Category Archives: Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines pledges to increase its African American female pilots by 2025

Alaska Airlines made this announcement on its blog:

Today’s flight deck is full of incredible professionals, but also lacking diversity. African American female pilots make up about one half of 1 percent of all professional pilots across the industry. At Alaska, we’re all about people and reflecting those we serve, but this statistic is a reminder of how far we have to go.

This morning, we signed a new pledge with Sisters of the Skies, a nonprofit committed to pilot diversity. We aim to increase our female African American pilots over the next six years across Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, and support the path to expose and inspire more young women to get there.

Above Photo (all photos by Alaska Airlines): From left: Alaska Airlines First Officer Kim Ford, Alaska Airlines Captain Tara Wright, Alaska Airlines Senior Diversity & Inclusion Specialist Theressa Irigon-Rachetto, Sisters of the Skies President & United Airlines Captain Theresa Claiborne, Alaska Airlines First Officer Mallory Cave

“When we foster an inclusive environment that recognizes, respects, and visibly reflects all people, it makes us stronger,” said Andy Schneider, Alaska Airlines vice president of people. “Quite simply, creating an airline people love is not possible unless we walk the talk around diversity and inclusion.”

Today, we only have four African American female pilots at Alaska and Horizon combined, which is about 1 percent. It begs the question: why so few?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a pool of qualified African American women ready to be hired. And creating this pool takes time.

Tara Wright, Alaska Airlines captain and Sisters of the Skies director of development, volunteers her time to try to inspire more women of color to pursue aviation careers.

“I met a high school senior recently who said she couldn’t be a pilot because her vision wasn’t good,” she recalled. “I told her, ‘Well, you’ve got some outdated information.’ We need more support mechanisms in place, so young girls of color see aviation as a viable career path.”

Wright helped shed light on the issue, when she and her co-pilot were the first all-female, African American pilot team in Alaska Airlines history on Mother’s Day last year.

“If we quadruple the number of African American female pilots at Alaska, we’ll be leading the charge. That would be a huge achievement when you consider where we are as an industry,” she continued.

With a commercial pilot shortage, it’s imperative we cultivate talent in our communities. And regardless of a shortage, it is important to build a workforce of incredible opportunity that is accessible to all.

Alaska Airlines Captain Will Mcquillen, Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) Master Executive Council chairman, agrees.

“Amid a commercial pilot shortage, it is incumbent upon Alaska Airlines’ success to ensure that they are hiring the strongest candidates,” he said. “Diversity is an important element of that goal and we are pleased to see this partnership with Sisters of the Skies.”

The Sisters of the Skies approach to promoting pilot diversity – supporting current pilots through mentorship and encouragement, and increasing the number of future pilots with models and mentors, exposure and training – is consistent with how Alaska approaches creating opportunity.

Like anything, it is valuable to have a goal! We will honor our pledge by:

  • Having support mechanisms in place to assist in the retention and promotion of existing African American female pilots currently working on mainline aircraft in either pilot seat.
  • Enhancing processes and programs that provide education, mentorship, training and scholarships to developing African American female pilots from non-certificated pilots to Airline Transport Pilot (ATP)-certificated pilots through programs such as Solo Flight Academy and Girls Rock Wings.
  • Connecting with kids to generate excitement in aviation and models in our own pilots, through efforts like Alaska Airlines Aviation Day, the Michael P. Anderson program and Amelia’s Club.

Kim Ford, Alaska Airlines first officer and Sisters of the Skies member, believes these are the right steps to be taking – and hopes our work doesn’t stop there.

“I’m so proud that Alaska Airlines is dedicated to supporting aerospace education, inspiring youth to achieve their dreams, and to increasing diversity at Alaska and Horizon,” she said. “It is also important to study the barriers to women of color getting to the flight deck and pathways to success in their careers.”

If we’re able to achieve our goal, Captain Scott Day, who oversees our pilot group, believes the benefits will be far-reaching.

“Having pilots with different backgrounds and experiences is extremely beneficial and specifically adds to the overall health of our company,” he said. “I trained to be a pilot in Bethel, Alaska, and I know it’s not easy. I remain inspired by kids from native communities who get excited about aviation and pursue the rigorous training to become commercial pilots, and am honored by the opportunity to continue advancing diversity in our profession with the Sisters of the Skies pledge.”

As a community member, not just a pilot, Ford is proud of where we’re headed and optimistic about the future.

“As a member of the community, when I see a company that values diversity, that’s a company that I want to support,” Ford said. “As an employee, that’s a workplace and a flight deck where I am proud to be!”

