteran airline industry expert, Charles Breer will serve as Managing Director Alliances, a new position created to lead (ASA)’s 14 airline alliance partnerships. Breer is a former Managing Director Alliances & Partnerships for US Airways (AMW)/(USA) and American Airlines (AAL).
News Item A-3: SEE ATTACHED - - "ASA-2015-02 - NEW SEATAC TAX" by Alaska Airlines (ASA)'s Joe Sprague, Senior VP Communications & External Relations.
News Item A-4: Alaska Airlines (ASA) will buy +6 more Boeing 737-900ERs, in an order valued at $594 million at current list prices. Four 737-900ERs are scheduled for delivery in 2016 and two in 2017.
The new airplanes bring (ASA)’s total of locally manufactured jets on order to 79.
(ASA) is transitioning to the 737 Next Generation models. Over the next few years, (ASA) said its remaining 737-400s will be replaced with 737-900ERs, which transport +25% more passengers on the same amount of fuel.
News Item A-5: See video - - "ASA-Disney Air to Disney" - -
March 2015: News Item A-1: Alaska Airlines (ASA) has filed applications to begin two nonstop Boeing 737 services from Orange County, California, to Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The flights are pending approval by the USA Department of Transportation and the Mexico’s Directorate General of Civil Aeronautics (DGAC).
The planned year-round service will operate 3x-weekly between Orange County and Puerto Vallarta, and 4x-weekly between Orange County and Los Cabos.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) began flying to Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos more than >25 years ago. Currently, (ASA) operates 36 weekly peak-season flights to Puerto Vallarta and 50 weekly peak-season flights to Los Cabos.
(ASA) increased its Hawaiian offering on March 5th, with the addition of its sixth route to Kona (KOA), and this time from San Diego (SAN). There is no competition on this new sector. Alaska Airlines (ASA) will operate thrice-weekly on the 4,115 km sector, using its 163-seat 737-800s.
News Item A-2: Alaska Airlines (ASA) will begin nonstop daily service between Seattle and New York's (JFK) on September 16th. The daily flight from Seattle to (JFK) is a "redeye," with departure at 9:35 pm and arrival in New York at 6 am. Daily departure from (JFK) is at 7:15 am with a 10.15 am arrival in Seattle.
The new service comes as (ASA) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) continue to compete on service out of Seattle and connections to domestic/international routes.
News Item A-3: Alaska Airlines (ASA) expanded its domestic network with a new route from Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) base to Washington Dulles (IAD) on March 11th. The 3,711 km sector that is already served by United Airlines (UAL) with 20x weekly departures will be operated by (ASA) with daily flights, using its 163-seat 737-800s.
News Item A-4: A series of winter storms streaking across the USA in the past two weeks resulted in a staggering 17,400 flight cancellations and 52,650 delays between February 21 and March 4, as snow and ice crippled major airport hubs, from Dallas and Chicago to Atlanta.
The extreme winter weather, which included multiple ice storms in Dallas and snow and sleet in Atlanta (two of the world's busiest airports) helped influence airline and airport on-time rankings for the month of February.
Southwest Airlines (SWA) was the top on-time performer of all of the major USA airlines during the month, according to "FlightView," while Alaska Airlines (ASA) occupied the top spot in on-time performance for North America. Both Southwest (SWA) and Alaska Airlines (ASA) have extensive route networks throughout the American West, where the weather was unusually placid and mild during February. (ASA) also flies throughout the Frontier State, which saw record warmth and a lack of snow in February.
The flight delays reflect a slight shift in the weather pattern during February that brought snow and ice to a wider area, rather than confining most of winter's misery to southern New England, as happened earlier in the month. Instead, sprawling areas of low pressure and wintry precipitation formed and slowly moved across the USA during the second half of February, affecting nearly every major airline hub from Denver to Detroit.
To put the delays and cancellations into perspective, there are about 23,000 scheduled flights in the USA on an average winter weekday, "USA Today" reported. This means that the two-week delay total was equivalent to about three full days of USA flights.
The delays and cancellations this year far outpaced figures for a similar period last year, according to "FlightAware." The USA saw just 9,003 cancellations between February 22 and March 7, 2014, along with 47,824 total USA flight delays.
April 2015: News Item A-1: The Alaska Air Group, parent of Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Horizon Air, reported a first-quarter net income of +$149 million, up significantly from last year’s first-quarter net income of +$94 million.
Operating revenue was up +4% to $1.3 billion year-over-year (YOY), while expenses were down -5% to $1.03 billion, producing an operating profit of +$238 million, up +69% over the year-ago quarter.
(ASA) (CEO), Brad Tilden said the “record first-quarter results reflect lower fuel prices.” The company’s fuel expenses were down -40.7% in the first quarter.
Tilden told analysts and reporters: “We added three new markets in the first quarter, including Seattle to Dulles, and San Diego - Tacoma. As we look at our network more broadly, (ASA) has added 19 new markets in the last 12 months and 73 new markets in the last five years. In fact, 40% of our revenue and profit in the last year have come from markets we did not serve in the year 2000. The point is this: Our strategy is working. Our people are doing a good job of deploying capital in the right markets, where that capital is producing returns that are materially greater than our cost of capital. And these returns are the driver of the financial results you see today.”
The Alaska Air Group’s first quarter mainline traffic grew +9.2% to 7 billion (RPM)s, while capacity increased +11.4% to 8.35 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 83.8% LF, down -1.6 points over last year’s first quarter. The group carried 5.24 billion passengers in the first quarter, up +10.5% year-over-year. Yield was down -3.4% to 12.88 cents.
(ASA), which is transitioning to the Boeing 737 Next Generation models, purchased +6 more Boeing 737-900ERs in February. The order was valued at $594 million at current list prices. Four airplanes are scheduled for delivery in 2016 and two in 2017. Over the next few years, (ASA)’s remaining 737-400s will be replaced with 737-900ERs, which transport +25% more passengers on the same amount of fuel.
News Item A-2: Alaska Airlines (ASA) may transfer its authority to fly between Los Angeles (LAX) and Mexico City to American Airlines (AAL), the USA Department of Transportation (DOT) tentatively decided on April 17, despite an objection from Delta Air Lines (DAL).
News Item A-3: See attached - - "ASA-2015-04 - Baggage Handler Snoozer.jpg."
May 2015: News Item A-1: See attached "ASA-2015-05 - DAL vs ASA SEATAC-A/B/C.jpg" which details the present situation at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac) where Delta (DAL) executives have been turning Sea-Tac into a hub for its cross-Pacific flights, when Sea-Tac is already a hub for Alaska Airlines (ASA) which is based in Seattle.
News Item A-2: Expanding its battle with Delta Air Lines (DAL), Alaska Airlines (ASA) plans to start service between its Seattle hub and Nashville, Tennessee, Charleston, South Carolina, and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, later this year.
(ASA) begins daily, Baltimore (BWI) - Los Angeles Boeing 737NG service on September 9.
News Item A-3: The Alaska Air Group, parent of Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Horizon Air, has reduced its mainline flying emissions intensity by one-third over the last 10 years through fleet advancements and flight technology. These advances have avoided burning 531 million gallons of fuel since 2004, the equivalent of taking one million cars off the road for a year.
News Item A-4: Alaska Airlines (ASA) has elected Tom Kemp as VP Flight Operations, effective July 1, replacing Gary Beck, who will retire June 30. Kemp is former (ASA) Director of Operations & Managing Director of Standards, Fleet & Operation Control. (ASA) named brand and product marketing expert Derek Chang its new Managing Director of Brand Experience. Chang will head (ASA)’s branding efforts at its airports, in its board rooms and on board its airplanes.
News Item A-5: Alaska Airlines (ASA) has launched "Preferred Plus" seating. The bulkhead and exit row seats will now be available to all customers for paid upgrades after Mileage Plan (MVP), (MVP) Gold and (MVP) Gold 75k members have had an opportunity to reserve them.
June 2015: Alaska Airlines (ASA) is teaming up with the Washington State University-led Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA) to advance the production and use of alternative jet fuel made from forest residuals, the tree limbs and branches that remain after a forest harvest.
As the airline partner for (NARA), (ASA) said it intends next year to fly a demonstration flight using 1,000 gallons of alternative biofuel being produced by the (NARA) team and its many partners. The planned flight signals a growing interest in the aviation industry for a viable alternative to conventional fossil fuel.
(NARA)'s focus is on developing alternative jet fuel derived from post-harvest forest residuals. Residual treetops and branches are often burned after timber harvest. By using these waste materials as the feedstock of a biojet fuel supply chain, (NARA) and its aviation industry partners, seek to reduce fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions as well as bolster sustainable economic-development potential in timber-based rural communities located throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) Senior VP Communications & External Relations, Joe Sprague said, “Sustainable biofuels are a key to aviation's future, and critical in helping the industry and (ASA) reduce its carbon footprint and dependency on fossil fuels.”
(NARA) is a five-year project supported by the USA Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food & Agriculture, and is comprised of 22 member organizations from industry, academia and government laboratories. Its mission is to facilitate development of biojet and bio-product industries in the Pacific Northwest using forest residuals that would otherwise become waste products. A key task of the project is to evaluate the economic, environmental and societal benefits and impacts associated with such developments.
In 2011, (ASA) became the first USA airline to fly multiple commercial passenger flights using a biofuel refined from used cooking oil. (ASA) flew 75 flights between Seattle and Washington DC, and Seattle and Portland. (ASA)’s goal is to use a sustainable aviation biofuel blend on all flights departing one or more airports by 2020. Later this year, (ASA) will fly the first ever commercial flight using an alcohol-to-jet fuel.
June 2015: News Item A-1: Alaska Airlines (ASA) named veteran Information Technology (IT) executive, David Kuhl its new VP Information Technology (IT) services. Kuhl has more than >30 years of experience in the field of (IT), most recently as VP Corporate (IT) at Expedia. Prior to his six years at Expedia, Kuhl led (IT) teams at Microsoft and (AT&T) Wireless/Cingular Wireless, and has worked at Boeing (TBC), General Dynamics, and Arizona State University.
July 2015: News Item A-1: Alaska Air Group, parent of Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Horizon Air, posted second-quarter (GAAP) net income of +$234 million, up +41.8% year-over-year (YOY) from net income of +$165 million in the 2014 June quarter.
“[It is] our 25th consecutive quarterly profit and our best quarterly result ever,” Alaska Air Group (CEO), Brad Tilden said.
For the second quarter, the company’s consolidated operating revenue was $1.44 billion, up +4.5% (YOY). Operating expenses were down -4.2% (YOY) to $1.07 billion, resulting in operating profits of +$372 million, a +41.4% (YOY) increase.
Alaska Air Group’s consolidated second-quarter traffic was up +9% (YOY) to 8.45 billion (RPM)s, with capacity up +10.7% (YOY) to 9.95 billion (ASM)s, leading to a consolidated passenger load factor of 84.9% (LF) for the group, up +1.4 point (YOY). Total revenue passengers carried was 8.02 million, up +9.1% (YOY). Alaska Air Group’s regional service—included in the consolidated figures (includes capacity purchased by (ASA) from regional carriers Horizon Air, SkyWest and PenAir.
The group’s mainline operations (i e, Alaska Airlines (ASA)) saw passenger traffic increase +9% (YOY) to 7.66 billion (RPM)s as capacity grew +11% (YOY) to 8.98 billion (ASM)s, resulting in an 85.3% LF passenger load factor for (ASA) during the quarter. (ASA) carried 5.79 million passengers during the April - June 2015 period, up +9% (YOY).
The consolidated group’s yield was down -3.8% (YOY) to 14.56 cents as (RASM) decreased -5.6% (YOY) to 14.44 cents. Alaska’s group (CASM) ex-fuel was down -3.5% (YOY) to 8.08 cents.
The group reportedly put its first three Embraer E175 E-Jets into regional service during the quarter. Modeled into three-class-service configurations, the EMB-Jets are flying three new routes: Seattle - Milwaukee, Seattle - Oklahoma City, and Portland - St Louis.
During the quarter, SkyWest Airlines announced at the Paris Air Show it will purchase eight new E175 jets to fly for Alaska Airlines (ASA), due for delivery in 2016. The new EMB-Jets are intended to replace eight older regional jets SkyWest currently flies for (ASA)’s regional service.
News Item A-2: Alaska Airlines (ASA) took a step away from longtime-partner Delta Air Lines (DAL) by announcing a new frequent-flyer pact with China's Hainan Airlines (HNA).
The new link with one of China's highest-rated airlines gives Alaska leverage to woo passengers flying into the world's most populous country, from the USA West Coast.
It's just one of many strategies (ASA) executives have been implementing as they fight off the threat of Delta (DAL)'s growing presence at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, which also is Alaska (ASA)'s primary hub.
"It's a big deal for (ASA) because we've opened up a brand-new way to get to China for our members, and will open more of China than before," said Charles Breer, Managing Director of Alliances for (ASA). "China is a big deal, it's growing very fast, (ASA) is a very strong USA domestic carrier."
The new frequent flyer exchange adds a third way people can generate (ASA) miles by flying to Asia aboard international carriers. (ASA) members can also collect miles on flights from Seattle operated by Korean Air (KAL) and Emirates (EAD).
"It formalizes international passenger feed into (ASA)'s system, so increases revenue to Alaska," said travel consultant, Steve Danishek. "Likewise it formalizes (ASA)'s passenger feed to Hainan as a replacement for feed to (DAL) to Asian destinations."
In the last two years, (DAL) has turned Sea-Tac into its West Coast hub for trans-Pacific operations, in the process adding its own domestic flights from Seattle to feed those international flights. This latter step has partly displaced (ASA).
(ASA) does still have a frequent flier relationship with (DAL), but revenue from linked flights with (DAL) dropped -1.1% between 2013 to 2014, to US$44 million.
"This reduces (ASA)'s dependence on (DAL) as a mileage partner," Danishek said. "We assume that the (ASA)-(DAL) mileage tie-up will eventually fail, perhaps pushed along by this."
The offering is far broader than just Hainan (HNA)'s two destination cities in China, because the frequent flyer pact will include connecting flights to (HNA)'s 90 destinations in China and around the world.
From now until the end of October, anyone flying on a (HNA) flight booked through (ASA) will earn double miles, as will anyone flying from China aboard (HNA) as part of a promotion for the new deal.
(HNA) currently operates nonstop flights from Beijing and Shanghai to Seattle, after starting the latter service in June. (HNA), the largest privately owned commercial carrier in China, was named "Asia's Best Business Class" in the 2014 annual World Travel Awards.
2 737-990ER (44105, N478AS; 60576, N479AS), deliveries.
August 2015: News Item A-1: The Alaska Air Group approved a share repurchase program authorizing the company to buy back up to $1 billion of its common stock. This is the largest repurchase program in the airline’s history, representing 10% of the stock market capitalization of the company. The board also declared a quarterly cash dividend of 20 cents per share payable on September 1 to shareholders of record as of August 18.
(ASA) Alaska Airlines parent, the Alaska Air Group, is set to proceed with an additional USD1 billion share buyback scheme following approval from the board of directors. The buy-back, (ASA)'s ninth since 2007, will begin once an existing USD650 million repurchase scheme is completed.
(ASA) has spent over >USD1.1 billion buying back more than 53 million shares of its stock, or about one third of the total shares outstanding at that time.
Other airlines to have announced similar initiatives include American Airlines (AAL) (USD2 billion), United Airlines (UAL) (USD3 billion), Delta Air Lines (DAL) (USD5 billion), and Southwest Airlines (SWA) (USD1.5 billion).
News Item A-2: "Alaska Airlines (ASA) (RNP) Procedures Produce Better Fuel Economics in Seattle" by Avionics Today, Woodrow Bellamy III, August 11, 2015.
Research from a June 2015 Boeing (TBC) report on the Seattle "Greener Skies" initiative, shows that Alaska Airlines (ASA)'s use of NextGen flight procedures at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac) can yield massive fuel and emissions savings per landing. The seven-year "Greener Skies Over Seattle" project was launched in 2010 as a collaborative project under the (FAA)’s "NextGen airspace modernization" initiative to add 27 new Performance Based Navigation (PBN) procedures and expand the use of Optimized Profile Descents (OPD).
The report from Boeing (TBC) compared the airplane descent arrival of a typical (ASA) 737-800W using the Required Navigation Performance (RNP) procedure featured for Seattle-Tacoma's runway 16R to the standard earliest approach vector turn, the standard typical approach vector turn, and the standard bad weather approach turn procedure for runway 16R. Results from the comparison showed that the use of the (RNP) procedure reduces -87 gallons of fuel and -1,858 pounds of carbon emissions compared to the standard approach procedure.
(RNP) provides computer-plotted landing paths by using a combination of on board navigation technology and the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite network. It improves safety and reliability in all weather, and reduces reliance on ground-based navigation aids.
Using the (RNP) approach also reduces the overall flight time by nearly -9 minutes, according to the report. An estimated 80% of (ASA)'s fleet of 137 airplanes are equipped with the avionics required to fly the "Greener Skies" procedures. Airplanes using large airports such as Sea-Tac are traditionally required to maintain vertical separation of 1,000 feet or three miles of lateral separation until they’re lined up with the runway. As of April of this year, most of (ASA)’s fleet has been able to land at the airport with just 1.5 miles of lateral separation, because controllers know that they can rely on the airplanes to stay precisely within their assigned NextGen approach paths.
Captain Oscar Zela, Chief Technical Pilot at Alaska Airlines (ASA), told "Avionics Magazine" that the use of (RNP) at Seattle and other airports throughout the National Airspace System (NAS) yields “incredible” fuel savings.
"The profile has been built efficiently, where (with very few interruptions) the pilot (FC) can start the descent at 35,000 feet and end up at around 6,000 feet without too many interim level-offs," said Zela. "Whereas, if you were in the conventional profile, the pilot (FC) would descend to about 12,000 to 14,000 feet, and then the controller would give you instructions to constantly descend and level off. At Seattle, it would be 10,000, 7,000, 5,000 and 3,200 feet, and then you get turned in and you just leveled off five times. When you watch the fuel flow meter for an idle plane versus an airplane flying level at 5,000 feet, it's a tremendous difference."
Zela said (ASA) originally started equipping its airplanes with (RNP) technology and using the procedures to help with landing at remote and geographically challenging airports within Alaska, prior to the (FAA)'s official launch of the NextGen program. The (FAA) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on board avionics requirements for (RNP) operations incorporate multi-mode receivers included in the basic airplane configuration.
To fly (RNP) (AR) 0.30 nm Final and 1.0 nm missed approach, Boeing (TBC) recommends a dual Flight Management Computer (FMC) configuration and speed, plus altitude intervention activation as a retrofit for its 737-300/-400/-500 models, as well as for its Next-Generation 737s, 757s, 767s, 747-400s, 777s and Boeing McDonnell (MD) family airplanes.
Within the next two to three years, (ASA)'s entire fleet should be equipped to fly (RNP) procedures at Sea-Tac and throughout the (NAS). (ASA) estimates that the use of (RNP) in Seattle is producing savings of -$200 per flight. "We’re going to phase out our Boeing 737-400s and go with all Next Generation (NG) and MAX configuration airplanes shortly," said Zela. "We currently have some regional jets, older Boeing 757s and (MD)s that aren't equipped, but those will be phased out soon enough. Every pilot (FC) at both (ASA) and Horizon are trained to fly them, as we want to take advantage of those fuel savings on every flight that we possibly can."
News Item A-3: Alaska Airlines (ASA) is using new 76-seat regional jets to compete on monopoly routes at Portland International Airport (PDX) and provide an unchallenged nonstop link to Omaha, a popular market for connecting traffic. (ASA) already offers more flights from Portland than any other airline, but it will use SkyWest Airlines’ Embraer E175s to introduce new competition on flights to Kansas City and Minneapolis St Paul from February 18.
News Item A-4: Alaska Airlines (ASA) launched services between Boise (BOI) and Spokane (GEG) on August 24. The 462 km sector will be served twice-daily, using Horizon Air’s Bombardier Q400s. The route will face direct competition from Southwest Airlines (SWA), which operates an 11x-weekly frequency on the city pair using its 737-700s.
September 2015: News Item A-1: Alaska Airlines (ASA) commenced services between Los Angeles (LAX) and Baltimore/Washington (BWI) on September 9. The 3,737 km sector will be operated daily, with flights leaving the Californian hub at 2310, arriving into Baltimore/Washington at 0712 the next morning. The return flight leaves at 0830, arriving back in Los Angeles at 1104 the same morning. The airport pair will be served by (ASA) using its 737-800s, while the route itself will face direct competition from Southwest Airlines (SWA) (13x-weekly), Spirit Airlines (SPR) (daily) and United Airlines (UAL) (daily).
News Item A-2: "Alaska Airlines Shows How Independent Carriers Are Changing USA Transcontinental Flying" by Karen Walker in (ATW) Editor's Blog, September 28, 2015.
I flew from Washington Reagan to Portland Oregon on a direct, five-and-a-half hour flight with Alaska Airlines (ASA).
It was an interesting and very positive experience and one that shows how the USA independent carriers such as (ASA), JetBlue (JBL) and Virgin America (VUS) are really changing the face of coast-to-coast flying in the USA (flights that can be almost as long as some transatlantic flights but which the legacy carriers have treated with indifference in terms of on board service).
The (ASA) airplane was a Boeing 737-800; I had an exit aisle seat, so lots of legroom, but then the economy (Y) pitch in general on (ASA) airplanes seems generous, because (ASA) has installed Recaro Slimline seats that are designed to give more space for the knees. Also, each seat is equipped with a power outlet and a (USB) port.
The crew, meanwhile, could not have been more cheerful or helpful throughout the flight (along with a very chatty captain who provided tourist tips on cities as we flew over them). The cabin crew (CA) came through four times with drinks/meals/snacks/water offerings. There was a choice of hot or cold meals that were pretty substantial and around $7 each.
There are no overhead video screens, but small tablets were available at a nominal fee, that were loaded with movies and TV programs. These could sit on your table or hook into the top portion of the back of the seat. Wi-fi was available, so many people were using their own laptop devices and tablets, but I wanted to try the (ASA) tablet, and it was great.
The airplane was spotlessly clean (and it didn’t hurt that we arrived 15 minutes early).
Compare this with (oh, you just know I’m going to say this) United Airlines (UAL) transcontinental service. I flew direct Dulles - San Diego on a very old and tired A320 on which there were no overhead videos, no power outlets or (USB) ports (not even in first (F) class, let alone economy (Y)); and the crew (CA) came down the aisle twice (but the second time just with water). Not sure they even know what Wi-fi is?
As I’ve said before in this blog, American (AAL) and Delta (DAL) are considerably upping their game when it comes to service. But when you compare legacy services on USA long-haul flights with those of (ASA), Hawaiian (HWI), JetBlue (JBL) (whose "Mint" coast-to-coast service has lie-flat beds) and Virgin America (VUS) (fantastic service recently between (DCA) and San Francisco; very cool cabins and great In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) offerings), it’s the independents that are leading the way. (And by the way, (ASA) is also turning in great financials (so it’s smart service as well).
News Item A-3: "(NASA) Developed Technology Aims to Save Commercial Airlines Fuel, and Time" by www,aviationnews.eu Rob Vogelaar, September 23, 2015.
Two passenger airlines soon will test (NASA)-developed software designed to help air carriers save time and reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions.
During the next three years, Virgin America (VUS) and Alaska Airlines (ASA) will use the "Traffic Aware Planner (TAP)" application - - see attached - - "ASA-2015-09 - Traffic Aware Planner.jpg," to make “traffic aware strategic aircrew requests” (TASAR).
“(TAP) connects directly to the airplane avionics information hub on the airplane,” said David Wing, (TASAR) project lead at (NASA)’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. “It reads the current position and altitude of the airplane, its flight route, and other real-time information that defines the airplane’s current situation and active flight plan. Then it automatically looks for a variety of route and/or altitude changes, that could save fuel or flight time and displays those solutions directly to the flight crew (FC).”
(TAP) also can connect with the plane’s Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) receiver and scan the (ADS-B) signals of nearby air traffic to avoid potential conflicts in any proposed flight path changes, making it easier for air traffic controllers to approve a pilot (FC)’s route change request.
For airlines with Internet connectivity in the cockpit, (TAP) also can access information such as real-time weather conditions, wind forecast updates and restricted airspace status, to further increase flight efficiency. The software is loaded onto a tablet computer, which many airline pilots (FC) already use for charts and flight calculations.
Wing and his team already have tested the (TASAR) software twice aboard a Piaggio P180 Avanti aircraft, a high-performance technology test bed owned and operated by Advanced Aerospace Solutions, (LLC) of Raleigh, North Carolina. The system worked well on its initial test flight from Virginia to Kentucky, according to its test pilot (FC), former airline captain, William Cotton. “We used it to make a route change request from air traffic control (ATC), which they granted,” said Cotton. “We got a shortcut that saved -4 minutes off the flight time.”
Even -4 minutes of flight time shaved off of each leg of a trip made by an airline, could result in massive fuel and time savings, according to researchers. The software provided similar results as flight tests continued in the northeast corridor. A second round of flight tests was recently completed to ensure readiness for operational use by partner airlines.
The (TASAR) flight tests came after a dozen pilots (FC) provided feedback on the technology in a simulation at the University of Iowa Operator Performance Laboratory in Iowa City, Iowa. In addition, aerospace systems manufacturer, Rockwell Collins of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, analyzed (TASAR) to make sure it is safe and can be readily certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
“We’re excited to partner with (NASA) to test this new technology that has the potential to help reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions and save our guests, time in the air” said Virgin America (VUS) Chief Operating Officer (COO), Steve Forte in Burlingame, California.
“Up until now there has been no way to deliver comprehensive wind and congestion data to pilots (FC) in near-real time,” said Tom Kemp, Alaska Airlines (ASA)’s VP Operations in Seattle, Washington. “(TASAR) is a ‘super app’ that will give our pilots (FC) better visibility to what’s happening now, versus three hours earlier, when the flight plan was prepared.”
Developers say the new technology won’t require changes to the roles and responsibilities of pilots (FC) or air traffic controllers, which would allow the system to be implemented fast, and start producing benefits right away. “The system is meant to help pilots (FC) make better route requests that air traffic controllers can more often approve,” said Wing. “This should help pilots (FC) and controllers work more effectively together and reduce workload on both sides from un-approvable requests. (TASAR) takes advantage of (NASA)’s state-of-the-art (TAP) software, flight information directly from the airplane and the emerging (ADS-B) and Internet infrastructure to help pilots (FC) get approved to fly the most efficient or time-saving trajectory possible.”
(NASA) researchers expect this and other aviation technologies under development will help revolutionize the national airspace system, reducing delays and environmental impacts, and improving passenger comfort and efficiency, even as the demand for air travel continues to grow.
News Item A-4: Alaska Airlines (ASA) named 26-year aviation veteran, John Ladner as Managing Director of Fleet, Standards & Operational Control, a position he previously held from 2010 - 2011. John replaces Tom Kemp, who was recently promoted to VP Flight Operations.
(ASA) has named 25-year (ASA) employee, Wayne Newton, as Managing Director of its Seattle station, overseeing the day-to-day operations at its largest hub. Newton replaces John Ladner, who moved into the role of Managing Director, Fleet, Standards & Operational Control on September 1.
News Item A-5: Alaska Airlines (ASA) will turn some of its passenger airplanes into full freighters, as part of a larger strategy to retire its aging fleet of Boeing 737-400s.
October 2015: News Item A-1: Alaska Airlines (ASA) commenced services between Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) and Raleigh-Durham (RDU) on October 1. The 3,779 km sector will be flown daily, with (ASA) using its 737-800s on the city pair. The service will not face any direct competition. This brings to 82 the number of destinations served non-stop by (ASA) from Seattle-Tacoma, of which Raleigh-Durham ranks as the 12th longest in distance.
News Item A-3: Alaska Airlines (ASA) named Ryan Butz as Managing Director of Loyalty, overseeing its mileage plan, credit card program and customer communications.
November 2015: Alaska Airlines (ASA) started its 1st flights into Costa Rica, with 4x-weekly services from Los Angeles (LAX) to both Liberia (LIR) and San José (SJO). The former 4,228 km sector began on November 1, while 4,379 km services to the Costa Rican capital began the day before. Delta Air Lines (DAL) is the incumbent on both sectors, flying daily to San José and 3x-weekly to Liberia from the Californian airport. Both routes are operated by (DAL)’s 737-700 fleet.
737-990 (44109, N491AS), ex-(N488AS) delivery.
December 2015: News Item A-1: Alaska Airlines (ASA)commenced services on December 16 between Los Angeles (LAX) and Gunnison (GUC), Colorado. The 1,147 km sector will be operated 2x-weekly on Wednesdays and Saturdays and be flown by Horizon Air’s 76-seat Bombardier Q400s. The route will face no incumbent carriers. (ASA) becomes the 3rd carrier to serve Gunnison, with American Airlines (AAL) and United Airlines (UAL) also operating services to the Colorado airport.
News Item A-2: Alaska Airlines (ASA) will retrofit its airplanes to include a premium (PY) class section in addition to its economy (Y) and first-class (F) seats.
The new premium option, available late next year, will offer seats in a configuration providing 3 to4 inch of extra legroom compared to economy (Y) class. The fare will also include priority-boarding access and other yet-to-be announced amenities.
(ASA) said it will modify up to 60 airplanes with the new section by the end of 2016, and complete the retrofit project by the end of 2017. It will install the premium (PY) class on its Boeing 737-800, 737-900 and 737-900ER models as well as on Embraer E175s flown by regional carrier SkyWest. The E175s will be outfitted with 12 premium-economy (PY) seats.
(ASA) plans to “reconfigure and reduce” the seat counts on some of its airplanes to make way for the new premium (PY) section, which will have pitch of at least 35 inches. It will also extend the pitch on first-class (F) seats from 36 inches to 41 inches.
On its 61 Boeing 737-800s (which will get 30 premium-class (PY) seats), (ASA) is reducing the number of first-class (F) seats from 16F to 12F. It will also decrease the economy seat count from 147Y to 117Y on those airplanes. The Boeing 737-900 and 737-900ERs will lose 27 main cabin seats to make way for 24PY in premium class, and the SkyWest E175s will lose -12.
(ASA) did not indicate it would retrofit its older Boeing 737-400s and 737–700s, but said it will still offer “Preferred Plus” extra leg room upgrades for bulkhead and exit row seats on those airplanes.
News Item A-3: Boeing (TBC) and Alaska Airlines (ASA) are partnering to power all flights by all airlines at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac) with sustainable aviation biofuel. The 2 companies have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to launch a $250,000 Biofuel Infrastructure Feasibility Study that will assess costs and infrastructure necessary to deliver a blend of aviation biofuel and conventional jet fuel to airplanes at the airport.
According to Boeing (TBC), Sea-Tac is the first USA airport to lay out a long-term roadmap to incorporate aviation biofuel into its infrastructure in a cost-effective, efficient manner. “As leaders in aviation biofuels, this will send a signal to airlines and biofuel producers that Sea-Tac Airport will be ready to integrate commercial-scale use of aviation biofuels,” Port of Seattle Commissioner, John Creighton said. “Biofuel infrastructure will make Sea-Tac airport an attractive option for any airline committing to use biofuel, and will assist in attracting biofuel producers to the region as part of a longer-term market development strategy.”
The partners’ longer-term plan is to incorporate significant quantities of biofuel into Sea-Tac’s fuel infrastructure, which is used by all 26 airlines and more than >380,000 flights annually at the airport.
Sea-Tac is the 13th busiest airport in the USA and will serve >42 million domestic and international passengers this year.
See attached - "ASA-2015-12 - Biofuel at Sea-Tac-A/B.jpg."
News Item A-4: Alaska Airlines (ASA) named 20-year airline Maintenance & Operations veteran, Greg Mays as VP Labor Relations. In his new role, Mays will be responsible for all labor matters at (ASA) and lead the collective bargaining process for (ASA). He will officially transitions to the position on January 15, 2016. Previously, Mays served as (ASA)’s VP Maintenance & Engineering.
January 2016: News Item A-1: "Alaska Air Group 2015 Net Profit Up +40% to +$848 million" by (ATW) Mark Nensel, January 21, 2016.
The Alaska Air Group, parent of Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Horizon Air, posted a full-year 2015 net profit of +$848 million, up +40.2% from 2014’s +$605 million net result.
Alaska’s 2015 operating revenue grew +4.3% year-over-year (YOY) to $5.6 billion. Operating expenses fell -2.4% (YOY) to $4.3 billion, resulting in an operating profit for the year of +$1.3 billion, up +34.9% (YOY).
On releasing the group’s 2015 results, the group announced a $0.275 per-share dividend increase, up +38% from the 2015 third-quarter.
Alaska Air Group (CEO) Brad Tilden told investors and reporters, “There’s obviously some concern in the industry about the revenue environment, and on that score, I would like to say we’re quite optimistic about 2016 and we feel good about both our geographies and our customer segments.” Tilden said that “90% of our revenue is generated in the domestic USA market which is a good place to be and two thirds of our revenue has a leisure focus which is more resilient in a downturn and more stable to the cycle.”
Alaska Air Group’s consolidated traffic rose +9.3% in 2015 to 33.58 billion (RPM)s on a +10.6% increase in capacity to 39.81 billion (ASM)s, producing a full-year load factor of 84.1% LF, down -1 point from 2014. Full-year (RASM) fell -5.7% (YOY) to 14.03¢ and (CASM) excluding fuel was 8.30¢, down -0.7% (YOY). Yield fell -4.3% (YOY) to 14.27¢.
“As we move forward into 2016, we’re focused on a number of new initiatives which we expect will bring value to both customers and shareholders,” Tilden said, citing the airline group’s intended launch in 2016 of a new premium class seating format; continued fleet reconfiguration and renewal of the 737 fleet at Alaska Airlines (ASA) (11 new Boeing 737-900ERs were added in 2015); and the possible introduction of regional jets at Horizon Air. The company added 5 Embraer E175s in 2015 and announced plans to expand the number of E175s to 23 by the end of 2017, 8 of which will replace Horizon’s currently operating CRJ700 regional jets.
News Item A-2: See - - "ASA-2016-01 - Alaska Air New Looks.jpg."
News Item A-3: Alaska Airlines (ASA) appointed Kurt Kinder, VP Maintenance & Engineering.
February 2016: News Item A-1: Alaska Airlines (ASA) on February 18 commenced services to 3 destinations from Portland (PDX), namely to Kansas City (MCI), Minneapolis-St Paul (MSP), and Omaha (OMA). All services will be flown on (ASA)’s fleet of E175s (operated by SkyWest) on a daily basis. Commenting on the launch of the new route trio, John Kirby VP Capacity Planning at (ASA) said: “We continue to expand our Portland service portfolio with new non-stop routes to America’s Heartland. With these new flights, (ASA) will offer >3x- the number of non-stop destinations from the Rose City than any other carrier.” Services on the 2,377 km sector to Kansas City will face direct competition from Southwest Airlines (SWA), which itself operates a daily service. The airport pair of Portland to Minneapolis-St Paul also faces an incumbent carrier, with Delta Air Lines (DAL) serving the route 19x-weekly. Services to Omaha will face no direct competition.
News Item A-2: "Alaska Airlines Signs New Ad Agency, Designer for New Uniforms" by (ATW) Madhu Unnikrishnan, February 12, 2016.
As part of its new brand refresh and marketing campaign, Alaska Airlines (ASA) has chosen a new advertising agency of record, its 1st agency change in 20 years.
(ASA) selected Mekanism, an agency based in New York and San Francisco, ending its relationship with Seattle-based, WONGDOODY. Mekanism’s clients include Starbucks, Amazon, and Nordstrom Rack. Mekanism is opening a Seattle office.
“Mekanism’s strategic approach to delivering breakthrough creative and mastery of digital advertising set them apart,” (ASA) VP Marketing, Sangita Woerner said. “We’re looking forward to partnering with them to further differentiate (ASA).”
(ASA)’s brand refresh includes a new livery, which will debut on new Boeing 737 airplanes in the next month. (ASA) expects to repaint its entire fleet in the next 3 to 4 years. This is (ASA)’s 1st brand refresh in 25 years.
As part of this project, (ASA) has chosen Seattle-based designer, Luly Yang to design uniforms, which are expected to debut for (ASA)’s 12,000 uniformed employees in 2018.
News Item A-3: Alaska Airlines (ASA) has selected the Embraer (EMB) E175 for its pending order of 30 regional jets, the Wall Street Journal reported. (ASA) also has purchase options for +30 more. The firm order is worth $1.3 billion at list prices. However, market data from aircraft valuation firm, Avitas pegs the price after standard discounts at about $876 million. The E175s will be flown by (ASA) regional subsidiary, Horizon Air.
The other contender for the order was the Bombardier (BMB) CRJ900.
March 2016: News Item A-1: "USA Carriers File Applications to Start Scheduled Flights to Cuba" by (ATW) Editor Karen Walker, March 2, 2016.
All 4 USA major carriers and at least 3 independents filed applications with the USA government March 2, seeking approval to provide non-stop services to Cuba.
The flood of filings, submitted March 2, come after the USA and Cuba announced an agreement in February to resume scheduled commercial air service. Services are expected to begin late summer or early fall this year, with an initial total of 20x-daily round-trip flights being allocated to USA airlines between the USA and Havana and 10x-daily round-trip flights to 9 other Cuban cities.
Those slots will be hard fought over as the consolidated “big 4”:— American Airlines (AAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL), United Airlines (UAL) and Southwest Airlines (SWA)) and independents Alaska Airlines (ASA), JetBlue Airways (JBL) and Silver Airways rushed to get their applications in. Ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC) Spirit Airlines (SPR), based in Florida, has also said it said it plans to apply.
(AAL) is requesting 10 daily frequencies to Havana from its Miami hub plus additional service to Havana from Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, and Chicago. (AAL)’s proposal also includes daily service between Miami and five other Cuban cities.
To Havana, (AAL) is proposing 10 daily flights from Miami, 1x-daily from Charlotte and (DFW), and 1x-weekly from (LAX) and Chicago. (AAL) also wants to fly 2x-daily services out of Miami to Santa Clara, Holguin, and Varadero; and daily service to Camaguey and Cienfuegos.
Delta (DAL) wants to fly daily flights to Havana from Atlanta, New York (JFK), Miami, and Orlando, using Boeing 757-200s out of its Atlanta and (JFK) hubs and 737-800s on the Miami and Orlando routes.
United (UAL)'s proposal seeks 11 roundtrip flights per week to Havana that includes daily service from New York, plus one additional Saturday flight (8x-weekly flights), along with a Saturday-only flight from Houston George Bush Intercontinental, Washington Dulles and Chicago O'Hare (3x-weekly). (UAL) would use 737-800s.
Southwest (SWA) wants to serve Havana from 3 Florida airports: (Fort Lauderdale, Tampa Bay, and Orlando) as well as fly to Varadero and Santa Clara from Fort Lauderdale. (SWA) is an all-737 operator.
New York-based, JetBlue (JBL) would put Airbus A320s and A321s on 15 daily frequencies connecting 4 Cuba cities with 6 cities. These include 2x-daily, New York (JFK) to Havana; 4x-daily, Fort Lauderdale to Havana; 1x-daily, Fort Lauderdale to Camaguey; 1x-daily, Fort Lauderdale to Holguiìn; 1x-daily, Fort Lauderdale to Santa Clara; 2x-daily, Orlando to Havana; 2x-daily, Tampa to Havana; 1x-daily, Newark to Havana; and 1x-daily, Boston to Havana.
JetBlue (JBL) said it anticipates a start date of September 8, or within <100 days after receipt of all necessary approvals, whichever is earlier.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) (seemingly the only USA carrier with a concept of Cuba’s still limited and fragile infrastructure) has placed a relatively modest request to fly 2x-daily nonstop flights from Los Angeles to Havana, operating 737-900ERs.
Silver Airways, a small regional carrier that operates Saab 340B turboprops, is seeking approval to serve 10 Cuban destinations from the five Florida cities of Key West, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, and Fort Myers/Naples.
Although the restoration of an air bilateral with Cuba is widely welcomed, general USA tourist travel to Cuba is still not allowed. Initially, at least, the new arrangement will be aimed at facilitating visits by travelers who fall under one of the 12 categories authorized by the USA Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.
However, USA President, Barack Obama is scheduled to make an historic visit to Cuba March 21 - 22 (the first sitting USA President to visit the Caribbean island in 88 years) as part of efforts to normalize diplomatic relations.
(IATA) and others forecast that USA tourism to Cuba will see huge growth.
News Item A-2: "Cuba is a Rare, Hot-growth Opportunity for USA Airlines" by Karen Walker in (ATW) Editor's Blog, March 3, 2016.
Large and significant as it is, the USA domestic air transport market is essentially a mature market, growing at about +4 to +5% annually. Relative to regions like China, which is seeing domestic travel increase at about +10% year over year, or India, that is seeing an astonishing +20% clip, the USA market has limited growth opportunities.
That helps to explain the mass rush to grab available frequencies to Cuba for scheduled flights that will become available later this year under the new USA - Cuba air bilateral.
American Airlines (AAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL), Southwest Airlines (SWA), United Airlines (UAL), Alaska Airlines (ASA), JetBlue Airways (JBL), Silver Airways, Spirit Airlines (SPR), and Frontier Airlines (FRO) all want to get a slice of what is a rare new growth market right on America’s doorstep. Cuba isn’t a USA domestic destination, of course, but much of the Caribbean is regarded as “almost” domestic (especially from Florida and east coast cities (and Puerto Rico is a USA territory)) in terms of appeal and ease of access for American tourists.
What each of these airlines wants to establish is a foot in the door of this new market, then build on it as USA - Cuban diplomatic relations thaw and normalize. Here’s an opportunity to get in first on a near-USA market that is expected to see double-digit air traffic growth, akin to the emerging and much further afield markets like China and India.
India, of course, is a much tougher market for USA airlines to break into because the major Gulf carriers got ahead of that game. China, also, is a huge future market (but Chinese carriers are also growing fast, in numbers, quality, aircraft capacity and ability to compete).
Cuba has only Cubana (CUB), a small airline with very limited resources and which has been severely restricted by Havana in the types and origin of aircraft and components it can operate.
In the application filings submitted this week to the USA Department of Transportation, (AAL) made the biggest grab, seeking more than half of the 20 daily round trips that are expected to be made available to Havana, as well as some of the 10 daily round trips dispersed among Cuba’s other 9 airports. (AAL)’s interest is natural, given its Miami hub, but it seems unlikely that the (DOT) will extend a large hand to the largest of the big 4 consolidated airlines. That probably explains why (AAL) has hedged its bets and also submitted applications for Cuban cities like Santa Clara, Holguin, and Varadero, which the other airlines are far less interested in. Havana is the prize.
What will be interesting to see is whether the (DOT) divvies this year’s flight allocations between a couple of the “big 4,” enabling them to offer meaningful frequencies and connections from the get-go, or whether it will disperse them more widely so that independents like JetBlue (JBL) (which operates charters to Cuba), Alaska (ASA), or even small turboprop regional, Silver can get a foothold and keep the market competitive. My guess is the latter.
The timing of this opportunity is also interesting. A few short years ago, Southwest Airlines (SWA) would not have been a player, but since its acquisition merger with AirTran (CQT), it has become an international airline with a significant Caribbean market it wants to grow. Will the (DOT) regard (SWA) as a low-cost competitor in its decision-making, or just another one of the big 4 that dominates 80% of the USA domestic market and warrants as much control as (AAL), (DAL), and (UAL)?
But remember, the real growth trajectory won’t occur until the USA lifts its prohibition on regular American tourists who can visit Cuba, just as they do in their millions to the Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Mexico and the rest of the Caribbean. That’s the historic landmark that these USA airlines want to get ahead of and why these initial flight allocations are so important. It’s a critical moment for a USA airline to get in on the ground as a new market opens; and that’s a rare opportunity.
News Item A-3: "Virgin America (VUS) in Buy-out Talks with Alaska (ASA), JetBlue (JBL)" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, March 29, 2016.
Virgin America (VUS), which started operations out of San Francisco in 2007, is reportedly in talks to sell itself to either the Alaska Air Group or USA independent, JetBlue Airways (JBL).
Bloomberg 1st reported the discussions, citing unnamed sources.
According to multiple media reports, the sales talks are being driven by Cyrus Capital and Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, which together own a majority of (VUS), the San Francisco-based airline’s shares. The Virgin Group originally had a 25% stake in (VUS) and Branson was front and center, when Virgin America (VUS) launched, promising to improve upon the USA airline industry’s “abysmal” service.
While (VUS), an all-Airbus A320 operator, has gained plaudits for its mood-lit cabins and customized leather seats, it struggled for years to turn a profit, finally moving into the black in 2014. It raised >$300 million in an initial public offering (IPO) in November 2014.