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Alaska to introduce the new MAX 9 on July 15

Alaska Airlines is planning to introduce its new Boeing 737-9 MAX 9 on two routes in July, 2019.

According to Airline Route, the carrier will introduce the MAX 9 from the Seattle/Tacoma hub to both Los Angeles and San Jose, CA on July 15, 2019.

The new type will also be introduced a month later on the Seattle/Tacoma – San Diego route on August 15, 2019.

As previously reported, Alaska Airlines converted 15 Boeing 737-8 MAX 8s on order to the larger 737-9 MAX 9. This brings its MAX 9 total on order to 32.

Alaska initially ordered  20 737 MAX 8s, 17 737 MAX 9s and 13 Next-Generation 737-900ERs.

Image: Boeing.

Major snowstorm to impact Sea-Tac Airport

Alaska Airlines has made this announcement about its Seattle/Tacoma hub:

For the second time this week, a major snowstorm is taking aim on the Pacific Northwest. The National Weather Service says the Seattle area could see between 4 to 6 inches of new snow – potentially more – starting Friday afternoon into Saturday morning. The forecast also calls for snow in Portland, though not as much.

To prepare for the difficult weather conditions and impacts at Sea-Tac Airport, we’re strategically pre-cancelling flights that were scheduled to arrive or depart at Sea-Tac starting this afternoon. There’s the potential for additional travel disruptions based on the severity of storm.

Our guests are being notified if their flight is canceled. We’re also offering a flexible travel policy for those who would like to change their flights, which they can do on their own on our website. They’re also encouraged to check alaskaair.com or our mobile app before heading to the airport to verify the status of their flight.

The pre-cancellation of flights eases congestion at the airport, and allows all airlines to match the reduced number of aircraft allowed to land and depart at Sea-Tac. With icy conditions and decreased visibility, it takes longer for aircraft to move around at the airport, much like driving on the interstate during similar conditions.

With safety always top of mind, operations are also intentionally slowed down. Plus, ground delay programs are expected to be implemented by Air Traffic Control, which requires more spacing between aircraft during low visibility.

Whenever there’s any snowfall on our aircraft, we begin deicing procedures as part of our safety protocol. That takes time to do. We have a full fleet of trucks, equipment and personnel at Sea-Tac ready to do that work, along with a well-stocked amount of glycol deicing solution.

Just getting to Sea-Tac could once again be a big problem during this snowstorm. That’s what happened Monday. Icy, snow-packed roads across the greater Seattle area made commuting treacherous for passengers, our employees and other airport workers. If making the trip to the airport, please drive safely and allow more time to get there.

Marvel Studios’ first female-lead Super Hero Captain Marvel takes to the skies with Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines today made this announcement:

Ahead of the highly-anticipated release of Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel on March 8, International Women’s Day, Alaska Airlines unveiled a special-edition plane today, featuring Marvel Studios’ first female Super Hero lead. The Captain Marvel-themed plane was debuted today (February 5, 2019) at Sea-Tac International Airport at a gate celebration for guests flying to Orange County, California.

“This new plane featuring Captain Marvel will delight guests of all ages,” said Natalie Bowman, Alaska Airlines’ managing director of marketing and advertising. “We’re excited to showcase a pilot who’s risen to Super Hero status––an image that embodies strength and confidence and inspires future aviators across our expansive network to go further.”

Decked out in a stunning red and navy suit, Captain Marvel is taking flight and commands the attention she deserves as a female pilot who acquired special powers to fight for the greater good. Guests boarding the Captain Marvel-themed plane will see a film logo when they board. An image of a cat named Goose from the film, will surprise guests seated over the wings.

“Our collaboration with Alaska Airlines is taking our fans ‘Higher, Further, Faster’ with this amazing opportunity to fly with our fearless Super Hero and pilot, Captain Marvel,” said Mindy Hamilton, SVP of Global Partnerships for Marvel. “We are so excited that our fans will be accompanied by Carol Danvers on their next adventure.”

The Captain Marvel-themed Boeing 737-800, tail number N531AS, begins flying throughout Alaska’s route network today. With a cruising speed of 530 mph and sporting a larger-than-life image of the movie’s namesake Captain Marvel, the plane will visit fans throughout the country via cross-country routes and flights to Hawaii.

Marvel Studios fans can follow Alaska Airlines on Twitter and on Facebook to learn about the promotions related to the new film. From Feb. 6-9, Alaska Airlines social fans and followers can enter for a chance to win one pair of tickets to the premiere of Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel, including roundtrip airfare and hotel accommodations for two in Los Angeles. Terms and conditions are available online.

About Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel
Set in the 1990s, Marvel Studios’ “Captain Marvel” is an all-new adventure from a previously unseen period in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that follows the journey of Carol Danvers as she becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes. While a galactic war between two alien races reaches Earth, Danvers finds herself and a small cadre of allies at the center of the maelstrom.

The film stars Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Rune Temte, Algenis Perez Soto, Mckenna Grace, with Annette Bening, with Clark Gregg, and Jude Law.

Marvel Studios’ “Captain Marvel” is produced by Kevin Feige and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Jonathan Schwartz, Patricia Whitcher and Stan Lee are the executive producers. The story is by Nicole Perlman & Meg LeFauve and Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck & Geneva Robertson-Dworet, and the screenplay is by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck & Geneva Robertson-Dworet. “Captain Marvel” opens on March 8, 2019 in U.S. theaters.

Alaska CEO Brad Tilden: My week in Alaska job shadowing frontline employees

From the Alaska Airlines blog. Written by Brad Tilden, CEO.

This trip was the first of many for our leaders at Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air for the coming year. Called “Leader Immersion,” our managing directors and up will spend a week in the operation. It’s kind of an “Undercover Boss,” without the disguise, as one of our employees said.

The Great Land is beautiful, even in January. The low temperatures create a beautiful frost on the trees and there is something really wonderful and peaceful about the mornings here, (where it is currently staying dark until around 10 a.m.). I was in Anchorage, Alaska for a week in early January on the suggestion of one of our employees, who challenged me to job shadow – walking in our frontline employees’ shoes. It sounded like a good idea to me.

Anchorage

My week started with my flight from Seattle to Anchorage. The Seattle-based flight crew – Shannon Novito, Angela Bolton, Kris McCloskey and Kimberly Sagmoen (pictured above) – were awesome. I had a great time visiting with them, interacting with our guests onboard, and serving a beverage or two. I sat on the flight deck for the last 40 minutes of the flight and was impressed with the expert airmanship of Captain John Lien and First Officer Levi Breidenbach who navigated us into Anchorage amidst a low blanket of fog.

brad anchorage CEO Brad Tilden: My week in Alaska job shadowing frontline employees

I spent the next several hours in the Anchorage airport learning from Kiana Baluyut, a designated trainer customer service agent. Kiana was extremely patient with me, even when she had to explain the same entries and transactions many times. She taught me how to check-in, scan and tag bags, and deal with special service requests. It was wonderful getting to meet so many of our guests while at the ticket counter.

Dutch Harbor

The next day, I was off to Dutch Harbor on PenAir, one of our commuter partners. Alaska Airlines provides scheduled service to 20 cities in the state of Alaska, the majority of which have populations of under 10,000 people. And we provide jet service in many cases, several times a day! This is something that truly makes us unique as an airline.

Ramp & cargo operations

file1 20 r CEO Brad Tilden: My week in Alaska job shadowing frontline employees

When I got back to Anchorage, I headed over to the ramp operations center. This important team schedules airport operations, such as baggage and cargo connections and manages the departure coordination process. Niki McDade is a fantastic departure coordinator. Here, she helped me work Flight 155 from Anchorage to Nome and Kotzebue.

brad cargo 1 r CEO Brad Tilden: My week in Alaska job shadowing frontline employees

I spent the bulk of Wednesday in our Anchorage cargo operation, an experience I can only describe as humbling. There was an amazing sense of teamwork among our folks there, and a clear focus on our customers who live in small villages in the state of Alaska. Here I am with my coach for the day: Jacob Scanlan.

Maintenance & Engineering

attach r CEO Brad Tilden: My week in Alaska job shadowing frontline employees

Later that night, I began the night shift with our Maintenance & Engineering team, and with our Stores team (who provide all the aircraft parts). It is amazing to see maintenance technicians start their shift. There isn’t a lot of talking, but hangar doors start opening, bells are going off, tugs are getting hooked up to airplanes. It’s great teamwork and a finely tuned operation. I was able to observe Sig Sigurdson, Tom Genziano and Marc Sheldon conducting a borescope inspection on one of our aircraft engines.

brad ramp r CEO Brad Tilden: My week in Alaska job shadowing frontline employees

Thursday, I joined our ramp team. In the photo above, I am sending Flight 80 off with Jose Inga, Bill Trivett, Mike Freeman, Josephine Calderra, Eric Henry and Todd Seitz. Below, Josephine and I loading bags in the aircraft belly. I want to thank Eric, my ramp coach for the day, the entire Anchorage ramp service agent team who were very kind and welcoming and who tolerated all of my questions and mistakes.

brad ramp 2 r CEO Brad Tilden: My week in Alaska job shadowing frontline employees

Red Dog Mine

img 0589 r CEO Brad Tilden: My week in Alaska job shadowing frontline employees

I then flew out to Red Dog Mine to see our operation in the Arctic. It was a clear day and Alaska’s natural beauty really came through. The photo above is of Runway 3 at Red Dog, on our approach.