Virgin America (VUS), (CEO) David Cush said at an industry conference last year that Virgin America (VUS) and other smaller USA airlines face a major competitive disadvantage because the consolidated legacy USA airlines (American Airlines (AAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL), and United Airlines (UAL)) are squeezing them out of domestic USA regional flight networks, narrowing the number of passengers with access to the smaller airlines.
New York-based, JetBlue (JBL) earned a +$667 million net profit in 2015. Seattle-based Alaska, parent of Alaska Airlines (AAL) and Horizon Air, reported net income of +$848 million in 2015.
News Item A-4: "If Virgin America is For Sale, Would a Deal be Allowed?" by Karen Walker in (ATW) Editor's Blog, March 30, 2016.
The potential prospect of Virgin America (VUS) being merged with either Alaska Airlines (ASA) or JetBlue Airways (JBL) is intriguing. The question many industry observers are asking is “which is the best fit?” and the general consensus is that (JBL) would be the better match.
But a more important question, if a deal were struck with either airline, is whether USA regulators would let another airline merger happen?
On paper, (JBL) is seen as the better fit for (VUS) because of the fleet commonality (both operate A320 family aircraft, whereas (ASA) operates Boeing 737s. There’s also good network synergy. Take a look at (VUS)’s route map, and (JBL)’s. (VUS)’s west coast and (JBL)'s east coast respective strengths play to each other; combine them, and each gains greater access (and a larger combined market share) to some of the USA’s most important and congested airports. In particular, the transcontinental routes of both airlines would be boosted (a desirable outcome in terms of their ability to compete with the three consolidated majors: (AAL), (DAL), and (UAL).
(VUS) also extends (JBL)’s reach into Hawaii and Baja California/western Mexico, while (VUS) benefits from (JBL)’s extensive Florida and Caribbean routes.
There’s also a “culture synergy” (both carriers are known for their good service at competitive prices and unique products. (JBL) continued to give complementary snacks, long after the legacy majors stopped handing out free peanuts (and the (JBL) basket of goodies is packed full of choices). It was a USA airline pioneer in providing free DirectTV service at every seat from launch, and recently introduced an attractively-priced lie-flat seat service (labeled "Mint") on some of its transcontinental routes. Similarly, (VUS) introduced Americans to in-seat combined (IFE) and service systems that allow passengers to view a wide array of movies and TV programs, and order drinks and meals, when they want them.
However, I would add that, leaving aside the fleet commonality and east-west bases, (ASA) has a similar service culture and “pioneering” spirit. And for all three of these independents, finding ways to grow, now that the consolidated majors control some 80% of the USA domestic market, is a tough proposition.
But even if there’s a willingness by either (JBL) or (ASA) to strike a deal (and assuming it is palatable to (VUS)), it could well come unstuck in Washington. For starters, the USA Departments of Transportation & Justice both seem to have misgivings about allowing the merger-acquisitions of Delta (DAL) - Northwest (NWA), United (UAL) - Continental (CAL), Southwest (SWA) - AirTran (CQT), and American (AAL) - US Airways (AMW)/(USA). Indeed, the (DOJ) tried to block the (AAL) - USAir (AMW)/(USA) deal, and last year launched an antitrust investigation into alleged capacity planning collusion by the majors. The government is also under pressure from lawmakers who couple airline industry consolidation with record profits and equate that, in their eyes, with poorer service.
Therefore, any new moves towards further airline consolidation would be put under a tough regulatory spotlight. At the very least, getting merger approval is likely to be a protracted process involving multiple congressional hearings and perhaps demands for more “pro-consumer” legislation. Even though the market share and network of a combined (VUS) - (JBL) (or, for that matter (VUS) - (ASA)) would still be dwarfed by the 4 majors, the phrase “airline consolidation” is now a highly unpopular one inside the Beltway.
News Item A-5: "Volcano Eruption Prompted Alaska Airlines to Cancel Flights" by (ATW) Linda Blachly, March 28, 2016.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) canceled 41 flights to and from 6 cities in northern Alaska (including all flights operating to and from Fairbanks) because of a massive ash cloud that moved north at up to 65 knots/75 mph. The canceled flights affected 3,300 passengers.
Mount Pavlof, an active volcano located 600 miles southwest from Anchorage, Alaska, was actively erupting since March 27, Sunday evening.
Unaccompanied minors and pets traveling as cargo were also embargoed until weather conditions improved, according to (ASA).
(ASA) said flights were suspended to Barrow, Bethel, Fairbanks, Kotzebue, Nome, and Prudhoe Bay until (ASA) was able to assess weather reports after daylight on March 29. When weather conditions improved, (ASA) resumed its regularly scheduled 54 flights to the affected six cities March 30, it said.
Volcanic ash poses significant safety concerns to airplanes on the ground and in the air, as it limits visibility and damages engines. "We simply won’t fly, where ash is present,” (ASA) Managing Director Fleet Standards & Operational Control, John Ladner said. “According to our weather partners at (WSI) and the Alaska Volcano Observatory, Mount Pavlof continued to push ash into the sky since it erupted. That and the river of wind pushing the ash north and east created a potential for ash encounters in flight. Evening flying was suspended in those affected cities and only resumed operations when it was confirmed through weather and pilot (FC) reports that it was safe to fly.”
See - - "ASA-2016-03 - Alaska Volcano Eruption.jpg."
News Item A-6: Alaska Airlines (ASA)’s customer research and development team at (CX) Labs is testing electronic bag tags.
News Item A-7: Alaska Air Cargo announced a new simplified pricing model designed to provide a straightforward shipping experience from start to finish. With this new structure, 2 current surcharges will be rolled into Alaska (ASA)’s base rates and customers will now be only charged by freight weight and a single screening fee. With more predictable pricing throughout the year, customers can easily estimate and manage shipping costs. The simplified pricing structure went into effect March 1.
News Item A-8: Alaska Airlines (ASA) announced Matt Shelby will be Managing Director of Corporate Real Estate. He will be responsible for the oversight of Alaska (ASA) and Horizon Air’s airport real estate activities, specifically in Seattle. Shelby comes to (ASA) with a 20-year background in aviation and law. He recently was Director, Airport Affairs for United Airlines (UAL) in Chicago. He also worked in global real estate at Continental Airlines (CAL) in Houston.
News Item A-9: Alaska Airlines (ASA) plans to form a wholly owned subsidiary, McGee Air Services, a dedicated airline services company to provide ground handling, airplane cleaning, and airport mobility services.
Initially, the company will provide airline services for Alaska Airlines (ASA).
McGee Air Services will operate as a vendor for (ASA) and will compete for Alaska (ASA) contracts in select cities. As the company develops the infrastructure and processes, McGee Air Services will evaluate opportunities to serve other airlines.
McGee Air Services will operate independently and will be led by aviation veteran, Dean DuVall, who will serve as the President, effective immediately. During his 29 years with Alaska Airlines (ASA), DuVall formerly served as Managing Director of Station Operations, Regulatory Compliance & Fuel, as well as the Managing Director of Supply Chain Management and previously was the Managing Director of Information Technology (IT) Customer Support & Infrastructure.
Alaska Airlines (COO), Ben Minicucci said (ASA) has “recognized the need to have more options when it comes to ground handling, airplane cleaning and wheelchair services.”
McGee Air Services will provide competitive wages and benefits. Compensation will include medical insurance, paid time off, as well as flight privileges.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) said it links its roots back to 1932, when Linious “Mac” McGee created McGee Airways. For McGee Air Services, the name represents Mac McGee’s strong work ethic, entrepreneurial spirit, and fortitude.
News Item A-10: "About Seattle-Tacoma International Airport."
With over 42.3 million passengers in 2015, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is the largest airport in the Pacific Northwest and North America's fastest-growing major airport for the past two years. Seattle's location as the closest West Coast city to both Europe and Asia makes it an ideal international gateway, a fact that has made Seattle the fastest-growing airport on the West Coast and one of the fastest in the country.
As the headquarters of major multinational corporations such as Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, and the Gates Foundation, Seattle boasts a strong economic climate and the most well-educated population of any major city in the USA. Seattle also serves as the gateway for Washington State's well-known, high-value agricultural commodities such as seafood and cherries. Washington State is the largest exporter per capita in the USA, and a full third of all jobs in the state are related to international trade.
April 2016: News Item A-1: The Alaska Air Group, parent of Seattle-based Alaska Airlines (ASA) and regional carrier Horizon Air, reported a consolidated first-quarter net income of +$184 million, up +23% from a net income of +$149 million in the year-ago quarter.
The Alaska Air Group announced April 4 it had reached a deal to acquire San Francisco-based Virgin America (VUS) for $2.6 billion in cash. The transaction is pending Virgin America (VUS) shareholder and regulatory approval.
“We are hoping for swift clearance to close, which could be in 60 days or less,” (ASA) (CEO) & President, Brad Tilden said. “Even if the (DOJ) decides that the deal warrants a closer look, we hope to have clearance well before the end of the year. “
“In the meantime, we remain focused on execution and integration planning,” Tilden said, announcing that (ASA)’s (COO) and Executive VP Operations, Ben Minicucci will be in charge of the integration process. “We’re off to a strong start in 2016 on almost every front."
1st-quarter operating revenue was up +6% to $1.35 billion, while expenses increased +3% to $1.06 billion, producing an operating income of $290 million, up +22% year-over-year.
Alaska Air Group’s 1st quarter consolidated traffic grew +11% to 8.57 billion (RPM)s, while capacity increased +13% to 10.45 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 82% LF, down -1.4 points year-over-year. Yield for the quarter decreased -6.1% to 13.22 cents.
“Our stronger business performance is the result of a number of key drivers [including] adding new markets and giving our customers more nonstop choices as well as providing greater options for connecting passengers,” (ASA) Executive VP & (COO) Andrew Harrison said. “In the last 12 months we’ve added 23 new markets to our network in retail parlance, we are putting new products on the shelf, and they are selling.”
“We have new regional jets that enable us to provide customers with nonstop service to destinations they previously could only access via one or two stops,” Harrison said. “7 of our 23 markets launched in the last 12 months were only made viable due to the introduction of the Embraer (EMB) E175. This aircraft delivers the trip costs and range to ensure longer thin markets can be served properly. We’re excited about the possibilities of this aircraft.”
“[And] third, our costs have come down approximately -1% for the 12-month period ending March 31, 2016, while we expect industry costs have risen by about +3%. That’s a net gap of four points in just one year,” Harrison said. “Our low costs are a sustainable advantage allowing us to offer low fares and enabling our growth.“
“(ASA)’s capacity will be up approximately +11% in the 2nd quarter. Almost half that growth is driven by the new markets we launched over the last year,” Harrison said.
News Item A-2: The Alaska Air Group, parent company of Alaska Airlines (ASA) agreed on April 3rd to purchase San Francisco-based Virgin America (VUS) for approximately $2.6 billion.
Presently (ASA) operates 147 Boeing 737s and (VUS) has 60 Airbus A320 jets. (ASA) will leapfrog JetBlue Airways (JBL), which it was competing with in the bidding for (VUS), to become the 5th largest USA airline, after American Airlines (AAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL), United Airlines (UAL), and Southwest Airlines (SWA).
San Francisco will become a 2nd major California hub for Alaska Airlines (ASA), which now flies many routes from Los Angeles.
From its main hub in San Francisco and a secondary hub in Los Angeles, Virgin America (VUS) presently flies up and down the West Coast, as well as to Hawaii, and to vacation resorts in Mexico, plus transcontinental routes to Chicago, Boston, New York, Washington DC, and Florida destinations.
SEE ATTACHED - "ASA-2016-04 - Virgin America Purchased-A/B/C/D/E/F.jpg."
If approved by regulatory authorities, the plan is for the acquisition to be completed by January 1, 2017.
See attached possibility - "ASA Route Map - 2016-04.jpg."
News Item A-3: "Alaska: (SFO), (LAX) Assets Key in $4 Billion Deal to Buy Virgin America (VUS)" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, April 4th, 2016.
The Alaska Air Group cited gaining a strong foothold in California as the primary driver in its proposed $4 billion acquisition of San Francisco-based Virgin America (VUS), which the Seattle-based carrier said gives it the opportunity to become the leading domestic-services airline on the USA West Coast.
The merger deal, announced April 4 and still needing regulatory approval, calls for (ASA) to buy (VUS) for $57 per share, or $2.6 billion. The Alaska Air Group, parent of Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Horizon Air, will additionally take on $1.4 billion in debt and aircraft lease obligations from (VUS), creating a $4 billion enterprise value for the transaction.
“We’ve been thinking about this for a long time,” (ASA) President & (CEO), Brad Tilden said. “We originally reached out [to Virgin America (VUS)] in October or November of last year. I don’t think of this as defensive. We feel we’ve done really well with the footprint we have in Seattle, Alaska, and the state of Oregon, and we just wanted a little more canvas to work with. I think this just makes our company much, much stronger. California has 39 million people. We think we can generate the loyalty throughout the whole USA West Coast that we have now in the [USA] Pacific Northwest and Alaska.”
New York-based, JetBlue Airways (JBL) later joined in the pursuit of Virgin America (VUS) and the competition for (VUS) was “hard fought,” Tilden said. (ASA) (CFO), Brandon Pederson said that “an auction-type atmosphere” ensued as (ASA) and (JBL) bid for (VUS), with (ASA) ultimately prevailing. (ASA) executives would not comment on how much the bidding drove up the $57 per share acquisition cost. ((VUS)’s share price stood at $38.88 when markets closed on Friday, April 1, though it quickly shot up, when the merger deal was announced on April 4.)
(ASA) is aiming for (VUS)’s shareholders to approve the transaction by June, to gain approval from the USA Department of Justice (DOJ) in the 2016 3rd quarter, close the deal by January 1, 2017, and move to a single operating certificate by early 2018.
(ASA) anticipates that the merger will generate $225 million in annual synergies, with 80% coming on the revenue side, and 90% of the synergies in place by 2019. One-time integration costs are expected to be between $300 - $350 million, according to (ASA). A combined Alaska (ASA)/Virgin America (VUS) projects annual revenue of around $7 billion. (ASA) said it “expects the transaction to be accretive to adjusted earnings per share in the first full year, excluding integration costs.”
The combined fleet would number about 280 airplanes (including Horizon’s regional fleet), but Alaska (ASA)’s mainline fleet has long been all Boeing 737s, while Virgin America (VUS) is an all-Airbus A320 family aircraft operator with 60 A320 family aircraft in its fleet currently. It also has 40 A320neo family aircraft on order with deliveries starting in 2017, though most of the neo deliveries are slated for after >2020.
“We have no experience with the Airbus (EDS) fleet, so that will be a challenge,” Alaska Executive VP & (COO) Ben Minicucci said. “Although we love having the single fleet [of 737s], we’ll be learning about the Airbus (EDS) fleet.”
But Pederson indicated (ASA) could move away from the Virgin America (VUS) fleet if it chose to do so. “Essentially all of the [Virgin America (VUS)] fleet is leased and those leases start to roll out starting in 2020,” he said, adding that there is a “favorable cancellation provision” on (VUS)’s A320neo order. Pederson described the (VUS) fleet as “a great fleet of fuel efficient young aircraft” that (ASA) officials are “going to get to know.” It will be “probably years” before (ASA) makes a decision on whether to retain any or all of (VUS)’ A320 family fleet, he said.
Indeed, Virgin America (VUS)’s aircraft were not the primary attraction for Alaska (ASA). Being able to have a major presence in Seattle (SEA), San Francisco (SFO), and Los Angeles (LAX) was the key for (ASA). “Los Angeles and San Francisco are very, very constrained [airports],” (ASA) Executive VP & Chief Revenue Officer (CRO), Andrew Harrison said. “We couldn’t have done this [kind of growth at (SFO) and (LAX)] organically for several years.”
Harrison noted that (ASA) has a “significant loyalty base already in California,” but didn’t have access to the infrastructure needed to properly serve those customers. “California is a very large state with a lot of carriers in there, and a lot of competitors,” he said. “Credit to Virgin America (VUS): They have done a very good job at building a network from slot-constrained airports” in California to the USA East Coast.
“I think this acquisition gives you a foothold [in California] that would be very, very difficult to build organically,” Tilden added.
(ASA) noted that the transaction will also “open up growth opportunities” at slot-constrained East Coast airports, including Washington National, New York LaGuardia, and New York (JFK).
Tilden emphasized that (ASA) has no ambitions to become a transpacific or transatlantic operator, but noted that having a footprint at (SFO), (LAX) and (SEA) gives it “more leverage” with international airlines already partnered with (ASA) or (VUS) or wanting to interline with the post-merger Alaska (ASA).
(VUS) (CEO) David Cush noted that “7 out of our top 10 corporate customers are tech companies [with employees] that travel up and down the West Coast and across the country” and said the merger will benefit these passengers, adding, “There’s a much bigger symbiotic relationship between the 3 big West Coast cities [Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles] than there ever has been, because of the tech industry.”
* Labor groups
Alaska Airlines (ASA)’s pilots (FC), represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), and flight attendants (CA), represented by the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), both issued statements in support of (ASA)’s acquisition of (VUS). The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), which represents (ASA)’s mechanics (MT) and other ground workers, took a more cautious approach, saying its “sole focus in the transaction is to make sure employees are not disadvantaged.”
(ASA) executives expressed confidence in executing the labor aspect of the merger. “Our union leaders are excited,” Minicucci said. “I think they’re going to work really hard to make this successful.”
* (DOJ) review
Getting approval for the merger from the (DOJ) will likely be the primary focus of (ASA) executives over the next several months. “We know the [DOJ] will take a close look at it,” (ASA) General Counsel, Kyle Levine said. “We think we have a good story to tell them. [There is] very little [route] overlap.” He called the merger “pro-competition and pro-consumer.”
Asked about skepticism in Washington DC over USA airline consolidation, Levine responded, “We’re planning for a slightly longer period [for the regulatory review]. We’ll follow the lead of the regulators and plan accordingly.”
An (ASA) - (VUS) merger would follow the mergers of Delta Air Lines (DAL) and Northwest Airlines (NWA), United Airlines (UAL) and Continental Airlines (CAL), Southwest Airlines (SWA) and AirTran Airways (CQT), plus American Airlines (AAL) and US Airways (AMW/(USA) in the recent round of USA airline industry consolidation.
News Item A-4: "5 Factors Determining Whether Alaska keeps Virgin America’s A320s" by (ATW) Aaron Karp in AirKarp Blog, April 5, 2016.
If a computer program designed a Boeing (TBC) vs Airbus (EDS) test case, it likely couldn’t come up with a better scenario than the proposed Alaska Airlines (ASA) - Virgin America (VUS) merger. Both airlines (excepting Alaska regional affiliate, Horizon Air’s fleet) are all-narrow body airplane operators within North America) only networks and both have signed up for next-generation, re-engined narrow bodies.
These two airlines’ management teams, faced with very similar airplane needs, have made opposite choices: Seattle-based (ASA) operates all Boeing 737s, and San Francisco-based (VUS) operates all Airbus A320 family aircraft. (ASA) has 37 737 MAX airplanes on order and (VUS) has 40 A320neo family aircraft on order.
Virgin America (VUS), in fact, was the 1st airline in the world to make a firm commitment to the A320neo. Interestingly, after 3 other A320neo customers chose the Pratt & Whitney (PRW) geared turbofan engine to power their aircraft, (VUS) became the 1st to choose the (CFM) International (LEAP) engine to power its A320neos; a variation of the (LEAP) exclusively powers the 737 MAX (more on this later).
If the merger gains regulatory approval, the executives at (ASA), who will run the combined airline, will quickly be faced with fleet decisions following the planned January 1, 2017 closing of the transaction. Given that gaining access to (VUS)’s facilities and slots at San Francisco (SFO) and Los Angeles (LAX) International Airports was the primary attraction of acquiring (VUS) (not aircraft) will (ASA) executives move to dump (VUS)’s Airbus fleet? There is certainly a perception that this will happen. But Airbus (EDS) has a unique opportunity to convince a "Boeing (TBC) believer" that its offering is, if not better, at least just as good and worth keeping around.
Here are the 5 biggest factors that will determine whether any or all of (VUS)’s 60 A320 family aircraft (with +3 more still set to be delivered) will remain in a post-merger (ASA)’s fleet and/or whether (ASA) will take delivery of any or all of the 30 A320neos and 10 A321neos Virgin America (VUS) has on order:
* How open-minded will (ASA) executives be? “One of the things that does happen when you do something like this, is we’ll get a chance to look under the covers of another company that has done some things very well,” (ASA) President & (CEO), Brad Tilden said on April 4. He and other (ASA) executives repeatedly said during the call that while they don’t have much familiarity with Airbus (EDS) aircraft, they are looking forward to learning about (VUS)’s fleet. What will they learn? If they like what they see, could it dent their Boeing (TBC) bias?
* It is relatively easy, and pain free, for (ASA) to get out of the (VUS) fleet. Nearly all of (VUS)’s A320s are leased, not owned, and those leases start expiring in 2020. So (ASA) could just let the leases expire and walk away from the aircraft. (ASA) (CFO), Brandon Pederson said there is a “favorable cancellation provision” on (VUS)’s future A320neo order, indicating (ASA) wouldn’t have to pay a heavy penalty for not taking delivery of these aircraft. The 30 A320neos aren’t set to deliver until starting in 2020, so (ASA) would have a little time to think about this. However, one of the first decisions (ASA) would have to make post-merger, is whether to accept 10 A321neos Virgin America (VUS) has agreed to lease from (GE) Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) (GEF) with deliveries starting in the 2017 first quarter and set to be completed by the end of 2018. But since this is a lease deal (and (GECAS) probably wouldn’t have too hard of a time placing these aircraft elsewhere) canceling the A321neos likely wouldn’t be too costly for (ASA).
* Maintenance costs and fleet commonality. (ASA) is a strong, strong proponent of the advantages of operating a single fleet type, so the company’s executives will spend considerable time analyzing how much higher maintenance and other fleet-related costs will be, if it moved to a dual fleet. However, as mentioned above, there would be some maintenance commonality regarding A320neo and 737 MAX engines since (VUS) is going with the (LEAP-1A) to power its A320neos. (The 737 MAX is powered by the (LEAP-1B).)
* Without the (VUS) A320 family fleet, how would the “new” (ASA) maintain its growth? Tilden said the post-merger (ASA) would seek to maintain the same annual +4% to +8% growth rate as the pre-merger (ASA). This growth rate would not include the increase in size from combining the 2 airlines; in other words, the combined (ASA)/(VUS) would generally plan to get about +4% to +8% bigger per year compared to the combined size of the 2 airlines pre-merger. So if (ASA) drops the current A320 family aircraft and backs out of the future A320neo family deliveries, how will it grow as much as it plans? This is where Boeing (TBC) could swoop in and offer a sweet deal to (ASA) on additional 737NGs and 737 MAXs to (a) keep (ASA) as an “all-Boeing” operator and (b) deliver a serious blow to Airbus (EDS) ((VUS), which routinely wins plaudits for its service aboard its A320s, was a real Airbus success story, demonstrating exactly what could be done with an A320 cabin).
* That brings us to the final major factor: What kind of product does the “new” (ASA) plan to offer passengers? Tilden said he believes (ASA) and (VUS) have “more in common than not,” but acknowledged there are key differences in the two airlines’ products. (VUS) is known for mood-lit cabins, customized leather seats and cutting-edge seatback in-flight entertainment systems. (ASA)’s more utilitarian cabins offer “direct-to-your-device” (IFE) in which passengers download a Gogo Video Player onto their own portable device prior to takeoff. One of the big questions (ASA) will have to answer post-merger, is whether its onboard product is suited for the kind of high-end passengers traveling transcontinental on (VUS) from (SFO) and (LAX) to New York. Indeed, after beating out JetBlue Airways (JBL) in a bidding battle for (VUS), the last thing (ASA) wants to see happen is for (VUS)’s high-end transcontinental customers to switch to (JBL) or other airlines, because they are no longer getting the “Virgin” service on those 5-plus hour flights. Might it be simplest to keep at least some of (VUS)’s A320s (and the service they are designed to provide) for these transcontinental flights?
News Item A-5: "Why the (DOJ) Might Reject the Alaska - Virgin America Merger" by (ATW) Aaron Karp in AirKarp Blog, April 11, 2016.
The USA Department of Justice (DOJ) may be trapped in an airline consolidation paradox: It will be almost impossible for it not to approve a fifth merger of USA airlines in eight years, since it has already approved four others. But there are likely to be voices at the (DOJ) wanting to block the Alaska Airlines (ASA) - Virgin America (VUS) merger precisely because there have already been four other airline mergers in the USA since 2008.
Particularly because there is very little route overlap between (ASA) and (VUS), I can only think of one reason why the (DOJ) would object to the two airlines merging: - A contingent at the (DOJ) has misgivings about the recent round of airline consolidation and may want to simply stop the "consolidation train" from going any further down the tracks.
Loretta Lynch was sworn in as Attorney General in April 2015, meaning she was not heading the (DOJ) when the department approved the prior four airline mergers: - (Delta (DAL) - Northwest (NWA), United (UAL) - Continental (CAL), Southwest (SWA) - AirTran (CQT), and American (AAL) - US Airways (AMW)/(USA)). Bill Baer, the head of the (DOJ)’s antitrust division and the most significant figure in reviewing the merger, didn’t ascend to his post until January 2013. The only airline merger approved since then, (AAL) - (AMW)/(USA), occurred only after the (DOJ) and (AAL) reached a settlement on the verge of a courtroom standoff. If Lynch and Baer want to send a signal that too much airline industry consolidation was approved by their predecessors, they may find a reason to disapprove of (ASA) - (VUS).
The late Jim Oberstar, the former Chairman of the House of Representatives Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, was perhaps the most vocal critic of the recent round of USA airline industry consolidation. He believed the (DOJ) should take into consideration “whether a merger will inevitably trigger others, ultimately reducing the industry to a few large carriers, each of which is unwilling to compete seriously in markets dominated by one of the others.”
Even if a given merger didn’t necessarily raise antitrust concerns on its own, Oberstar believed stopping a merger could be legitimate, if that merger was viewed as a domino, that would inevitably lead to a string of future mergers. That’s how he felt about (DAL) - (NWA), (UAL) - (CAL) and (SWA) - (CQT), arguing in each case that approval by the (DOJ) would make it harder for the (DOJ) to reject the next merger, and inevitably lead to a level of consolidation that would be bad for consumers.
“Airline consolidation brings consumers and communities fewer choices and less competition, usually leading to increased fares and reduced levels of service,” Oberstar argued. “That runs directly counter to the promise of [airline] deregulation.”
In the dispute between (UAL) and the (DOJ) over Newark International slots (recently dropped, because the (FAA) decided to “de-slot” Newark), Baer made it clear that he felt the (DOJ) had been duped by (UAL) and (CAL). While the airlines had agreed to divest slots to get their merger approved by the (DOJ) in 2010, the post-merger (UAL) systematically tried to reacquire those assets, Baer contended.
My guess is that Baer would prefer not to approve another airline merger. Especially if he can get Lynch on his side, here’s the case he would likely make (call it the “Oberstar argument”): While the (ASA) - (USA) merger doesn’t raise any overt competition concerns at specific airports, Baer may say it would create an airline industry that would be much too consolidated and would inevitably consolidate further, leading to less choice and higher fares for consumers. If this merger goes through, he could argue, then an ultra low-cost carrier merger proposal (some combination of Spirit (SPR), Frontier (FRO), and Allegiant (WJE)) could closely follow, and the (DOJ) would be poorly positioned to reject it. That would then leave the "Big 4": ((DAL), (UAL), (SWA), and (AAL)), (ASA) - (VUS), a mega (ULCC) and essentially JetBlue Airways (JBL), meaning (JBL) would then seek a merger to survive, Baer could say. Even niche operators, Hawaiian Airlines (HWI) and Sun Country Airlines (SCA) might seek to get in on the consolidation game, he could argue.
Baer could say that either a line is drawn now, or the 12 mainline USA airlines still in service could soon become eight or seven, or even fewer.
In my view, this would overstate the case. But that’s exactly the point. Since there is no specific reason to reject (ASA) - (VUS), the (DOJ)’s potential case against it wouldn’t hinge on divestments here or there. Instead, Baer and Lynch would likely make a sweeping case that airline industry consolidation has gone too far in the USA.
It would be unfair to (ASA) and (VUS) (they would, of course, have the recourse of federal court). But the (DOJ) might argue that it would be more unfair to American consumers to let consolidation keep moving forward. (ASA) executives should be prepared to face this argument from regulators.
News Item A-6: The Alaska Air Group on April 21 beat Wall Street projections in recording record quarterly earnings of $184 million, continued a seven-year streak of profitability in the leanest travel months of the year, and delivered a 21.5% profit margin that only bare-bones airlines can match.
See attached Dominic Gates Seattle Times article - -
"ASA-2016-04 - Record Quarter Earnings-A/B.jpg."
News Item A-7: Recaro Aircraft Seating was selected by Alaska Airlines (ASA) to supply economy (Y) and business (C) class seats out of its USA facility in Fort Worth, Texas, for 37 Boeing 737 MAX-8s and 737-9s on order.
News Item A-8: "Alaska Air Group Subsidiary Horizon Air Orders 30 E175s" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, April 12, 2016.
Horizon Air, a subsidiary of the Alaska Air Group, has placed a firm order for 30 new Embraer (EMB) E175s and also took 33 E175 options.
The order, valued at $2.8 billion including the options, represents the largest aircraft purchase ever made by Horizon, which currently operates a fleet of all Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft. The regional airline said it will operate the E175s exclusively under the Alaska Airlines (ASA) brand, feeding (ASA)’s mainline Boeing 737 network. Deliveries will start next year and continue through 2019.
The move into regional jets by Seattle-based Alaska Air Group, also the parent company of Alaska Airlines (ASA), comes a week after the company announced it had reached an agreement to acquire Virgin America (VUS) for $2.6 billion plus the assumption of $1.4 billion in debt and lease obligations.
“Embraer (EMB)’s E175 will allow [Horizon] to fly long, thin routes (destinations that are too distant for a turboprop, but currently don’t have enough customer demand to fill a mainline jet),” Horizon said.
Horizon President David Campbell added, “The E175s position Horizon for growth beyond our current West Coast destinations while providing better customer utility in the growing Alaska Airlines network. The spacious E175 offers a passenger experience that’s on par with much larger jets. This aircraft opens up tremendous new opportunities to fly to new places that would not have been feasible with our existing aircraft.”
Horizon said it will retire 15 of its 52 Q400s in 2018, when leases expire on the 15 turoprops. “Horizon Air will fly both the E175 and the Q400 for the foreseeable future,” Horizon said. “The Embraer jet is not new for Alaska customers, who may have flown on the regional aircraft in 16 markets operated by [capacity purchase agreement] partner SkyWest Airlines.”
Horizon will configure the E175s with 76 seats, including 12F in 1st class, 16PY in premium economy and 48Y in standard economy with a 31-inch pitch.
News Item A-9: See Alaska Airlines video re-retiring Captain Mike Swanigan who has reached his 65-year old retirement this month:
See video - - "ASA-2014-08 - Training Camp with Seattle SeaHawks" -
June 2016: News Item A-1: Alaska Airlines (ASA) is in the process of revamping its cargo business, and sees new business opportunities as it moves away from its signature “combi” airplanes to embrace full freighters.
In February, (ASA) sent the 1st of 3 Boeing 737-700s to Tel Aviv for testing, ahead of passenger-to-freighter conversion work, according to (ASA)’s Director Cargo Revenue, Planning & Postal Affairs, Adam Drouhard. The 1st of the 737s is undergoing conversions, and is expected to enter service in December 2016 or in January 2017. The other 2 airplanes will also undergo conversions this summer, and will enter service in mid-to-late 1st-quarter 2017, he said. (ASA) detailed the transition to full freighters before its proposed takeover of Virgin America (VUS), and Drouhard said the cargo plans are still on track.
In September, (ASA) (CFO), Brandon Pedersen said (ASA) will phase out the five 737-400 combis by the end of 2017. These unique airplanes have space for 72 passengers in the back, with cargo space in the front. (ASA) already operates one full freighter, a converted 737-400. The plan is to retire that airplane within the same time frame.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) expects the other two airplanes to go into maintenance this summer, Drouhard said. Together, all three freighters will “backfill” the capacity of (ASA)’s combi airplanes and the full freighter, Drouhard said. In addition, they will open up space to grow new cargo opportunities.
* Meeting the market
“We do have the ability to convert additional airplanes, and it really stems down to our capacity discipline of ensuring we have the right amount of cargo capacity going forward to meet the market conditions and demand,” Drouhard said, emphasizing (ASA) will continue its commitment to Alaska-based customers.
The new 737-700F freighters will be able to handle new pallet configurations, which will increase the types of cargo business (ASA) can accept, Drouhard pointed out. In addition to carrying 88-in by 125-in pallets, the 737-700F can also handle those measuring 96 in by 125 in. The 737-700Fs can handle up to 10 pallets in a standard configuration, he said. The full-size freighters will allow (ASA) to flex capacity throughout the year, and to increase utilization during peak periods. Along with more flexibility and capacity for cargo, the 737-700F freighters have a longer range and efficiency than the airplanes they are replacing.
“We currently forecast that we will be operating this fleet between 10 to 12 hours a day on average, and will fluctuate based on the time of the year,” Drouhard said.
News Item A-2: Japan Airlines (JAL) and Alaska Airlines (ASA) are to sign code share and frequent flier agreements for flights across Japan and the USA Pacific Northwest.
The new code share will take effect from the end of June, pending government approval, and will offer unified reservations and ticketing, integrated baggage handling, and cross-carrier mileage awards on both (JAL) and (ASA) flights.
(JAL) spokesperson Hideki Oshima said the new agreement would offer customers a broader range of routes and destinations, allow (JAL) to strengthen its presence throughout the Pacific Northwest, and offer increased travel options.
The code share will cover all Alaska's connecting flights out of (JAL)'s key North American destinations including Vancouver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
(ASA) Executive VP & Chief Revenue Officer (CRO), Andrew Harrison said the move would likewise enable its passengers to take advantage of the connections and mileage awards from 600 daily flights on (JAL)'s broad domestic network.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) is one of the most rapidly growing carriers in North America, and already has >15 code share partners, including strategic northern hemisphere partners such as (KLM) Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air (KAL), Icelandair (ICE), China's Hainan Airlines (HNA), and USA-based Delta Air Lines (DAL).
(ASA) is in the process of securing regulatory approval for the acquisition of San Francisco-based Virgin America (VUS), which would position it as a major USA West Coast player.
News Item A-3: Alaska Airlines (ASA) has promoted three employees to new positions as Managing Directors: Molly Gabel has been promoted to Managing Director Associate General Counsel of Labor & Employment. Gabel has worked for Alaska Airlines (ASA) as a Senior Attorney since 2013. Troy Kaser will lead (ASA)’s e-commerce organization as Managing Director of e-commerce. Kaser joined (ASA) in 2013 as (ASA)’s Managing Director of (ITS) Applications. Justin Neff has been named Managing Director of Supply Chain Management. Neff joined (ASA) in 2014 from Black & Veatch.
July 2016: News Item A-1: "Alaska Air Group (2Q) Net Profit Up +11%"
by (ATW) Aaron Karp, July 21, 2016.
The Alaska Air Group, parent of Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Horizon Air, reported 2nd-quarter net income of +$260 million, up +11.1% over a net profit of +$234 million in the prior-year period.
(ASA)’s 2nd-quarter revenue rose +4% year-over-year to $1.49 billion. Like much of the USA airline industry, however, it saw its unit revenue, as measured in (PRASM), decline. Mainline 2nd-quarter (PRASM) decreased -7.5% year-over-year to 10.49 cents.
The company’s June quarter expenses grew +1% year-over-year to $1.08 billion and operating income was +$418 million, up +12% over an operating profit of +$372 million in the 2015 second quarter. (ASA) saved -$60 million on airplane fuel in the quarter compared to the prior-year period, but did incur $14 million in costs related to its proposed acquisition of San Francisco-based Virgin America (VUS).
(ASA)’s mainline traffic increased +10.4% year-over-year in the 2nd quarter to 8.45 billion (RPM)s on a +9.9% lift in capacity to 9.88 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 85.6% LF, up +0.3 point. Mainline yield lowered -7.8% to 12.25 cents.
Regional traffic, which includes Horizon Air and contracted regional flying, rose +19.3% year-over-year in the 2nd quarter to 941 million (RPM)s on a +23% increase in capacity to 1.19 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 79.3% LF, down -2.5 points. Regional yield fell -10.2% to 24.17 cents.
News Item A-2: "(LAX) Seeks to Solve ‘Huge’ Road Access Problem with $5.5 Billion Plan" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, July 18, 2016.
Passengers’ difficulty accessing Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) efficiently, via surrounding roadways is a “huge, huge problem we need to fix,” according to Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) (CEO) Deborah Flint.
A year into her tenure leading the organization that oversees (LAX) following a 5-year stint running Oakland International Airport (OAK), Flint is candidly acknowledging the gateway airport’s shortcomings, especially compared to modern Asian airports from which many (LAX)-bound passengers are connecting. “Efficiency of operations is the new currency of airports,” she told the International Aviation Club of Washington DC.
Flint noted that (LAX) ranks 91st among world airports in Skytrax rankings. Global travelers now expect elaborate gardens, yoga rooms and fine dining in international airports, she said. (LAX) has to achieve “an exponential level of progress” in improvements, Flint said, noting that “the expectation is not going to change for passengers.”
Passengers encounter a great deal of congestion and frustration even before arriving at (LAX), Flint noted, pointing to complicated roadway access that includes 30 separate rental car facilities. “We need to make huge improvements on our landside,” she said.
The solution the city of Los Angeles has settled on is the $5.5 billion landside access modernization program (LAMP), which will include the construction of the USA’s largest rental car facility and a 2.4-mile automated people mover (APM) system with 6 stations. The rental car facility will consolidate all of the current rental car facilities in one central location, which will connect to airport terminals via the (APM). The (APM) will also connect to Los Angeles’s rail transit system.
Construction on the (LAMP) project is slated to start next year and be completed by 2023, in time for the 2024 Summer Olympics should the games come to Los Angeles, Flint said. On the day (LAMP) opens, “40% of the [road] traffic congestion at the airport will be removed,” she added.
But building new facilities is just 1 component of appealing to future passengers, Flint cautioned. She said future passengers will expect to be connected to airports and airlines end-to-end via personal electronic devices. “Tomorrow’s passenger is going to expect that the entire journey is going to be one integrated experience,” Flint explained.
Pointing to “automated” passenger screening lanes (also known as “innovation lanes”) that the USA Transportation Security Administration is going to deploy at (LAX) and 3 other major USA airports later this year, Flint said the new lanes are a welcome development but just a start. “The checkpoint of the future is more than innovation lanes,” she explained. “Tomorrow’s checkpoint is more than anything we’re seeing today. I hope that checkpoint of the future has no ‘point’ (it’s free-flowing).”
August 2016: News Item A-1: According to FAPA.aero Alaska Airlines (ASA) hired 16 pilots (FC) in July and 85 year-to-date.
News Item A-2: "USA Airlines Tickets to Havana Already On Sale" by (ATW) Mark Nensel, firstname.lastname@example.org, August 31, 2016.
The eight USA airlines granted permission by the USA Department of Transportation (DOT) on August 31 to operate scheduled flights between the USA and Havana have begun rolling out proposed service plans. Tickets are already on sale at Spirit Airlines (SPR) and United Airlines (UAL). All routes require approval by the Cuban government. Most airlines will not reveal start dates until the approval is granted.
* Seattle-based Alaska Airlines (ASA) is tentatively scheduling 1x-daily service involving a Seattle to Los Angeles to Havana same airplane routing.
* American Airlines (AAL) will operate 4x-daily service from Miami and a 1x-daily flight from Charlotte, North Carolina.
* Delta Air Lines (DAL) intends to begin 1x-daily nonstop service to Havana from Atlanta, Miami and New York (JFK) on December 1. (DAL) said tickets for the proposed flights will go on sale September 10. (DAL) operated charter flights to Havana from the USA at various times since 2002, including a period from October 2011 through December 2012 in which up to 12 flights to Havana per week originated from Miami, Atlanta and New York (JFK).
* Frontier Airlines (FRO) will operate 1x-daily service from Miami.
* New York-based JetBlue Airways (JBL), which on August 31 made the first commercial airline passenger flight to Cuba in nearly 55 years, will operate 2x-daily service from Fort Lauderdale, Florida (excluding Saturday, which will be 1x-daily) and 1x-daily service from both New York (JFK) and Orlando, Florida. (JBL) announced it will offer Cuban government-required health insurance coverage as part of the ticket purchase price. Additionally, as part of the online booking process, customers can fill out the required affidavit indicating which of 12 USA Treasury Department-approved Cuba-travel reasons (ie, family visits, educational activities, religious activities, journalism, humanitarian projects, professional research, professional meetings, etc.) is applicable to them.
* Florida-based low cost-carrier (LCC) Spirit Airlines (SPR) expects to begin 2x-daily nonstop service from Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport (FLL) on December 1. Tickets for (SPR)’s flights to Havana went on sale on September 1, but (SPR)’s booking site stipulates the flight is subject to government approval. Cuban government-required health insurance is bundled into the ticket price, (SPR) said.
* Southwest Airlines (SWA) intends to offer 2x-daily nonstop service to Havana from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) and 1x-daily nonstop service from Tampa, in addition to 2x-daily nonstops from (FLL) to Varadero, Cuca and 1x-daily nonstop service to Santa Clara, Cuba. (SWA) said the airline intends to launch its Cuban flights later this year.
* United Airlines (UAL) will begin 1x-daily nonstop flights to Havana from Newark, New Jersey, on November 29, pending Cuban government approval, (UAL) said. Additionally, (UAL) will have 1x-Saturday-only service to Havana from Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). (UAL)’s Havana flights went on sale on September 1. (UAL) will operate both services utilizing Boeing 737 airplanes.
News Item A-3: 2 737-990ER (36348, N253AK; 36349, N260AK) deliveries.
September 2016: The Alaska Air Group and Virgin America (VUS) have agreed to give the USA Department of Justice (DOJ) additional time to review their proposed merger.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) reached an agreement in April with (VUS) to acquire it for $2.6 billion in cash and the assumption of $1.4 billion in debt. (ASA) executives previously said they had reached an agreement with the (DOJ) on the timing of the (DOJ)’s antitrust review of the proposed merger, and expected the deal to close in the 4th quarter. (ASA) and (VAA) previously had agreed not to close the deal before September 30, indicating they expected antitrust clearance by that date enabling them to close the merger at the start of the 4th quarter.
But (ASA) and (VAA) said on September 26 that they have agreed with the (DOJ) “not [to] consummate the acquisition prior to October 17, unless the (DOJ) provides written concurrence to close within a shorter period.” The 17-day extension gives (DOJ) “additional time to review the proposed merger,” (ASA) and (VAA) said in a joint statement.
The 2 airlines added they remain “confident they will address any concerns and obtain regulatory approval to complete their pro-competition, pro-consumer transaction,” adding, “Given the airlines’ largely complementary networks, the relative size of this merger compared to past airline combinations, and both Virgin America (VUS) and (ASA)’s emphasis on customer service, the airlines are also confident the (DOJ) will agree this merger will provide consumers more choices and lower fares while allowing for more robust competition against the Big 4 airlines [American Airlines (AAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL), Southwest Airlines (SWA) and United Airlines (UAL)], which control 84% of the [USA] domestic market.”
October 2016: News Item A-1: Seattle-based Alaska Air Group, parent of Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Horizon Air, posted 3rd-quarter 2016 net income of $256 million, down -6.6% from a net profit of +$274 million in the 2015 September quarter.
The year-over-year profit decline can be attributed to $22 million in one-time costs related to Alaska (ASA)’s proposed merger with San Francisco-based Virgin America (VUS), which remains the subject of antitrust talks between (ASA) executives and the USA Department of Justice (DOJ). Without the merger costs, Alaska (ASA)’s profit would be slightly up year-over-year.
Chairman & (CEO) Brad Tilden told analysts and reporters that “2016 is shaping up to be a year of record profitability” for Alaska (ASA), predicting that the company’s full-year net income will top its record 2015 net profit of +$848 million.
Alaska (ASA)’s 3rd-quarter revenue rose +3% year-over-year to $1.6 billion, while expenses increased +8% to $1.2 billion, producing an operating profit of +$400 million, down -8% from +$433 million in operating income in the prior-year period.
Alaska (ASA)’s 3rd-quarter consolidated traffic (including regional Horizon) increased +8.1% to 9.6 billion (RPM)s on a +8.1% lift in capacity to 11.2 billon (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 85.6% LF, unchanged from the prior-year quarter. Yield dropped 5.7% to 13.8 cents.
Though (ASA)’s full-year mainline capacity is expected to grow +8% year-over-year in 2016, 4th quarter capacity is only expected to rise +2%.