Terminal & baggage services

My last day was working in the terminal and in baggage services. In the photo below, I am working with Mary Graham as control agent on flight 96. And then I had a great flight home with an awesome crew.

brad csa 1 r CEO Brad Tilden: My week in Alaska job shadowing frontline employees

I find myself smiling from ear to ear as I recount my visit.  I have a deep sense of gratitude. Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air have the best employees in the industry, and it was uplifting to spend more time with them. Like many of our employees, I came into the airline business because I love aviation, I love Alaska Airlines, I love being around our people and our guests. This was the perfect way to start a new year.

Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air employees receive nearly 3.5 weeks extra pay in bonuses

Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-990 ER SSWL N268AK (msn 36365) JFK (Fred Freketic). Image: 945414.

Alaska Airlines has made this announcement:

Employees of Alaska Air Group companies Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air are receiving $120 million in incentive bonuses today. For most employees, this equates to more than 6.5 percent of their annual pay in 2018.

The company’s annual bonus, called Performance Based Pay (PBP), is determined by meeting or exceeding specific company-wide goals for safety, customer satisfaction, cost control, customer loyalty and profit.

“After a year of hard work, we’re incredibly grateful for our 22,000 fantastic employees who go the extra mile to put safety first and deliver the kind-hearted service we’re known for,” said Ben Minicucci, Alaska Airlines’ president and COO. “For the 10th year in a row, our employees have earned bonuses by exceeding targets for meeting our annual and monthly goals. On behalf of the entire leadership team, thank you for another incredible year.”

The PBP bonus is in addition to the approximately $15.7 million in monthly operational bonuses that employees earned over 2018 for achieving monthly on-time and customer satisfaction goals. The combined monthly, annual and one-time bonuses paid to employees total $136 million.

Geographic breakdown:

  • About $66 million in annual bonuses — nearly 55 percent of the total — is being paid to Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air employees across Washington
  • $28 million — or 24 percent of the total — is going to employees throughout California
  • $12 million is being paid to employees in Oregon
  • $8 million is going to employees throughout the state of Alaska

The employee bonuses come two weeks after the airline announced its 2019 jobs forecast and Washington economic impact study, highlighting the $7 billion Alaska has contributed to the state economy.

Top Copyright Photo (all others by Alaska): Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-990 ER SSWL N268AK (msn 36365) JFK (Fred Freketic). Image: 945414.

Alaska Airlines aircraft slide show (Boeing):

Video:

Alaska Airlines CEO on government shutdown

From Brad Tilden, Alaska Airlines CEO:

Every day, folks get up and go to work. It’s something that’s easy to take for granted – until we realize that some people are going to work and not getting paid.

In the aviation industry, it takes a complex orchestra of airline, government and other employees to keep our system operational and to ensure flyers get to where they are going in a timely and safe manner. All of us at Alaska Airlines would like to take a moment to thank the federal government employees responsible for keeping aviation safe throughout the year – especially over the last 30 days.

The current government shutdown is having a serious impact on the aviation sector and those who support the industry, and we hope it ends soon. There are roughly 48,000 Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents and 15,000 air traffic controllers among the huge group of dedicated federal employees coming to work every day and not getting paid. They’re committed to the important mission of keeping aviation safe, yet these employees will miss their second paycheck this week. This is not right, and it’s not sustainable. We are calling on all of our leaders to return our system to normal and get these people paid.

During this uncertain time, it is encouraging to see people rally together to try and help those impacted by the shutdown. We’ve all seen many gestures of appreciation, most often in the form of a simple thank you to TSA agents and air traffic controllers for keeping us safe. There is a renewed appreciation for the importance of their work, and that is good.

Our guests here in the Pacific Northwest felt the effects of the government shutdown earlier this week. We made a tough decision to delay our start of service at Paine Field, a new commercial airport in Everett, Washington, due to the shutdown. As a result, we’ve had to re-accommodate or cancel thousands of our guests’ flights.

We expect the shutdown will become much more disruptive to the aviation system if it continues much longer.

With the industry driving more than 7 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) and millions of jobs, we want our nation’s aviation system to be strong.

Brad Tilden, Alaska Airlines CEO