News Item A-2: Virgin America (VUS) reported a +$51.8 million net profit for the 2016 3rd quarter, down -27.9% from a +$71.9 million net profit in (3Q) 2015.
During the quarter, (VUS) reportedly incurred $1.6 million in legal and professional costs related to the merger agreement with the Seattle-based Alaska Air Group. (VUS)’s stockholders approved the merger July 26; the transaction is expected to be completed during the 4th quarter, though the Alaska Air Group remains in discussion with the USA Justice Department over gaining antitrust clearance for the acquisition of Virgin America (VUS).
(VUS)’s 3rd-quarter operating revenue was $858.7 million, up +7.6% year-over-year (YOY); total operating expenses for the quarter were $728.7 million, up +7.8%. Operating profit for the quarter was $129.9 million, up +6.7%.
(VUS)’s passenger traffic was up +21.4% (YOY) to 3.3 billion (RPM)s on 16.7% (YOY) capacity growth to 3.9 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 85.9% LF, up +3.4 points (YOY). (VUS) carried 2.2 million passengers during the quarter, up +17.6% (YOY).
(VUS)’s 3rd-quarter operating margin was 20.4%, up +2.4 points (YOY). Yield declined -10.9% (YOY) to 11.92 cents, a result of the “reduced domestic industry fare environment,” (VUS) said. (PRASM) was down -7.3% (YOY) to 10.24 cents. (CASM) decreased -9.8% (YOY) to 9.17 cents, primarily a result of decreased fuel costs. Fuel expenses decreased -11.5% (YOY) to $76.6 million.
(VUS)’s fleet as of September 30 comprised 63 Airbus A320-family aircraft, compared to 55 aircraft a year ago. (VUS) serves 24 airports in the USA and Mexico.
November 2016: News Item A-1: Alaska Airlines (ASA) and British Airways (BAB) have established a code share partnership, opening up 7 USA west coast cities and 3 Hawaiian airports for (BAB) passengers. The code share agreement goes into effect November 23. “(BAB) and (ASA) have been frequent flyer program partners for >15 years but [the code share will] forge close ties and extend this partnership further,” (BAB) Executive Chairman Alex Cruz said. “For business (C) travelers [this will] open up USA cities that have previously been more difficult to access from the UK.”
British Airways (BAB) operates 2x-daily flights to Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles and 1x-daily flights to San Diego, Vancouver, British Columbia and San Jose (Silicon Valley), California. (BAB) also flies to 29 other North American cities.
New direct western USA destinations opening up to (BAB) customers with the (ASA) code share include Boise, Idaho; Fairbanks, Alaska; Portland, Oregon; Salt Lake City, Utah; Spokane, Washington; and Santa Ana (Orange County) in southern California. The new Hawaiian destinations to be directly accessible to (BAB) passengers via Los Angeles are Honolulu, Kona, and Kahului.
News Item A-2: The 1st commercial passenger flights in 55 years between the USA and Havana, Cuba, departed November 28, as Fort Worth, Texas-based American Airlines (AAL) and New York-based low-cost carrier (LCC) JetBlue Airways (JBL) each launched scheduled service to the island nation’s capital.
(AAL) flight 17, a Boeing 737-800, took off from Miami International Airport at 7:41 am and landed at Havana’s José Martí International Airport at 8:25 am. (JBL) flight 243, an Airbus A321, departed New York’s (JFK) International Airport at 9:45 am and landed in Havana at 12:34 pm.
The (AAL) and (JBL) flights are the vanguard of scheduled commercial passenger service to Havana from 8 USA airlines. Havana service was also awarded to Alaska Airlines (ASA), Delta Air Lines (DAL), Frontier Airlines (FRO), Southwest Airlines (SWA), Spirit Airlines (SPR) and United Airlines (UAL).
(UAL) is scheduled to begin its Havana service from Newark Liberty International Airport on November 29, with (DAL), (SPR) and (FRO) all launching Havana service December 1. (SWA) will launch Havana service December 12. (ASA) will launch its Havana service from Los Angeles on January 5, 2017.
The USA announced the resumption of commercial passenger airline service to Cuba following the signing of an agreement between the 2 countries on February 17. The 1st commercial flights between the USA mainland and Cuba began August 31, with a (JBL) flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Santa Clara, Cuba. That same day the USA Department of Transportation awarded 8 USA airlines service routes to Havana.
News Item A-3: Alaska Airlines (ASA) will launch daily San Diego to Baltimore Boeing 737 service beginning March 15, 2017. (ASA) started daily San Diego to New York Newark Boeing 737 flights on November 21.
December 2016: News Item A-1: Seattle-based Alaska Air (ASA) Group has closed its $4 billion acquisition of San Francisco-based Virgin America (VUS), creating the 5th largest airline in the USA.
Alaska Air Group subsidiary, Alaska Airlines (AAL) and Virgin America (VUS) will seek to secure a single air operating certificate (AOC) from the (FAA) by early 2018. Regional subsidiary Horizon Air will retain its own (AOC).
(ASA) reached an agreement April 4 to buy Virgin America (VUS) for $2.6 billion and additionally take on $1.4 billion in debt and airplane lease obligations, creating a $4 billion enterprise value for the transaction. The merger gained antitrust clearance from the USA Department of Justice (DOJ) December 6 after (ASA) agreed to reduce its code sharing relationship with American Airlines (AAL).
By combining (ASA)’s strong presence in the USA Pacific Northwest with Virgin America (VUS)’s strong presence at major California airports, (ASA) believes the combined carrier can become the leading domestic services airline on the USA west coast. The combined company, which will be based in Seattle, will offer nearly 1,200 daily flights to 118 destinations, while generating >$7 billion in annual revenue. The combined fleet comprises 286 airplanes, including >150 mainline (ASA) Boeing 737 airplanes and >60 (VUS) Airbus A320 family aircraft.
“The combination expands service and provides more frequent connections to international airline partners in thriving technology markets in the [San Francisco] Bay Area, Los Angeles and Seattle,” (ASA) said. “Together, the airlines offer 289 daily flights to 52 destinations from California, including 113 daily nonstop flights to 32 destinations from 3 Bay Area airports and 105 daily nonstop flights to 37 destinations from 4 Los Angeles area airports.”
(ASA) added that the combination also grows its access to important east coast airports such as Washington National, New York (JFK), New York LaGuardia and New York Newark. The 1st signs of integration will become noticeable to the public on December 19, when Alaska (ASA) and Virgin America (VUS) passengers will be able to earn frequent flyer miles on the flights of either airline and (VUS) flight tickets will become available on (ASA)’s website.
(ASA) executives have not decided on the future of the Virgin America (VUS) brand. “(ASA) plans to continue to operate the (VUS) fleet with its current name and product for a period of time, while it conducts extensive customer research. (VUS) will continue to fly under its brand with no immediate changes to the on board product or experience.”
(ASA) (CEO) Brad Tilden added, “We appreciate that there is great interest in the future of the Virgin America (VUS) brand among customers and employees alike. This is a big decision and 1 that deserves months of thoughtful and thorough analysis. We plan to make a decision about the (VUS) brand early next year.”
(ASA), a longtime Boeing (TBC) customer, will also have to decide whether to operate a dual mainline fleet of 737s and A320s; (VUS) has ordered 40 A320neo family aircraft with deliveries scheduled to start next year.
(ASA) President & (COO) Ben Minicucci will take on the role of Virgin America (VUS) (CEO) effective immediately and lasting until Alaska Airlines (ASA) - Virgin America (VUS) gains a single (AOC). (VUS) (CFO) Peter Hunt will serve as President of Virgin America, reporting to Minicucci.
News Item A-2: Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Virgin America (VUS) moved to increase their combined presence at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) this week by announcing 3 new routes out of their (SFO) hub scheduled to start in summer 2017.
On June 14, (VUS) will launch daily service between San Francisco and Orlando International Airport (MCO), utilizing Airbus A320 aircraft.
From June 15 - July 17, (ASA) will operate a 2x-daily San Francisco to John Wayne Orange County Airport (SNA) service and a 6x-weekly service between the 2 airports, skipping Sundays. The route will be flown utilizing 76-seat Embraer E175 aircraft. Beginning July 18, a 4th daily flight on the (SFO) to (SNA) route will be added.
Combined, (ASA) and (VUS) will fly 71 daily intra-California flights to 12 airports throughout the state, (ASA) said. Also on July 18, (ASA) will launch a new 2x-daily (SFO) - Minneapolis St Paul International Airport (MSP) route, utilizing E175s.
News Item A-3: Elected leaders of Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Virgin America (VUS) pilots (FC), represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), voted December 15 to accept a transition and process agreement (TPA) with (ASA) management to define the process for negotiating a joint collective bargaining agreement. Negotiations are scheduled to begin January 2017.
“Reaching an agreement on a process to negotiate a contract that brings the professional pilots (FC) of (VUS) and (ASA) together, under one contract, is an important first step toward creating 1 pilot (FC) group,” the (VUS) and (ASA) Master Executive Councils said.
The (TPA) agreement comes a week after the USA Department of Justice approved the Alaska Air Group’s acquisition of (VUS), clearing the path for the merger of the 2 companies, making it the 5th largest passenger airline in the USA
News Item A-4: Alaska Airlines (ASA) and the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) approved a tentative agreement for (ASA)’s >700 Maintenance Technicians (MT) and related employees on December 13.
The proposed 5-year contract (which, if ratified, will become amendable in October 2021) will include “significant pay increases and added job protection provisions,” (ASA) said. The current contract became amendable on October 17. “This agreement will help improve our Maintenance Technicians (MT)’s lost years in wages, benefits, and sustain caps on rising medical costs. Unfortunately, there are areas the company would not move on, and we did not capture all our members’ wants in retirement,” (AMFA) National Director Bret Oestreich said, while noting the speed (53 days) in which Alaska and (AMFA) negotiating committees reached an agreement.
Further details of the contract will be released pending a ratification vote by union members expected in early March 2017.
January 2017: News Item A-1: Alaska Airlines (ASA) launched its Los Angeles to Havana service January 5, bringing regularly scheduled commercial passenger flights from the USA west coast to Cuba for the 1st time. (ASA) operated the flight using a Boeing 737-900ER.
50 political, business and cultural leaders from California and Washington state were among the passengers on the inaugural flight from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), traveling as part of an educational and trade mission. “We sometimes overlook the fact that air travel holds tremendous power to connect people and overcome boundaries,” Alaska Airlines Senior VP Communications & External Relations Joe Sprague said. “This new west coast service is another historic step in opening up relations between our 2 countries.”
While (ASA)’s direct service to Havana operates out of (LAX), (ASA) is also operating a connecting service to (LAX) out of Seattle, Alaska Airline (ASA)’s home base.
American Airlines (AAL) and JetBlue (JBL) already launched the 1st commercial passenger flights between the USA and Havana on November 28, 2016. United Airlines (UAL) began Newark - Havana service on November 29, and Delta Air Lines (DAL), Spirit Airlines (SPR) and Frontier Airlines (FRO) all began Havana service December 1. Southwest Airlines (SWA) began its Havana service from Fort Lauderdale and Tampa on December 12.
The USA announced the resumption of commercial passenger airline service to Cuba following the signing of an agreement between the 2 countries on February 17. The 1st commercial flights between the USA mainland and Cuba began August 31, with a JetBlue (JBL) flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Santa Clara, Cuba. That same day the USA Department of Transportation awarded 8 USA airlines service routes to Havana.
News Item A-2: Pilots (FC) for Seattle-based Horizon Air (the regional subsidiary of Alaska Airlines (ASA)) filed a lawsuit January 27 claiming Horizon executives “broke faith with the negotiation process and began making unilateral changes to compensation,” violating the terms of the Railway Labor Act (RLA). The suit also claims violation of the terms of the labor agreement between Horizon’s 675 pilots (FC) and Horizon management.
The (RLA) is a 1926 federal law that governs labor relations in the airline industry. Horizon Air’s pilots (FC) are represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT). “From last summer through December, the pilots (FC) at Horizon had been negotiating with Horizon executives to alter compensation and resolve a severe staffing shortage.” The (IBT) said the pay rate for Horizon pilots (FC) is “2nd to last among 16 regional airlines similar in size,” and the airline is “unable to hire and retain enough pilots (FC) to fly the company’s fleet of airplanes.”
The (IBT) said the airline canceled 720 flights in December 2016 as a result of pilot (FC) shortages, forcing (ASA) to fly the routes on larger aircraft “adding a significant additional expense for Alaska Air (ASA) and putting a strain on its staff and regularly scheduled flights.” Horizon pilots (FC) have indicated they are prepared to strike “if executives continue to put the financial stability of Horizon and Alaska (ASA) at risk and violate the contract agreement.”
The (IBT) derided signing bonuses Horizon Air is offering new pilot (FC) recruits, saying the move does not address retention issues affecting experienced Horizon pilots (FC). “Short-sighted maneuvers won’t solve the staffing problem,” Teamsters Local 1224 executive council Chair & Horizon pilot (FC) Captain Jeff Cox said. “The only way we can continue serving our customers in the months and years ahead is [for Horizon] to offer industry-standard pay and benefits so we can recruit and retain skilled pilots (FC). We also need a career path that allows Horizon pilots (FC) to grow in the Alaska family.”
Horizon’s pilots (FC) are willing to negotiate, Cox said.
The airline said (ASA) takes pride in the partnership with our workgroups and unions, which is built on longstanding mutual respect. After months of negotiations with the pilot (FC) union, Horizon Air will continue to work toward a solution that is attractive to new pilots (FC), while respecting the contributions of existing pilots (FC) and the competitive regional airline marketplace. We do not anticipate any disruption in service.”
The suit was filed January 27 in the USA District Court of the Western District of Washington state.
News Item A-3: 737-790 (30793, N626AS) ferried to Tel Aviv for conversion to combi/freighter. 737-990ER (60581, N267AK) delivery.
February 2017: 737-790 (30794, N627AS) converted to freighter by (IAI) Bedek in Tel Aviv, Israel. 737-990ER (36365, N268AK), ex-(N1796B) delivery.
March 2017: News Item A-1: Alaska Airlines (ASA) moved to further solidify its presence in the San Francisco Bay Area on March 9 by announcing 13 new nonstop routes from the region beginning August 28.
10 of the routes will serve San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and the 3 will originate from San Jose International Airport (SJC) in northern California’s Silicon Valley.
(ASA) described it as the single largest new market announcement in company history, coming on the heels of (ASA)’s formal acquisition of San Francisco-based Virgin America (VUS) in December 2016. With the new routes, the combined Alaska - Virgin America airline will offer 125 daily nonstop flights to 42 destinations from the Bay Area’s 3 major airports.
Airplane utilization will primarily involve Virgin America (VUS)’s all-Airbus fleet and Embraer (EMB) E175 aircraft still to be delivered to (ASA)’s regional flying subsidiary Horizon Air. Horizon Air has 33 E175LRs on order as of February 2017. Horizon ordered 30 E175s in April 2016, with options for 33 additional E175 aircraft. Deliveries are to begin this year and continue through 2019.
The confirmed new routes are:
* 1x-daily San Jose - Austin, Texas E175 service, from August 28;
* 1x-daily San Jose to Tucson, Arizona E175 service, from August 28;
* 1x-daily (SFO) to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania A320 family service, from August 31;
* 1x-daily (SFO) to Nashville, Tennessee A320 service, from September 5;
* 1x-daily (SFO) to Albuquerque, New Mexico A320 service, from September 18;
* 1x-daily (SFO) to Kansas City, Missouri A320 service, from September 18;
* 4x-daily San Jose to Los Angeles E175 service, from September 20;
* 1x-daily (SFO) to New Orleans, Louisiana A320 service, from September 21;
* 1x-daily (SFO) to Indianapolis, Indiana A320 service, from September 26;
* 1x-daily (SFO) to Baltimore-Washington A320 service, from October 16;
* 1x-daily (SFO) to Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina A320 service, from October 19;
* 1x-daily (SFO) to- Kona, Hawaii A320 service, from December 14.
Also included in the route expansion announcement was service between (SFO) and Mexico City International Airport, which was originally announced by the USA Department of Transportation on March 3. Mexican government approval of the route is pending; (ASA) said the route will begin later this year.
News Item A-2: Alaska Airlines (ASA) is adding service to 6 new destinations from San Diego International Airport, in a move to increase its investment in Southern California.
(ASA) formally acquired San Francisco-based Virgin America (VUS) in December 2016.
New nonstop service includes daily flights to Albuquerque, New Mexico (October 18); Austin, Texas (August 27); Kansas City, Missouri (December 15); Minneapolis/St Paul (November 18); Omaha, Nebraska (August 28); and St Louis, Missouri (December 15).
The new routes will be served by 76-seat Embraer E175 jets, which feature 12F seats in first class, 12PY seats in premium class and 52Y seats in the main cabin.
The latest route announcements follow last week’s news that (ASA) is adding 13 nonstop routes to the San Francisco region.
By late August, (ASA) said it will fly 40 daily departures to 28 destinations from San Diego, including the most nonstop flights to Mexico and Hawaii.
News Item A-3: Alaska Airlines launched flights between San Jose (SJC) and New York Newark (EWR) on March 12, (ASA)’s 1st route to the USA East Coast from San Jose. (ASA) will serve the 4,088 km sector daily on a mixture of its 737 fleet. Alaska Airlines (ASA) is not the only carrier to have commenced flights on the airport pair this week, with Star (SAL) Alliance member United Airlines (UAL) having launched service between the 2 points on March 9, a route which it will also serve daily. No other carriers currently operate between the 2 airports. As a result of launching flights to Newark, this becomes the longest route for (ASA) from San Jose, with it overtaking its connection to Lihue in Hawaii which is 3,962 km. In total, (ASA) now serves 16 routes from San Jose, while from Newark it now serves 4 points, with San Jose joining flights to Seattle-Tacoma, Portland and San Diego.
April 2017: News Item A-1: Alaska Airlines (ASA) was ranked No. 1 USA carrier in 2016 in an annual report released at Wichita State University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. (ASA) which was No 5 in 2015, was judged on its on-time performance, baggage handling, bumping passengers off oversold flights and complaints filed with the government.
News Item A-2: The Alaska Air Group (the parent of Alaska Airlines (ASA), Virgin America (VUS) and Horizon Air) reported a 2017 1st-quarter net profit of +$99 million, down -46% from a net profit of +$184 million in the 2016 March quarter.
(ASA) noted the 2016 1st-quarter (GAAP) figure does not include San Francisco-based Virgin America (VUS), while the 2017 figure does ((ASA)’s acquisition of (VUS) closed in December 2016. Combining the 2 companies’ results from 2016 and excluding merger-related costs and fuel hedging adjustments in 2017, (Alaska-Virgin America) posted a pre-tax profit of +$202 million in the 2017 1st quarter versus $319 million in the 2016 March quarter, a -37% decrease.
On a combined basis, (Alaska-Virgin America)’s 1st quarter revenue rose +2% year-over-year (YOY) to $1.7 billion while expenses jumped +14% to $1.6 billion (largely because of a +42%, or +$101 million, increase in fuel costs) and operating income was $166 million, down -48% from an operating profit of $322 million for the 2 companies in the 2016 March quarter.
Noting that the higher fuel costs mostly drove the (YOY) drop in earnings performance, (ASA) (CFO) Brandon Pedersen pointed out to analysts that (Alaska-Virgin America)’s (CASM) ex-fuel was flat in the 1rst quarter and is on pace to be flat for the full year. “Overall, our 1st full post-acquisition quarter was solid,” he said.
“The business is looking good,” (CEO) Brad Tilden said. “The integration is continuing to progress well.”
(Alaska-Virgin America)’s 1st quarter traffic, including regional flying, increased +4.7% (YOY) to 11.7 billion RPMs on a +4.9% rise in capacity to 14.4 billion ASMs, producing a load factor of 81.3% LF, down -0.2 point.
News Item A-3: "Alaska Expands to Dallas Love Field; Virgin A320s to be Redeployed" by (ATW) Mark Nensel email@example.com, April 13, 2017.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) moved to utilize Virgin America (VUS)’s 2 gates at Dallas Love Field April 12 with the announcement of new routes from the close-in Dallas airport to 4 USA west coast airports.
(ASA) formally acquired San Francisco-based Virgin America (VUS) in December 2016 and inherited (VUS)’s Love Field gates in the process. Dallas-based Southwest Airlines (SWA) is the dominant carrier at Love Field with 16 of the airport’s 20 gates. Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines (DAL) operates from the remaining 2 gates.
(ASA)’s new service from Love Field includes a daily morning flight to Seattle utilizing a 3-class Airbus A320 family aircraft (beginning August 27) operated by Virgin America (VUS), coupled with a daily afternoon Dallas - Seattle flight utilizing 3-class 76-seat Embraer E175s (August 28), operated by Utah-based SkyWest Airlines as Alaska SkyWest. A new daily Dallas to Portland, Oregon route will start August 28, and will expand to 2x-daily on October 28; both flights will be on E175s operated by SkyWest. 2 additional 1x-daily routes from Dallas Love Field to San Diego and San Jose will begin February 16, 2018, also utilizing E175s operated by SkyWest.
The latest route announcement follows (ASA)’s April 5 statement that it is adding new long-haul service between Portland to Detroit (August 30); Los Angeles to Philadelphia (September 1) and Portland to New York (JFK) (November 6). (ASA) has reportedly expanded its reach by 37 new markets since the merger with (VUS).
In addition to its new routes from Dallas Love Field, (ASA) will continue to fly to the west coast from Dallas-Fort Worth, (ASA) VP Capacity Planning John Kirby said. (VUS) will continue to operate 3x-daily service to both Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Additionally, (ASA) announced that beginning in summer 2017, (VUS)'s A320 family aircraft will be replaced with E175s on 2 routes, Dallas Love Field to New York LaGuardia and Dallas Love Field to Washington Reagan National Airport (DCA). The LaGuardia route will see a switch from (VUS)’s A319 to SkyWest’s E175 on August 27 and will increase from 3x-daily service to 4x-daily service on October 28. The (DCA) route will switch 2 of its 3x-daily flights from a (VUS) A319 to a SkyWest E175 on February 18, 2018; the 3rd daily Love Field to (DCA) route will continue to be operated by (VUS) until March 11, 2018, when SkyWest will assume the flight. As part of the schedule changes, the Virgin America (VUS)-operated Dallas Love Field to Las Vegas route will be eliminated as of August 26.
“Optimizing the fleet and matching the right plane to the right market is one of the key benefits of our merger with (VUS),” Kirby said. “Prior to the merger, (VUS) lacked a regional aircraft to take advantage of mid-size routes. The fuel-efficient E175 has the same amenities and features of a mainline jet and is perfectly suited for Love Field.”
The (VUS) A320 family aircraft redeployed from Love Field will next be used to fly long-haul San Francisco flights to Philadelphia, New Orleans, Nashville, Indianapolis, Raleigh-Durham and Kona, Hawaii, plus a Los Angeles - Philadelphia route, (ASA) said.
News Item A-4: Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Virgin America (VUS) will consolidate operations at New York (JFK)’s Terminal 7 by October, the combined airlines said April 25. Seattle-based (ASA) will vacate its premises at (JFK) Terminal 8, and San Francisco-based (VUS) will move from its premises at (JFK) Terminal 4.
At Terminal 7, the combined airlines will join (ASA)’s global partners British Airways (BAB), Qantas (QAN) and Icelandair (ICE). (ASA) intends to build a new lounge at the terminal for opening in early 2018. Code share partner British Airways (BAB) said it has invested $65 million to modernize the terminal, including improvements to (TSA) security screening facilities and increased concessions for terminal passengers.
“Our focus is on integrating (ASA) and (VUS) operations at (JFK) to enable future growth,” (ASA) Executive VP & (CCO) Andrew Harrison said. “Having convenient connections and a streamlined operation are keys to delivering a positive guest experience."
(ASA) has moved quickly this year to expand its network and solidify its presence at (VUS)’s San Francisco hub. Since the December 2016 acquisition of Virgin America (VUS), the combined airlines have announced 30 new routes from 6 west coast airports: San Francisco (SFO), Portland (PDX), Los Angeles (LAX), San Diego (SAN), Orange County (SNA), and San Jose/Silicon Valley (SJC). 13 of the new routes will originate at (SFO); 7 will originate from San Diego (SAN); 4 will originate at Portland (PDX).
The Alaska Air Group plans to retire the Virgin America brand in 2019. The combined airline company will be known as Alaska Airlines (ASA) and will retain (ASA)’s logo.
News Item A-5: The 1st Airbus A321neo, the largest and longest-range variant of the Airbus family of re-engined narrow body aircraft, has been delivered to Virgin America (VUS).
San Francisco-based (VUS), a subsidiary of Seattle-based Alaska Air Group, is leasing the A321neo from (GE) Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) (GEF). (VUS) took delivery of the aircraft, powered by (CFM) International (LEAP-1A) engines, at an April 20 ceremony in Hamburg.
Virgin America (VUS) President Peter Hunt said the A321neo “will allow us to further reduce our unit costs and enable us to further reduce our carbon emissions.” The A321neo joined (VUS)’s fleet of 53 A320ceos and 10 A319ceos. Configured with 184 seats, the A321neo is expected to enter service May 31 on (VUS)’s San Francisco - Washington National transcontinental route.
(VUS) was acquired by the Alaska Air Group in December 2016 and is in the process of being merged with Alaska Airlines (ASA). The Virgin America brand is slated to be retired in 2019.
(VUS) has 10 A321neos on order, all to be leased from (GECAS). (VUS) will take delivery of 5 A321neos this year, according to Alaska Air Group (CFO) Brandon Pedersen.
(VUS)’s A321neo arrived as (ASA), which operates an all-Boeing 737 mainline fleet, is undertaking a review to determine whether it will continue to operate (VUS)’s A320 family fleet long term alongside its 737 fleet.
Pedersen recently said that (ASA) is in talks with (GECAS) regarding the 5 A321neos (VUS) is expected to receive next year. “We’re working with the lessor on what the right answer is for those airplanes,” he said. “Our reluctance is to bring more Airbus airplanes in on a long-term lease arrangement before we make a long-term fleet decision.” “We’ll make a decision by the end of 2017” on whether to operate a dual mainline fleet long term, Alaska Air Group (CEO) Brad Tilden said, adding, “I think we’re the only airline in the world that has ‘proudly all-Boeing’ on the nose of every single [Alaska Airlines] airplane. My dad was a Boeing (TBC) guy, he was there for 32 years. We could not be more proud of our relationship with Boeing (TBC). Airbus (EDS) is a good manufacturer. A320s are good airplanes. What we need to do now is just take our time, cool our jets, spend some time and make the best decision for the long-term future of the company. To be really clear, it’s not Boeing (TBC) vs Airbus (EDS). That’s not the decision we’re going to make. The decision we’re going to make is whether we operate 1 fleet type or 2 fleet types.”
Regardless, Pedersen said (ASA), which has 37 737 MAX airplanes on order, will likely operate most of (VUS)’s A320 family fleet until 2023 - 2024, when most of the leases on (VUS)’s aircraft expire (though the aircraft will be retrofitted with a standard Alaska Airlines (ASA) interior by mid-2019. The fate of a Virgin America (VUS) order on the books for 30 A320neos to be delivered from 2020 to 2022 “is entirely dependent on what we decide this year” regarding the long-term fleet, Pedersen said.
If those 30 A320neos are canceled, (ASA) would likely add more 737 MAXs to its order book. “To the extent that we decide to go a different route on those 30 Airbuses, we’ll have to flex the Boeing (TBC) order,” Pedersen said.
May 2017: Alaska Airlines (ASA) added the city of Indianapolis (IND) to its network on May 11 by beginning daily flights from Seattle-Tacoma (SEA). The 2,993 km sector will be flown by the airline on a mixture of its 737s, with no other carrier offering direct competition. “This flight is a testament to the power of collaboration and a collective commitment to uplift Indianapolis,” said Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett at the launch. “But this is truly more than a new flight. It’s a new route to economic development, job creation and talent retention (a new connection with the West Coast for businesses in Indianapolis, and across our state).”
Since announcing its intention to serve Indianapolis with flights from Seattle in August 2016, (ASA) has also announced it will be adding a non-stop, daily service from San Francisco beginning September 26. “The investment of a 2nd flight to a crucial market, so quickly after announcing its non-stop daily flight to Seattle, makes a statement that (ASA) anticipates Indianapolis can deliver the business and leisure passenger traffic they need to run successful routes out of our city,” said Mario Rodriguez, Executive Director of the Indianapolis Airport Authority.
This year’s 101st running of the Indy 500 takes place on Sunday May 28 and will feature for the 1st time double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso.
737-990ER (61554, N273AK) delivery.
August 2017: News Item A-1: United Airlines (UAL) is set to join Alaska Airlines (ASA) in starting regular passenger services out of Everett Snohomish County Airport, (Paine Field) in 2018.
News Item A-2: Alaska Airlines (ASA) has increased its operation from Albuquerque (ABQ) this month by introducing daily flights to Portland (PDX) and Orange County (SNA), adding to its existing daily operation from Seattle-Tacoma. The 1,785 and 1,043 km routes from Oregon and California, both launched on August 18, will be flown by (ASA) on its fleet of E175s operated by Horizon Air.
While Orange County services will face no direct competition, flights to Portland will go head-to-head with Southwest Airlines (SWA) which already provides 6x-weekly flights on the city pair.
News Item A-3: Alaska Airlines (ASA) expanded its operations from 4 USA West Coast airports this month, with 6 new routes being launched from Portland (PDX), San Diego (SAN), San Jose (SJC) and Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) to destinations in Arizona, Nebraska and Texas. Of the sectors inaugurated by (ASA), 4 of them will face direct competition from Southwest Airlines (SWA), while the link from San Diego to Austin (AUS) will also face Frontier Airlines (FRO) which offers 3x-weekly flights on the route.
The average sector length of Alaska Airlines (ASA)’s new airport pairs is 2,133 km.
News Item A-4: Alaska Airlines (ASA), operated by recent acquisition Virgin America (VUS), commenced its latest route from San Francisco (SFO) on September 5, a 3,161 km link to Nashville (BNO). While (VUS) America is a new brand at Nashville, (ASA) already serves the Tennessee airport with a daily service from Seattle-Tacoma. “We are enormously pleased that (VUS) will begin operations at Nashville.
“(VUS) is yet another new airline to join the Nashville roster, giving Middle Tennessee business and leisure travelers even more choices for traveling to and from the Bay Area.” The route, which will operated by (VUS)’s A319s, is already flown by United Airlines (UAL) which offers 13 non-stop flights a week.
News Item A-5: Alaska Airlines (ASA) will keep the Airbus A320 fleet it got through its acquisition of Virgin America (VUS) for at least 10 more years, an executive with the carrier said. The leases on the current A320 fleet run until 2025, and (ASA) is committed to operating the aircraft until then, (ASA) VP Capacity Planning John Kirby said.
September 2017: Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Virgin America (VUS) launched daily San Francisco TO New Orleans Airbus A320 service.
October 2017: News Item A-1: North American airlines are facing headwinds in 2017 that are lowering operating margins compared to 2015 and 2016, but air travel demand in the region remains strong and the overall industry outlook remains stable, according to Fitch Ratings. In a new report issued October 23, Fitch analysts said higher wages, higher jet fuel prices and “intense competition” are leading to “weaker operating margins and deterioration in credit metrics for North American carriers.
News Item A-2: Alaska Air Group executives acknowledged the company’s network expansion this year (44 new routes, including 32 in California alone) has been met with intense pricing competition, which, combined with pilot (FC) shortages at regional carrier Horizon Air, have impacted the 2017 3rd-quarter results. With its financial results now incorporating Virgin America (VUS), which formally merged with Alaska Air (ASA) in December 2016, the Alaska Air Group’s net profit for the quarter totaled $266 million.
November 2017: News Item A-1: Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Virgin America (VUS) 2,700 pilots (FC) began working under a new, joint labor contract on November 1, following a binding arbitration ruling that settled pay and benefits issues. The contract with Seattle-based Alaska Air Group, which is in the process of merging (ASA) and (VUS), lasts until April 1, 2020. The Alaska Air (ASA) Group acquired San Francisco-based Virgin America (VUS) for $2.6 billion in cash and $1.4 billion in assumed debt in late 2016.
News Item A-2: (CFM) International and Alaska Airlines (ASA) signed a 9-year rate per flight hour maintenance agreement to support 128 (CFM56-7B) engines that power (ASA)’s s fleet of Boeing 737-800NG airplanes. The agreement, which includes spare engines, is valued at nearly $500 million at list prices.
News Item A-3: As in-flight connectivity provider Gogo continues the rollout of its latest satellite-based in-flight internet technology, it is also working to upgrade its air-to-ground system with faster speeds.
Gogo said it logged a successful test flight equipped with its latest air-to-ground in-flight internet offering, (ATG-NG). It uses a network designed to provide faster speeds to customers flying throughout North America on regional and business aircraft, and will be available next year.
The test was performed on Gogo’s own aircraft, spokeswoman Meredith Payette told (ATW) sister publication Aviation Daily. The company expects the upgrade will provide an experience similar to its latest satellite-based product, "2Ku," and deliver peak speeds of >100 Mbps per aircraft via a new antenna and modem. It is too early to tell how quickly each device will be reached, she noted.
Gogo has focused on ramping up (2Ku) installations this year. 14 carriers have committed to outfitting >1,900 aircraft with the technology, including Delta Air Lines (DAL), Alaska Airlines (ASA) and (LATAM) Airlines Brazil (TPR). (2Ku) had been installed on >320 aircraft as of October 31, Gogo reported in its 3rd-quarter earnings update. Gogo installed (2Ku) on 76 aircraft in October alone.
“We are on target to reach our guidance of 450 to 550 (2Ku) installations for the year,” (CEO) Michael Small told investors during a November 2 earnings call. About 1 3rd of the commercial North American fleet will be connected with (2Ku) by the end of 2018, he added.
Small noted that Gogo is changing its strategy as higher-bandwidth technology takes to the skies, focusing on increasing engagement throughout the aircraft, instead of primarily on driving yield via business travelers.
“Quite simply, we’re switching from maximizing yield (the business traveler segment) to a strategy that engages the entire aircraft, and I’m very pleased with how that’s going,” he said.
Take rates for Gogo’s technology are expected to increase as higher bandwidth improves the customer experience, Small noted. In the commercial North American market, this figure rose to 7.5% year-over-year from 6.5%. This is in part due to an expanded partnership with T-Mobile, and programs to offer free messaging through web apps on Delta (DAL).
Gogo’s 3rd-quarter net loss widened 36% year-over-year to $45.3 million. Revenues increased +17% year-over-year to $172.9 million.
News Item A-4: (CFM) International has a 9-year, $500 million Alaska Airlines (ASA) contract to maintain 128 (CFM56-7B)s.
News Item A-5: "Alaska’s Cuba Pullout Signals Death of USA to Cuba Air Transport Market" by Aaron Karp in AirKarp firstname.lastname@example.org November 16, 2017.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) pulling out of Cuba signals the effective death of the market for USA airlines, at least for the foreseeable future.
(ASA)’s Los Angeles to Havana daily flight was a good litmus test for the viability of the USA to Cuba air transport market. There will always be demand of some sort between Miami and Cuba (and, to a lesser extent, from Washington DC and New York to Havana). But if a daily 737-900 flight between the USA W coast’s biggest market and the Cuban capital is not viable, then the USA to Cuba market is not really viable.
Even before the USA PresidentTrump administration rescinded “people-to-people” travel (which allowed individual USA citizens to go to Cuba on an approved trip (there had to be some reason for the trip beyond sitting on the beach, some sort of planned educational interaction with Cubans)) the market was already proving a tough go for USA airlines. Too much capacity flooded the market too quickly; the aviation infrastructure in Cuba, particularly outside Havana, needs improvement; and, yes, people-to-people trips were allowed, but no pure vacation traveling was permitted, placing an artificial ceiling on demand. Airlines’ hope had been that the restrictions would be loosened. But instead, the opposite has happened. The USA government last week officially disallowed people-to-people trips. As (ASA) pointed out, 80% of its passengers traveling from (LAX) to Havana were traveling on people-to-people trips. (ASA) decided flying a mostly empty plane to Cuba made no sense. A 737-900 is too expensive an asset to be wasted.
(ASA) follows USA carriers Silver Airways, Spirit Airlines (SPR) and Frontier Airlines (FRO) in pulling out of Cuba. Another carrier, Sun Country Airlines (SCA), has relinquished its Department of Transportation-granted Cuba rights before even starting service to the island nation.
That leaves American Airlines (AAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL), Southwest Airlines (SWA), JetBlue Airways (JBL) and United Airlines (UAL) serving Cuba. They have a tough choice to make. Follow (ASA) in pulling out, or continue to serve Cuba with reduced capacity to keep a foot in the market and retain flying rights? That probably means taking losses on Cuba service in the hope that, eventually, a new administration will change the rules again and the market will one day pay off. (JBL), in different circumstances, is taking such an approach with Puerto Rico. It had the largest presence of any airline in pre-hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico, having spent years building up a strong business there, and it does not want to give that up. It has slashed capacity to San Juan, but will keep flying to Puerto Rico so that when the island “opens for business” again, the airline will reap the rewards.
Sticking with Cuba will mean airlines slogging through the rest of the President Trump years, at least, in the hope that the 2020s bring a renewed opening that allows for people-to-people trips again and ultimately pure tourism/vacation travel. My view is that American and (JBL) are the least likely to leave, (SWA) is the most likely to cut the cord (the airline’s executives can’t stand flying money-losing routes for very long), and (DAL) and (UAL) are somewhere in between.
But the grand hopes USA airlines had when they started flying to Cuba in 2016 have been dashed. The USA to Cuba air transport market is simply not viable under the current circumstances.
December 2017: "Horizon Air (CEO) Dave Campbell Stepping Down After Troubled Year" by Dominic Gates email@example.com, Seattle Times Aerospace Reporter, December 18, 2017.
After a year of turmoil at Horizon Air (the local regional carrier that’s part of the Alaska Air Group), Dave Campbell the (CEO) announced December 18 that he’s stepping down. Campbell conveyed the news internally via an email to employees. “As the year comes to a close, I have found myself at a crossroads,” Campbell wrote. “For personal reasons, I have decided to step down from my role with Horizon effective January 5, opening the door for a new chapter for the airline.”
His departure comes after a troubled year for Horizon that saw thousands of canceled flights due to a pilot (FC) shortage. Horizon had to slash its schedule in the fall, with (ASA) handing the routes that Horizon dropped either to mainline carrier (ASA) or to contract regional carrier SkyWest, a Horizon competitor.
(ASA) also suspended deliveries of the new Embraer E175 jets that had been ordered as part of a plan to expand Horizon. Horizon’s operational performance on the reduced flight schedule began to stabilize only last month. Campbell recently announced internally that deliveries of the E175s will resume in March. In his farewell message, he chose to emphasize that upturn in fortunes. “After a couple of months of positive momentum, I feel like I’m leaving Horizon at a good time with a bright future,” Campbell wrote.
However, Horizon’s future remains on a knife’s edge with many employees worried that it may not survive. In a message to staff, Campbell noted that in a recent internal survey of Horizon employees, “the overwhelming theme of the survey was a great deal of uncertainty about the future of Horizon.”
* Pilot (FC) hiring challenge.
Pilot hiring (FC) and training have progressed, with 278 pilots (FC) hired so far against a goal of adding 670 pilots (FC) by the end of next year to meet the planned flight schedules. However, it’ll be a tremendous challenge to meet that target.
Horizon has just >700 pilots (FC) in total today. And other regional carriers keep leapfrogging each other in the new-hire salaries offered to attract young pilots (FC). Last month, Endeavor Air, a regional-carrier subsidiary of Delta Air Lines (DAL) signed a new contract that pushed pay for new pilots (FC) higher than at Horizon.
In a new effort to attract and retain pilots (FC) at Horizon, management separately announced December 18 a new program setting up an easier career path for Horizon pilots (FC) to move up to the better-paid jobs at Alaska Airlines (ASA). Pilots (FC) joining the program will be offered the opportunity to interview with (ASA) early in their career at Horizon, regardless of flight time or experience.
When Alaska has openings, it will hire without any additional interviews from a pool of experienced Horizon pilots (FC) in the program whose record at the regional carrier is sufficiently good, with offers based on seniority.
* Distracted by Virgin (VUS)
Despite all the trouble this year, Campbell is personally admired even by many longtime Horizon pilots (FC) who are most critical of management. Several pilots (FC), speaking on condition of anonymity, instead blamed Alaska Airlines (ASA) management for not providing Campbell and Horizon the resources and attention it required.
Since the acquisition of Virgin America (VUS) in 2016, management has had to focus heavily on the integration of (VUS) with (ASA), leaving less energy to deal with Horizon’s problems, pilots (FC) said.
On December 18, Brad Tilden, (CEO) of (ASA), issued a statement praising Campbell, noting that his placement of the order for 33 new Embraer E-175 jets was designed to make a major transition for the regional airline toward future growth. “I want to thank Dave for being a very honorable leader, and for working so hard for Horizon,” Tilden wrote.
Campbell joined Horizon from JetBlue (JBL) 3 years ago.
Tilden said (ASA) will immediately begin a search for a replacement (CEO) for Horizon.
January 2017: News Item A-1: "Alaska Airlines, Virgin America Granted Single Air Operating Certificate (AOC) by (FAA)" by (ATW) Aaron Karp firstname.lastname@example.org 2018-11.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Virgin America (VUS) have been granted a single operating certificate by the (FAA), a key milestone in the integration of the 2 airlines.
The Alaska Air Group, parent of Alaska Airlines, acquired San Francisco-based Virgin America (VUS) for $2.6 billion in cash and $1.4 billion in assumed debt in late 2016.
(ASA) cautioned that passengers should not expect to see “immediate differences,” adding, “For now, [passengers] will still use respective (ASA) and (VUS) mobile apps, websites and airport terminals when traveling. But when (ASA) and (VUS) move to a single reservations system in late April 2018, [passengers] can expect a more streamlined travel experience, with the (ASA) mobile app and website serving their travel needs.”
But the single operating certificate does mean regulators have been convinced that the 2 airlines’ operating policies and procedures are now in alignment. “>10,500 frontline employees have been trained on the updated policies and procedures,” (ASA) said. “As part of the single (AOC) approval process, (VUS) flight attendants (CA) were issued iPhones for their work duties, matching their (ASA) counterparts; Virgin America (VUS) pilots (FC) are now going through a validation period to receive iPads, similar to Alaska (ASA)’s pilots (FC).”
About 1,500 changes to policies and procedures in 68 manuals were required to achieve the single operating certificate, (ASA) noted.
“This is a big moment for our company,” said Ben Minicucci, Alaska Airlines (ASA)’s President & (COO) and Virgin America (VUS)’s (CEO). “We’re now recognized as a 1 airline in the eyes of the (FAA).”
(ASA) noted on January 1 the 2 airlines’ loyalty programs were integrated and the company transitioned to a single payroll and benefits program. The 2 carriers’ pilots (FC) began working under a joint labor contract on November 1, 2017. “The single operating certificate allows (ASA) to continue integration work that can only be achieved with the certification,” (ASA) stated.
News Item A-2: Seattle-based Alaska Airlines (ASA) is looking to solidify an anchor presence at the redeveloped Paine Field-Snohomish County Airport in Everett, Washington with the January 16 announcement of 13x-daily flights to 8 cities set to launch in the fall 2018.
(ASA)’s new point-to-point destinations from Paine Field will be Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Orange County, California; Phoenix; Portland; San Diego; San Francisco; and San Jose, California. (ASA) said it will detail flight frequencies and departure/arrival times later in the year, pending government approval.
Snohomish County is partnering with Propeller Airports to build a new passenger terminal at the airport for a planned opening in fall 2018. Paine Field, originally constructed in 1936, is the home for Boeing (TBC)’s Everett Factory, the manufacturing plant for Boeing’s 747, 767, 777 and 787 airplanes. The airport is also home to >650 general aviation, business and historic airplanes. Of the 3 runways at the airport, only 1 (Runway 16R/34L, at 9,010 ft in length and 150 ft in width) is suitable for large airplanes.
Paine Field-Snohomish County Airport is planning an overlay project for Runway 16R/34L, which will necessitate a 9-day closure of the runway from July 1. According to Paine Field, the project will include rubber and paint removal, fog sealing the entire runway as well as stripping and fixing a failing cold joint. The airport’s next-largest runway 16L/34R will be open for the duration of 34L’s repairs. Runway 16L/34L, at 3,000 ft in length and 75 ft width, is suitable only for small general aviation aircraft.
Alaska Airlines (ASA) said last year that it is planning to utilize Boeing 737 and Embraer E175s for the new routes. The Embraer E175 jets
seat 76 passengers with a single aisle dividing 4 seats abreast. (ASA) said it will offer 3 classes of service: First class, Premium class and Main Cabin Economy. Passengers will have Wi-Fi connectivity
free movies and TV shows, and free texting.
(ASA) did not provide an update on planned airplanes for its new Paine Field service set for later this year. “We’re proud to become the anchor tenant of the new terminal at Paine Field [and] to be able to continue our commitment to the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest,” (ASA) (CCO) Andrew Harrison said.
United Airlines (UAL) is also planning for commercial flights at Paine Field. In August 2017 (UAL) said it will operate 6x-daily flights from the airport to its hubs in Denver and San Francisco.
Paine Field is located approximately 38 miles north of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and 74 miles south of Bellingham International Airport.
News Item A-3: "Longtime Alaska Air Exec Returns to Lead Horizon Airlines Unit" By Dominic Gates Seattle Times Aerospace Reporter
January 11, 2018.
Former Alaska Air (ASA) executive Gary Beck will come out of retirement to take over as (CEO) at its regional carrier Horizon Air.
Constance von Muehlen, another Alaska Airlines executive, was appointed Horizon’s Chief Operating Officer (COO).
Beck replaces Dave Campbell, who announced his resignation in December after a troubled year at Horizon.
Low pilot (FC) pay had created a pilot (FC) shortage so severe that Horizon had to cancel hundreds of flights. Its flight schedule was cut from an average of 360x-daily a year ago to 295x-daily last month.
Recruiting and training about 400 new pilots (FC) this year will have to be a priority for the new leadership. They’ll also oversee the resumption of deliveries of Embraer E175 regional jets for Horizon, scheduled for March.
Beck was VP Flight Operations at (ASA) from 2008 until June 2015. Responsible for ensuring a safe, reliable flight operation, he oversaw 1,600 pilots (FC). Beck also developed (ASA)’s "Greener Skies" initiative (a satellite-based navigation program to make takeoffs and landings at Sea-Tac more fuel-efficient and quieter) and introduced new technology such as pilot (FC) iPads and a paperless flight deck.
Last year, in retirement, he worked as consultant to (ASA) on the project to get a single flight certificate for (ASA) with (VUS), following the acquisition of (VUS).
Brad Tilden, (CEO) of the Alaska Air Group, called Beck “a seasoned leader with a tremendous amount of fire in his belly. “I believe our Horizon Air colleagues will really enjoy working with him as he leads Horizon into the next era,” he said.
Von Muehlen, a former Black Hawk helicopter pilot for the Army, was most recently Managing Director Airframe, Engine & Component Maintenance Repair & Overhaul at Alaska. Last year, she led the integration of Virgin America (VUS)’ and (ASA)’s Maintenance Operations.
* Customer service defended in memo
Separately, (ASA)’s Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) Andrew Harrison sent a memo to all staff Wednesday pushing back against comments by some employees in a Seattle Times story on Sunday.
In that story, employees spoke of their unhappiness with a drive to control costs, also cited in internal documents obtained by the Seattle Times, and voiced concern that it threatened to undermine Alaska’s reputation for high-end service.
The cost-containment moves ranged from a pilot contract that set pay below that of the major USA carriers to smaller initiatives such as a plan to stop serving cookies on flights after 10 am, a move that was abandoned when flight attendants (CA) protested. In Harrison’s note, obtained by The Seattle Times, he insisted that while (ASA) is certainly pushing to contain costs in some areas, it is at the same time investing heavily in improved amenities in areas that matter more to passengers. “There is simply no truth to the suggestion that we have reduced our investments in our customers or our on board experience,” Harrison wrote.
* He then cited:
• An $11 million investment last year to provide free movies, TV and texting on flights.
• A $100 million investment in new seats with power outlets and larger overhead bins.
• Additional legroom in its Premium Class and First Class seats.
• A free checked bag for passengers who have the Alaska credit card.
Harrison also listed planned upgrades to services, including:
• $25 million to install satellite Wi-Fi on all its mainline jets by 2020.
• Upgrades to on board menus later this year.
• $30 million to improve and expand the Alaska lounge in New York’s (JFK) airport and a new lounge at Seattle-Tacoma International airport opening next year.
March 2018: Alaska Airlines (ASA) added 2 new sectors to Dallas Love Field (DAL) this week, with operations from San Jose (SJC) and San Diego (SAN) becoming (ASA)’s 5th and 6th routes into the Texan airport, joining its existing services from Portland, New York LaGuardia, Washington Reagan and Seattle-Tacoma. Both routes started on February 16 and both are flown daily by (ASA)’s E175 fleet.
Additionally both sectors face competition from Southwest Airlines (SWA), with (SWA) offering 3x-daily flights from San Diego and daily services from San Jose.
April 2018: News Item A-1: Regional carrier Horizon Air, a subsidiary of the Alaska Air Group, received its 1st new jet since last year’s crisis over a shortage of pilots (FC) prompted it to reduce flights and suspend deliveries of the Brazilian-built Embraer (EMB) E175 planes.
The new jet landed in Portland, Oregon, and will be integrated into the regional air carrier’s schedule later this month. 4 more are to arrive before the end of May, and Horizon expects to take a total of 13 this year, bringing its E175 fleet to 23 aircraft.
These 76-passenger jets, featuring comfortable 4-abreast seating, will take over the flying as Horizon retires some of its Dash 8-Q400 turboprop planes.
The E175 will also be the aircraft used on the new routes out of Paine Field in Everett, starting this fall.
The delivery is a clear sign of progress after Horizon’s year of turmoil in 2017.
The E175 deliveries were originally supposed to begin last year, but in September Horizon was forced to defer the 1st 6 because the airline didn’t have enough pilots (FC) to fly the planes. This past summer and into the fall, Horizon had to cancel hundreds of flights, and parent company Alaska Air (ASA) announced that to avoid further disruption it would hand over some of Horizon’s routes to rival regional carrier SkyWest. That move was a big blow to employee morale.
It also sparked a lawsuit from the union representing Horizon pilots, Teamsters Local 1224, which alleged a breach of its 2016 contract, when the union granted concessions to management on the basis that the company’s investment in the E-175 jets would secure Horizon’s future.
In an internal Horizon staff newsletter, VP Finance & Planning Brooke Vatheuer expressed the relief employees felt at the new jet’s arrival.
“Growing the E175 fleet is essential to Horizon’s future, but I’m sure some of us thought these planes would never come,” she said.
As new Horizon (CEO) Gary Beck looks to a recovery, he’s also made some pragmatic cuts.
News Item A-2: "Finnair, Alaska Airlines to Begin Code Share Partnership" by (ATW) Kurt Hofmann (email@example.com), April 20, 2018.
Oneworld (ONW) member Finnair (FIN) and Seattle-based Alaska Airlines (ASA) have signed a code share agreement, starting May 20.
(FIN) added its AY code on Alaska Airlines (ASA) flights between San Francisco (California) and Seattle (Washington), Portland (Oregon), Salt Lake City (Utah), Las Vegas (Nevada), Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County and Palm Springs (California).
Finnair (FIN) will operate up to 3x-weekly, Helsinki to San Francisco services between May 3 and December 5, 2018.
(FIN) Head of Partnerships & Alliances Philip Lewin said the new code shares will “help us widen our network on the west coast. San Francisco is a key destination for (FIN) and we have just extended the season until early December due to strong demand.”
(FIN) and (ASA) announced a frequent flyer partnership in May 2017, enabling members of each other’s loyalty program to earn and redeem miles or points on flights operated by both airlines.
May 2018: News Item A-1: The Alaska Air Group is enlarging its home base. The parent of Alaska Airlines (ASA) has broken ground on a 128,000 square foot office building across the street from its existing corporate headquarters, located in the city of SeaTac, just SE of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The building, which will be erected next to (ASA)'s Flight Training center, which will have room for about 600 employees, and is set for completion in early 2020. (ASA) acquired this 6.8 acre site on International Boulevard for about $32 million in January 2018. The site formerly housed the Sandstone Inn.
News Item A-2: Alaska Airlines (ASA) has no plans to shed its Dallas Love Field (DAL) gates in the wake of giving up slots in New York and Washington DC, which served as the destination of 7 of (ASA)’s flights from the Dallas airport, a top executive said.
(ASA) last month announced that Dallas-based Southwest Airlines (SWA) would lease 12 of (ASA)’s slots at New York LaGuardia (LGA) and 8 at Ronald Reagan Washington National (DCA), starting in October.
August 2018: News Item A-1: "Worker Takes Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 Airplane from Sea-Tac Airport - Crashes on Island" Seattle Times.
Officials said a 29-year-old Horizon Air (ASA) employee took off from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and crashed on an island in Pierce County. No other passengers or flight crew (FC) were on board.
The plane was taken by a 29-year-old Sumner man about 8 pm and crashed on Ketron Island, near Steilacoom about 90 minutes later, according to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. No passengers or crew appeared to be aboard the 76-seat plane.
The Sheriff’s Department said it was “not a terrorist incident.” The Dash 8-Q400 airplane crashed either while the man was doing stunts or because of a lack of flying skills, according to the Sheriff’s Department. “A joyride gone terribly wrong,” Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor said during a news conference in Steilacoom, which is about 3 miles from the island.
No injuries were reported on the ground, Pastor said, as the plane crashed and started an intense fire on the wooded, 230-acre island, which has a population of 20. He said it appeared the man who took the plane died.
Horizon Air (COO) Constance von Muehlen said in a late-night video that “our hearts are with the family of the individual onboard as well as all our Alaska Air (ASA) and Horizon Air employees.” She said she believed the plane had been taken by “a single Horizon Air employee” and that no other passengers or crew were onboard. The employee was a “ground service agent,” according to Alaska Airlines (ASA).
On a live air-traffic control feed, the person flying the plane could be heard talking with an air-traffic controller who addressed him as Rich and Richard. Rich seemed excited as he spoke, though also carefree and wild. At one point he explained he had put some gas in the plane “to go check out the Olympics… and uh, yeah.”
Later, he began to worry about his fuel. “I’m down to 2,100 (pounds),” he told Air Traffic Control (ATC). “I started at 30 something. I don’t know what the burnage is like on takeoff, but it burned quite a bit faster than I expected.”
See video: https://youtu.be/LM6zshBLSDg
* "Extraordinary Professionalism of Seattle Air Traffic Controllers"
by Karen Walker (Karen.firstname.lastname@example.org) in ATW Editor's Blog, August 11, 2018.
There are lots of questions to be answered about Friday night’s bizarre incident in Seattle when a Horizon Air employee stole and crashed a Q400, but for now let’s acknowledge the incredible job done by the Air National Guard pilots (FC) and the air traffic controllers who handled the situation.
The 2 F-15C pilots from the 142nd Fighter Wing in Portland, Oregon were scrambled to intercept the Q400 after it was confirmed that an unauthorized person had taken the aircraft from Seattle’s SeaTac airport, taken off and was flying over the area. They were, the Washington State Governor said, “ready to do whatever was needed to protect us,” but they also seemed quickly to realize that this was a distressed individual, not a terrorist. They steered the aircraft away from the city.
Hearing the conversation between the guy who was piloting the plane and (ATC) was even more remarkable. The controller was calm, trying to work out a solution to get the aircraft down safely, but also compassionate. It’s heartbreaking to have heard this man describe himself as “broken” and say he didn’t want to hurt anyone. He mentioned how beautiful the Olympic mountains are and (ATC) responded, “ya, I have been out there, it’s always a nice drive.”
All the time, under what must have been incredible stress, (ATC) was working to get a safe ending, pointing out a nearby runway that could be used, offering help on how to fly safely, and keeping the person talking. They couldn’t save this person, but they were instrumental in ensuring this wasn’t a much worse incident.
News Item A-2: Alaska Airlines (ASA) video over Frisco (SFO):
Click below for photos:
ASA-737 MAX - 2012-10
ASA-737-490 N705AS 2016-02.jpg
ASA-737-490 SALMON THIRTY SALMON
ASA-737-800 - New Livery 2016-02.jpg
ASA-737-800 SPIRIT OF SEATTLE 2008-11
ASA-737-890 75TH N569AS
ASA-737-890 SALMON THIRTY SALMON II
ASA-737-900 - 2016-07.jpg
ASA-737-900ER - 2015-04.jpg
ASA-737-900ER - N424AS-2017-09.jpg
ASA-737-900ER - N439AS-2017-09.jpg
ASA-737-900ER - SEAHAWKS-2015-A
ASA-737-900ER - SEAHAWKS-B-2015-01
ASA-737-900ER - SEAHAWKS-C-2015-01
ASA-737-900ER - SEAHAWKS-D-2015-01
ASA-737-900ER More to Love 2018-03.jpg
ASA-737-900ER N266AK 2018-02.jpg
ASA-Dash 8 2018-01.jpg
ASA-E175 - 2016-04.jpg
ASA-MD-80-KEN HODGES PAINTING
0 737-2Q8C (JT8D-17 HK) (610-21959, /79 N741AS), SOLD TO (CSDS) SALES 2007-04. 111Y/COMBI.
0 737-2X6C (JT8D-17A HK) (1042-23123, /84 N746AS; 1046-23124, /84, EX-(TML) 2001-03), 23124; SOLD TO (BCI) LEASING, LEASED TO (ALO) 2006-10. 23123 SOLD TO (ALO) 2007-01. 111Y/COMBI.
1 737-210C (JT8D-17 HK) (590-21821, /79 N743AS; 605-21822, /79 N744AS, (GEF) LEASED), 21822 SOLD TO FORT LAUDERDALE AEROSPACE 2005-02. 111Y/COMBI.
0 737-290C (JT8D-17 HK) (760-22577, /81 N730AS; 767-22578, /81 N740AS; 1032-23136, /84 N742AS), (FCC) LEASED), 22577; SOLD TO (ALO) 2006-08. 22578; WFU & DONATED TO ALASKA AVIATION HERITAGE MUSEUM 2007-06. 22577; SOLD TO (BCI) AIRCRAFT, LEASED TO (ICR) 2009-06. 111Y/COMBI.
0 737-298C (JT8D-17 HK) (346-20794, /74 N745AS), EX-(ZAI)/(WAI), SOLD TO (ALO) 2007-01. 111Y/COMBI.
15 737-4Q8 (CFM56-3C1) (2266-25095, /92 N754AS "SPIRIT OF ALASKA;" 2858-27628, /97 N785AS) (2826-28199, /96 N784AS "SPIRIT OF DISNEYLAND" - - SEE PHOTO - - "ASA-737-4Q8-2009-08"), 25112; RETURNED 2008-01. 25107; RETURNED 2008-12. 25114; RETURNED 2009-03, LEASED TO AEROFLOT DON 2009-06. 28199; RETURNED 2009-12. 25106; RETURNED 2010-03; 25105; RETURNED 2010-04. (ILF) LEASED, 12F, 126Y.
1 737-4Q8F (JT8D-17 HK) (2348-25101, N764AS), CONVERTED 2007-12. FREIGHTER.
1 737-4S3 (CFM56-3C1) (1870-24795, /90 N786AS), EX-(INT), 12F, 126Y.
16 +9 OPTIONS 737-490 (CFM56-3C1) (2354-27091, /92 N767AS; 3050-28894, /98 N706AS; 3110-30161, /99 N713AS). 28894; HAS LOGOJET MARKINGS - SEE PHOTO. 12F, 126Y.
3 +2 ORDERS 737-490QC (CFM56-3C1) (2356-27082, N768AS, 2007-01; 3099-28896, /99 N709AS - SEE PHOTO, 2006-06), CONVERTED TO FREIGHTER BY (PEMCO). FREIGHTER.
2 737-7BK (CFM56-7B20) (1291-33011, /03 N645AS; 1306-33012, /03 N647AS), (TCI) LEASED 2003-04. 12F, 108Y.
15 737-790 (CFM56-7B20) (313-29751, /99 N607AS - - SEE PHOTO - "ASA-737-790WL-PORTLAND TIMBERS-2011-07;" 350-29752, /99 N609AS; 385-29753, /99 N611AS; 406-30162, /99 N612AS; 430-30163, /99 N613AS; 439-30343, /99 N614AS; 472-30344, /00 N615AS; 532-30542, /00 N617AS; 536-30543, /00 N618AS; 597-30164, /00 N619AS; 661-30165, /00 N622AS; 700-30166, /00 N623AS; 724-30778, /00 N624AS; 754-30792, /01 N625AS; 763-30793, /01 N626AS; 796-30794, /01 N627AS; 1273-30626, /03 N629AS; 1277-30795, /03 N644AS; 30799). 30626; RETURNED (ILF) 2007-02. 30793 & 30794; TO TEL AVIV FOR COMBI/CARGO CONVERSION 2017-02 & -03. WITH WINGLETS. 12F, 108Y.
0 737-790 (CFM56-7B20) (1382-30662, /03 N648AS; 1386-30663, /03 N649AS), (ILF) LEASED. 30662; RETURNED 2010-12. 30663; RETURNED 2011-01 & LEASED TO LUCKY AIR (LKY) AS (B-5272). 12F, 108Y.
0 737-790 (CFM56-7B20) (1291-33011, N645AS), RETURNED (TCI) 2007-04. 12F, 108Y.
1 737-8FH (CFM56-7B24) (1664-30824, /05 N549AS), WINGLETS. (RBS) AVIATION LEASED 2005-03. 16F; 138Y.
51 +8 OPTIONS 737-890 (CFM56-7B24) (1738-30020, /05 N548AS; 1860-34593, /05 N551AS; 1906-34594, /06 N553AS; 1882-34595, /05 N552AS; 2084-35091, N562AS, 11/06; 2099-35103, N564AS, 2006-11; 2545-35107, N593AS. (RBS) AEROSPACE LEASED 2008-03; 1980-35175, N556AS, 2006-06; 2010-35176, N557AS, 2006-08; 2031-35177, N558AS, 2006-08; 2026-35178, N559AS, 2006-10; 2072-35179, N560AS, 2006-10 - - SEE PHOTO - - "ASA-2013-07 - SPIRIT OF THE ISLANDS, - - SEE PHOTO - - "ASA-737-890 SALMON THIRTY SALMON -2012-06;" 2090-35180, N563AS, 2006-10; 2134-35181, N565AS, 2006-12; 2164-35182, N566AS, 2007-01; 2166-35183, N568AS, 2007-01; 21912-35184, N569AS, 2007-03 - SEE PHOTO; 2212-35185, N570AS, 2007-03; 2221-35186, N577AS, 2007-03; 2259-35188, N581AS, 2007-05; 2393-35189, N586AS, 2007-07; 2560-35191, N594AS, 2008-03; 2816-35194, N523AS, 2009-03; 2850-35195, N524AS, 2009-03; 2862-35196, N526AS, 2009-04; 2770-35197, N517AS, 2009-01; 2333-35681, N584AS, 2007-08; 2365-35682, N583AS, 2007-08; 2385-35683, N585AS, 2007-09; 2422-35684, N587AS, 2007-11; 2454-35685, N588AS, 2007-12; 2458-35686, N589AS, 2007-12; 2478-35687, N590AS, 2008-01; 2587-35688, N596AS, 2008-04 - - SEE PHOTO - - "ASA-2009-11-"FOLLOW APOLO;" 2601-35689, N597AS, 2008-05; 2627-35690, N506AS, 2008-06; 2659-35692, N525AS, 2009-04; 2785-35693, N518AS, 2009-01; 2913-35694, N527AS, 2009-05; 2930-35695, N528AS, 2009-06; 2812-36841, N520AS, 2009-02; 2800-36842, N519AS, 2009-02; 2751-39044, N516AS, 2008-12; 3229-35198, N529AS, 2010-04; 3257-36578, N530AS, 2010-04; 3287-35199, N531AS, 2010-05; 36346, N532AS, 2010-06; 3511-35201, N533AS, 2011-01; 3523-35202, N534AS, 2011-01; 35203, N536AS, 2012-01; 3913-35204, N537AS, 2012-02; N570AS "ADVENTURE OF DISNEYLAND RESORT" 2013-11 - - SEE PHOTO - "ASA-737-8AS - 2013-11"), WINGLETS. 16F, 141Y.
18 +36/7 ORDERS 737-990 (CFM56-7B24) (774-30013, /01 N305AS; 802-30014, /01 N306AS; 838-30015, /01 N307AS; 683-30016, /00 N303AS; 596-30017, /00 N302AS; 1326-30018, /03 N318AS; 1218-30019, /02 N315AS; 1454-30021, /04 N323AS; 1296-30856, /03 N317AS; 902-30857, /01 N309AS; 1344-33679, /03 N319AS; 1380-33680, /03 N320AS; 44109, N491AS, 2015-11), (LAUNCH CUSTOMER), WITH WINGLETS. 16F, 156Y.
11 +35 ORDERS 737-990ER (CFM56-7B24) (36348, N253AK, 2016-08; 36349, N260AK, 2016-08; N419AS SEEN AT SEATAC 2017-08; N453AS, "ASA-737-900ER - SEAHAWKS -2015-01-A/B/C/D;" 36355, N457AS, 2014-03; 36365, N269AK, 2017-02; 41702, N469AS, 2014-08; 44105, N478AS, 2015-07; 60576, N479AS, 2015-07; 60581, N267AK, 2017-01; 61554, N273AK, 2017-05), WITH WINGLETS. 16F, 165Y.
20 ORDERS 737 MAX 8 (LEAP-1B):
17 ORDERS 737 MAX 9 (LEAP-1B):
0 MD-82 (JT8D-217A) (2 TO (TWA), 2 TO (CAL), 48079 RETURNED (PSS), LEASED TO (AMX) 2000-04, 48080 SOLD 2001-02, 49111 LEASED. 49234 WFU. 49111; 49386; 49387; WFU AT MOJAVE 2003-09. 49103 RETURNED 2004-05. 49387 RETURNED (DCY) LEASED TO (1TA) 2005-06. 49104; TO (BEL) 2007-07. 12F, 128Y.
0 MD-83 (JT8D-219) (2078-53450, /94 N974AS; 2139-53471, /96 N979AS) (49233 RTND 2001-03), 49364 RETURNED 2004-08. 49236; RETURNED & SOLD TO MID-AMERICAN AEROSPACE 2006-12. 49235; RETURNED 2007-01, LEASED TO (AEX) 2007-07. 20 SOLD & LEASED BACK SHORT TERM 2007-05. 53023; WFU AT VICTORVILLE 2007-09. 49232; 53022; 53078; 53079; 53449; 53450; 53452; SOLD TO NORTH SHORE AIRCRAFT 2007-12, WET-LEASED TO (USV). 53020; 53472; BOTH 2007-12; & 53021; 53471; 53472; 53473; 2008-02; 53018; 2008-03; 53063; 53076; WFU AT VICTORVILLE 2008-04. 53018; 53020; TO (DAV) 2008-05. 53074; WFU AT VICTORVILLE 2008-05. 53016; TO DANA AIR 2009-05. 49232 TO (PLA) 2009-11. 53074; & 53075; PARTED OUT 2010-04. 12F, 128Y.
52 BOMBARDIER DASH 8-Q400, 15 WILL RETIRE IN 2018 WHEN LEASES EXPIRE. 76Y.
8 + 5 ORDERS EMBRAER E170-200LR (657, N624QX; 658, N625QX; 0669, N626QX), EX-(PR-EZR, PR-EZS & PR-EBU, 2017-05/06, HORIZON AIR OPERATIONS, 12F, 16 PY, 48Y.
1 +29/33 ORDERS EMBRAER E175 LR (N182SY - SEE PHOTO AT SEA TAC BY "JET CITY SHUTTER GEEK (ALAN PIERCE) 2018-03), FOR HORIZON AIR OPERATIONS, 12F, 16 PY, 48Y:
Click below for photos:
ASA - 1 - BRAD TILDEN - 2013-12
ASA -4 - JOE SPRAGUE - 2015-02
ASA-3-Scott Minicucci 2018-02.jpg
BRAD TILDEN, CHAIRMAN (2013-12), & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER (CEO) ALASKA AIR GROUP (AAG) (2012-05), & PRESIDENT ALASKA AIRLINES (ASA) (2008-12), BECAME THE HEAD OF THE COMBINED ALASKA AIRLINES/VIRGIN USA/ HORIZON AIR GROUP (2016-12).
DAVE CAMPBELL, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER (CEO), SUBSIDIARY HORIZON AIR. EX-(JBL) 2014-11. RESIGNED (2018-01).
Dave announced December 18, 2017 that he was stepping down after a troubled year at Horizon.
GARY BECK, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER (CEO), SUBSIDIARY HORIZON AIR (2018-01).
Gary is a former Alaska Air (ASA) executive who came out of retirement. Gary replaced Dave Campbell, who announced his resignation in December after a troubled year at Horizon.
Low pilot (FC) pay had created a pilot (FC) shortage so severe that Horizon had to cancel hundreds of flights. Its flight schedule was cut from an average of 360x-daily a year ago to 295x-daily last month.
Recruiting and training about 400 new pilots (FC) this year will have to be a priority for the new leadership. They’ll also oversee the resumption of deliveries of Embraer E175 regional jets for Horizon, scheduled for March.
Beck was VP Flight Operations at (ASA) from 2008 until June 2015. Responsible for ensuring a safe, reliable flight operation, he oversaw 1,600 pilots (FC). Beck also developed (ASA)’s "Greener Skies" initiative (a satellite-based navigation program to make takeoffs and landings at Sea-Tac more fuel-efficient and quieter) and introduced new technology such as pilot (FC) iPads and a paperless flight deck.
Last year, in retirement, he worked as consultant to (ASA) on the project to get a single flight certificate for (ASA) with (VUS), following the acquisition of (VUS).
Brad Tilden, (CEO) of the Alaska Air Group, called Beck “a seasoned leader with a tremendous amount of fire in his belly. “I believe our Horizon Air colleagues will really enjoy working with him as he leads Horizon into the next era,” he said.
MS CONSTANCE VON MUEHLEN, CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER (COO) (2018-01).
Constance was an (ASA) executive. She was a former Black Hawk helicopter pilot for the Army, was most recently Managing Director Airframe, Engine & Component Maintenance Repair & Overhaul at Alaska. Last year, she led the integration of Virgin America (VUS)’ and (ASA)’s Maintenance Operations.
SCOTT MINICUCCI, PRESIDENT & CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER (COO), EX-(CDI)/(ACN) (2008-12), AND (CEO) VIRGIN AMERICA (USA) (2016-12).
PETER HUNT, PRESIDENT VIRGIN AMERICA (2016-12).
Peter was the Chief Financial Officer of Virgin America (VUS). He reports to Ben Minicucci
HERMAN WACKER, EXECUTIVE VP & GENERAL COUNSEL (2014-10).
When Keith Loveless, Executive VP & Current General Counsel retired in 2014-10, Herman (who was previously VP Legal) assumed the role of Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer (2014-05).
BRANDON PEDERSEN, EXECUTIVE VP FINANCE & CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER (CFO) (2014-05).
MS HANNAH WONG, 737 PROGRAM CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER (CFO).
ANDREW HARRISON, EXECUTIVE VP & CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER (CCO) (2015-02).
GLENN JOHNSON, PRESIDENT & (CEO) HORIZON AIR (2010-06).
MS CONSTANCE VON MUEHLEN, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER (COO) HORIZON AIR.
Constance was previously Managing Director Airframe Engine & Component Maintenance Repair & Overhaul for Alaska Airlines (ASA) from 2013-01.
MICHAEL COHEN, SENIOR VP MAINTENANCE & ENGINEERING (2000-08), (Mickey.Cohen@AlaskaAir.com).
ROBERT REEDER, SENIOR VP INFORMATION & COMMUNICATION SERVICES (2000-09).
WILLIAM MACKAY, SENIOR VP ALASKA REGION.
JOE SPRAGUE, SENIOR VP COMMUNICATIONS & EXTERNAL RELATIONS (2014-05).
CAPTAIN ROBERT SPERO, SYSTEM CHIEF PILOT (2006-02).
Captain Robert Spero is responsible for the safe operation of Alaska (ASA) flights, including leading the airline's 1,500 line pilots (FC) and ensuring flight operations comply with Federal Air Regulations (FAR)'s and company policies. He also works with other airline divisions to coordinate policies and procedures that affect airplane operations. Spero succeeds Captain Paul Majer, who has returned to line flying for Alaska (ASA) as an MD-80 captain.
JOHN HORNEBROOK, CHIEF PILOT.
CAPTAIN MIKE SWANIGAN, RETIRED AT 65 YEARS OLD (2016-04).
Famous Alaska Airlines pilot is a ‘legend’ in the Pacific NW by Josh Kerns, (KIRO) Radio Reporter, April 22, 2016.
Few people find their life’s calling in 1st grade. But Mike Swanigan has never been like most people. “One of my classmates brought a model of a Boeing 707. It was an American Airlines (AAL) 707. And I took 1 look at that airliner and I knew what I wanted to do.”
That was virtually unheard of for an African-American in the 50s and 60s, but that was news to him. “I didn’t know. I didn’t understand the history of it,” he said of the unwritten but overt discrimination against black pilots (FC) at the time. “My parents were the type of people who encouraged us just to chase our dreams, and they never talked about any barriers to entry.”
So Swanigan set out to learn to fly. But his training began inauspiciously in a little single-engine Cessna in Alaska. “I did not do well. I had a very intimidating instructor. He was kind of a yeller and a screamer. And when we finished that 10 hours, he just told me ‘I don’t think you have what it takes to be a pilot (FC),’” he said. That guy couldn’t have been more wrong.
Swanigan joined the Alaska Air National Guard in the 70s, and after logging 1,000 hours of flight time piloting C-130 cargo planes, he went knocking on a little local airline’s door. “My timing couldn’t have been better, because the airline just expanded at a rapid rate and continues to do so today. Now we fly all over the place,” Swanigan said.
As Alaska Airlines (ASA) soared, so did Swanigan’s career. From the 727 to the 737, Swanigan became 1 of (ASA)’s top fliers and instructors, training and certifying his fellow pilots (FC). He eventually rose to become (ASA)’s Chief Pilot, then VP Flight Operations and Director of Operations.
Swanigan helped pioneer a number of procedures and technologies, most notably (ASA)’s groundbreaking, state-of-the-art computerized navigation system, now used by all major airlines. But his love of flying remained foremost, so he returned to full-time flying in 2000 and has remained in the pilot (FC) seat ever since.
John Hornebrook used to work for Swanigan. Now he’s (ASA)’s Chief Pilot and Swanigan’s boss. “Swani’s a legend around here. Everyone knows him, everyone loves him. He’s had all the cool jobs here,” Hornebrook said.
Swanigan has become somewhat of a star beyond the airline as well, thanks to his unique relationship with a certain Seahawk he first met at a corporate event. “Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawk's quarterback saw my hat and coat there and thought it would be kind of cool to wear it. So he put it on, came out with my hat and coat on, and I have to say it fit him perfectly and I think that’s what started the whole thing. It was a great gag. It caught me off guard,” he said.
And a modern day Abbott & Costello of sorts was born. Swanigan and quarterback Russell Wilson have starred in a number of humorous (ASA) advertising commercials, making Swanigan an unwitting celebrity of sorts.
He’s played the drums, sat in an ice bath next to Wilson, and carved a modern airline seat out of wood, always one-upping the Seahawks star. “I get stopped all the time. I’ve taken probably 500 selfies with passengers. Sometimes it’s a bit of a struggle to make it to my flight on time.”
And he and the crew (FC) have been known to play with passengers a bit as well. “One of the passengers in 1st class grabbed a flight attendant (CA) and said, ‘is that the guy from the commercials?’ And she looked at him and said, ‘yes it is. He’s not a pilot (FC). I don’t know what he’s doing up there, he’s an actor,’” Swanigan laughed.
But somewhat sadly, Swanigan is stepping out of the spotlight. Next week he hits the mandatory 65-year-old retirement age, so Sunday he’ll pilot his final flight (a hop to Tucson, Arizona, that will be filled with family and friends). “I’ll probably shed a few tears. Bittersweet is going to be the word. But I’m looking forward to the next stage in my life and new adventures. Passengers are saying ‘what are you going to do when you retire?’ And I say ‘well, I’m not going to the airport,’” he said with his wry smile.
But he’s not about to hang up his wings. Swanigan plans to keep flying gliders (one of his 1st loves). “One thing I don’t have to worry about is filling it up with gas,” he said.
And even though he’s soaring off into the sunset, Hornebrook says Swanigan’s legacy is lasting. “He’ll never be forgotten. He taught us all to be always be excellent to each other. He’ll definitely be missed.”
CAPTAIN OSCAR ZELA, CHIEF TECHNICAL PILOT.
GREG MAYS, VP LABOR RELATIONS (2016-01).
Greg is a 20-year airline Maintenance & Operations veteran. In his latest role, Greg will be responsible for all labor matters at (ASA) and lead the collective bargaining process for (ASA). He officially transitioned to the position on January 15, 2016. Previously, Greg served as (ASA)’s VP Maintenance & Engineering.
KURT KINDER, VP MAINTENANCE & ENGINEERING (2016-01).
TOM KEMP, VP FLIGHT OPERATIONS
Tom is former (ASA) Director of Operations & Managing Director of Standards, Fleet & Operation Control. He is a 31 year (ASA) veteran with >16,000 hours of flight time.
MARK ELIASEN, VP FINANCE & TREASURER, ALASKA AIR GROUP, EX-HORIZON AIR (2012-03).
THOMAS NUNN, VP SAFETY, (2008-11).
Thomas Nunn comes from Lynx Aviation (FRO), where he was President & (COO).
JEFF BUTLER, VP CUSTOMER SERVICE.
EDWARD WHITE, VP CUSTOMER SERVICE.
MS SHANNON ALBERTS, CORPORATE SECRETARY (2014-02).
MS TAMMY YOUNG, VP HUMAN RESOURCES (HR) ALASKA AIR GROUP (2012-10).
KELLEY DOBBS, VP HUMAN RESOURCES & LABOR RELATIONS (2007-07).
JEFF BUTLER, VP STATION OPERATIONS (2007-07).
STEVE JARVIS, VP SALES & CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE (2005-11).
DAVID KUHL, VP INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (IT) SERVICES (2015-06).
David has >30 years of experience in the field of (IT), most recently as VP Corporate (IT) at Expedia. Prior to his 6 years at Expedia, Kuhl led (IT) teams at Microsoft and (AT&T) Wireless/Cingular Wireless, and has worked at Boeing (TBC), General Dynamics, and Arizona State University.
MS KRIS KUTCHERA, VP INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (IT) & STRATEGY MANAGEMENT (2008-04).
Kris Kutchera leads the overall vision for the use of technology to support e-commerce, maintenance & engineering, ground & flight operations, and the airline's mileage plan.
VERESH SITA, VP CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER (CIO) (2014-07).
MS SANGITA WOERNER, VP MARKETING (2015-01).
Sangita oversees Alaska Airlines (ASA)’s strategic marketing, advertising and branding programs. She most recently served as VP Global Coffee Brand Management at the Starbucks Coffee Company.
SHANE TACKETT, VP REVENUE MANAGEMENT (2015-02).
JOHN KIRBY, VP CAPACITY PLANNING.
JEFF JONES, STAFF VP TECHNICAL SUPPORT (2002-08) (Jeff.Jones@AlaskaAir.com).
JEFF BUTLER, STAFF VP STATION OPERATIONS (2007-04).
LAVANYA SAREEN, MANAGING DIRECTOR INVESTOR RELATIONS, ALASKA AIR GROUP (2014-07).
MARC BOCCHI, MANAGING DIRECTOR SALES & COMMUNITY MARKETING (2011-02).
MATT YERBIC, MANAGING DIRECTOR CARGO (2004-01).
BOB BERNICCHI, MANAGING DIRECTOR MAINTENANCE ENGINEERING, EX-(UAL) (2006-11).
Bob Bernicchi has been Director of MD-80 & 737-200 Fleet Engineering, since joining the airline in 2005. He previously spent 21 years at United Airlines (UAL), where he served as Chief Engineer of Narrow Body Aircraft.
BRYAN SHILLITO, MANAGING DIRECTOR SAFETY PROGRAMS (2014-11).
Bryan will lead Alaska Airline (ASA)’s cross-organizational safety programs and ensure a robust safety management system.
JOHN LADNER, MANAGING DIRECTOR FLEET STANDARDS & OPERATIONAL CONTROL (2015-09).
John is a 26-year Alaska Airlines (ASA) veteran who previously held this position 2010 - 2011. He replaced Tom Kemp, who was promoted to VP Flight Operations.
WAYNE NEWTON, MANAGING DIRECTOR SEATTLE STATION (2015-09).
Wayne, a 25-year employee of Alaska Airlines (ASA) in his new assignment, oversee the day-to-day operations of (ASA)'s largest hub in Seattle. He replaces a 26-year old (ASA) veteran, John Ladner who was also recently appointed Managing Director Fleet Standards & Operational Control.
NAVIN MITHEL, MANAGING DIRECTOR CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT (2008-08).
BRET BURNSIDE, MANAGING DIRECTOR BASE MAINTENANCE (2001-03).
GREG MAYS, MANAGING DIRECTOR AIRFRAME ENGINE & COMPONENT (MRO) EX-(DAL) (2011-12).
SCOTT RIDGE, MANAGING DIRECTOR TECHNICAL OPERATIONS & SUPPORT, (2004-05).
RYAN BUTZ, MANAGING DIRECTOR LOYALTY (2015-10).
Ryan oversees (ASA)'s mileage plan, credit card program & customer communications.
MS CAROLINE BOREN, MANAGING DIRECTOR LOYALTY MARKETING & CUSTOMER ADVOCACY (2010-12).
GREG LATIMER, MANAGING DIRECTOR BRAND & PRODUCT MARKETING (2005-11).
JOHN MCLEOD, MANAGING DIRECTOR PLANNING & ALLIANCES.
MS ANGELA URSINO, MANAGING DIRECTOR TALENT STRATEGY & ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT (2007-06).
ARNIE STAPNES, MANAGING DIRECTOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (IT) CUSTOMER SERVICE & INFRASTRUCTURE (2007-06).
JAY GUPTA, MANAGING DIRECTOR INFRASTRUCTURE & MODERN PLATFORMS, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (IT) SERVICES DIVISION (2015-02).
Jay is responsible for strategy, implementation and operations for (ASA)'s data centers, airports, call centers and mobile employees. Jay is former Senior Director Infrastructure with Thomson Reuters. Prior to that, he served as Information Technology (IT) Director for Oracle, leading its global Cloud Services initiatives.
TROY KASER, MANAGING DIRECTOR E-COMMERCE (2016-06).
Troy joined (ASA) in 2013 as Managing Director (ITS) Applications.
SHAUNTA HYDE, MANAGING DIRECTOR COMMUNITY RELATIONS (2014-07).
MS MEGAN LAWRENCE, MANAGING DIRECTOR GOVERNMENT RELATIONS (2007-08).
WAYNE NEWTON, MANAGING DIRECTOR STATION OPERATIONS (2008-04).
TODD SPROUL, MANAGING DIRECTOR OPERATIONS SUPPORT (2008-04).
MS PEGGY WILLINGHAM, MANAGING DIRECTOR STRATEGY MANAGEMENT (2008-04).
LANE KEMPER, MANAGING DIRECTOR CUSTOMER SERVICE/CALL CENTERS (2008-07).
CHRIS BERRY, MANAGING DIRECTOR (IR) (2010-12).
GEORGE NEWMAN, MANAGING DIRECTOR ACCOUNTING & CONTROLLER (2010-12).
PAUL MCELROY, MANAGING DIRECTOR STRATEGIC & CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS
CURTIS KOPF, MANAGING DIRECTOR alaskaair.com & CUSTOMER INNOVATION (2010-12).
MATT SHELBY, MANAGING DIRECTOR CORPORATE REAL ESTATE (2016-03).
Matt is responsible for (ASA)’s airport real estate activities, specifically in Seattle. Matt came to (ASA) with a 20-year background in aviation and law. He previously was Director, Airport Affairs for United Airlines (UAL) in Chicago. He also worked in global real estate at Continental Airlines (CAL) in Houston.
MS HALLE HUTCHINSON, MANAGING DIRECTOR BRAND & MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS, EX-EXPEDIA (2012-05).
RON CALVIN, MANAGING DIRECTOR IN-FLIGHT OPERATIONS (2012-12).
Ron is responsible for Alaska Air (ASA)'s flight attendant (CA) bases in Anchorage, Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle. Ron is a former Director of Customer Service for (ASA)'s Eastern region based in Washington DC. Ron has worked for (ASA) for >26 years.
BENNIE JOHNSON, MANAGING DIRECTOR FLIGHT CREW MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS (2013-09).
SUNAE PARK, MANAGING DIRECTOR CUSTOMER RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT (2013-09).
MS SANDY STELLING, MANAGING DIRECTOR CUSTOMER RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT (2013-09).
MS LAURA FOWLER, MANAGING DIRECTOR RECRUITING & DIVERSITY (2013-12).
CHARLES BREER, MANAGING DIRECTOR ALLIANCES, EX-(AAL)/(AMW)/(USA) (2015-02).
Charles' new position was created to lead (ASA)’s 14 airline alliance partnerships. He is a former Managing Director Alliances & Partnerships for US Airways (AMW)/(USA) and American Airlines (AAL).
DEREK CHANG, MANAGING DIRECTOR BRAND EXPERIENCE (2015-06).
Derek heads (ASA)’s branding efforts at its airports, in its board rooms and on board its airplanes.
MS MOLLY GABEL, MANAGING DIRECTOR ASSOCIATE GENERAL COUNSEL, LABOR & EMPLOYMENT (2016-06).
Molly has worked for (ASA) as a Senior Attorney since 2013.
JUSTIN NEFF, MANAGING DIRECTOR SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT (2016-06).
Justin joined (ASA) in 2014 from Black & Veatch.
KYLE LEVINE, GENERAL COUNSEL, ASSISTANT CORPORATE SECRETARY & MANAGING DIRECTOR LEGAL (2014-02).
KIERON WHITNEY, DIRECTOR IN-FLIGHT SERVICES.
ART FITZPATRICK, REGIONAL DIRECTOR LINE MAINTENANCE (SFO) (2001-02).
SCOTT PATTERSON, DIRECTOR ENGINEERING, EX-(CAL) (200-12).
VINCE HASSON, DIRECTOR QUALITY CONTROL (QC) (2001-03) (Vince.Hasson@AlaskaAir.com).
BOB DIXSON, DIRECTOR MAINTENANCE PLANNING & PRODUCTION CONTROL.
WRIGHT MCCARTNEY, DIRECTOR RELIABILITY & MAINTENANCE PROGRAMS.
ADAM DROUHARD, DIRECTOR CARGO REVENUE, PLANNING & POSTAL AFFAIRS.
DAVID KEITH, DIRECTOR SEATTLE LINE MAINTENANCE, EX-(USA) (2001-02).
MS ALLYSON FREYRE, DIRECTOR QUALITY ASSURANCE (QA) & (FAA) LIAISON (2001-06).
GLENN KOSAKA, DIRECTOR TECHNICAL TRAINING.
SAM SPERRY, DIRECTOR CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS (2004-05).
MS SARAH DALTON, DIRECTOR AEROSPACE & TECHNOLOGY.
MS GINNY CARRUTHERS, DIRECTOR GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS (2007-12).
JEFF ANDERSON, DIRECTOR AIRPORT TECHNOLOGY.
MS CAROL SIM, DIRECTOR ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS.
MS KELLI ?, DIRECTOR CONTENT MERCHANDISING & SEGMENTATION.
JOE SAMUDOVSKY, SALES DIRECTOR ALASKA AIR CARGO (2008-04).
MS WENDY JONES, CHIEF RISK, COMPLIANCE & ETHICS OFFICER (2010-12).
JEFF ETHERINGTON, GENERAL MANAGER SALES & COMMUNITY MARKETING.
MARTY KNOX, SENIOR MANAGER WORKSHOPS.
DANIEL CHUN, REGIONAL MANAGER SALES & COMMUNITY MARKETING HAWAII (2011-09).
JIM MCCLENDON, MANAGER TECHNICAL SERVICES (2000-12).
CHRIS NICOSIA, MANAGER LINE MAINTENANCE PLANNING.
HANK TALON, MANAGER TECHNICAL SERVICES PROPULSION (2000-12).
LEE CANTRELL, MANAGER MAINTENANCE PROGRAM & TECHNICAL PUBLICATIONS.
JACK EVANS, MANAGER EXTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS (email@example.com).
MS LAURA DOYON, MANAGER IN-FLIGHT COMMUNICATION.
CHRIS COLOM, SENIOR TECHNICAL SUPPLIES MANAGER.
PAUL MILLER, LINE MAINTENANCE SUPERVISOR.
MOUSSA AZIZEH, HANGAR SUPERVISOR.
ROGER MARLATT, SUPERVISOR TECHNICAL PUBLICATIONS.