Category Archives: Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines “West Coast Wonders” livery

2021 "West Coast Wonders (Orca)" special livery

Alaska Airlines has offered an explanation for the special “Orca” livery on N932AK. It is called a “West Coast Wonders” livery. Will there be more in this series?

From Alaska Airlines:

The West Coast Wonders aircraft is inspired by the beautiful places we fly to and encourages everyone to take action with us to protect our planet. The design for this Boeing 737-9 MAX honors the shores we call home and the natural life of the Pacific Ocean and West Coast waters. Alaska Airlines set environmental sustainability goals for 2025 and beyond “This indicates a link to an external site that may not meet accessibility guidelines.” to reduce our climate impact through carbon, waste, and water.

Did you know that orcas migrate each year between the Baja peninsula and Alaska? Many of our aircraft follow the same path!

Top Copyright Photo: Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-9 MAX 9 N932AK (msn 44089) (Orca) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 956598.

Alaska Airlines aircraft slide show (Boeing):

Alaska Airlines aircraft photo gallery:


Alaska Air Group delivers strong fourth quarter 2021 and full-year results

Alaska Air Group Inc. today announced another quarter of improvement in its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2021, and provided an outlook for the first quarter ending March 31, 2022.

“While recovery in our industry is never linear, our caring and dedicated people and the strength of our competitive advantages position us for success no matter what challenges we face,” said CEO Ben Minicucci. “Despite operational disruption from omicron and severe winter weather in December, our fourth quarter adjusted pre-tax margin was 2.4%, marking one of the industry’s most profitable performances in Q4 and the second half of the year. We have laid a solid foundation for our return to 100% of our pre-COVID flying by summer 2022 and we’re poised to grow from there.”

Alaska’s fourth quarter and full year 2021 results reflect a disciplined focus on cost management and a measured approach to bringing back capacity in recovery. In addition to delivering profitability in the second half of the year, Alaska’s financial performance enabled the company to restore its debt-to-capitalization ratio to pre-pandemic levels in the fourth quarter, priming the airlines for profitable growth in 2022.

Financial Results for the Fourth Quarter and Full Year:

  • Reported net income for the fourth quarter and full year 2021 under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) of $18 million, or $0.14 per diluted share, and $478 million, or $3.77 per diluted share. These results compare to a net loss for the fourth quarter and full year 2020 of $447 million, or $3.60 per share, and $1.3 billion, or $10.72 per share.
  • Reported net income for the fourth quarter and net loss for the full year 2021, excluding special items and mark-to-market fuel hedge accounting adjustments, of $31 million, or $0.24 per diluted share, and $256 million, or $2.03 per share. These results compare to a net loss for the fourth quarter and full year 2020, excluding special items and mark-to-market fuel hedge accounting adjustments, of $316 million, or $2.54 per share, and $1.3 billion, or $10.17 per share.
  • Reported adjusted pre-tax margin for the fourth quarter of 2021 of 2.4%, marking the second profitable quarter on an adjusted basis since the onset of the pandemic.
  • Recorded $42 million and $151 million of incentive pay in the fourth quarter and full year 2021 earned by employees for meeting or exceeding cash flow, cost management, and safety goals, representing approximately three weeks pay for most employees.

Balance Sheet and Liquidity at Year End:

  • Reported a debt-to-capitalization ratio of 49%, a reduction of 12 points from December 31, 2020, and the lowest level since the first quarter of 2020.
  • For the full year, generated $138 million in operating cash flows, net of Payroll Support Program grant funds received.
  • Repaid $112 million in debt in the fourth quarter, bringing total debt payments to $1.3 billion for the year.
  • Held $3.1 billion in unrestricted cash and marketable securities as of December 31, 2021.

Operational Updates and Milestones for the Fourth Quarter:

  • Announced nonstop service between Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Miami, marking the 100th nonstop destination from Alaska’s Seattle hub.
  • Expanded oneworld partnership with new West Coast international flights between Portland and London Heathrow on British Airways and between Seattle and Helsinki on Finnair. Expanded service will provide Alaska’s guests more than 100 nonstop flights on oneworld partners from the West Coast to Europe by summer 2022.
  • Launched new MVP Gold 100k tier for Mileage Plan members, providing enhanced benefits for those traveling 100,000 miles or more in one year.
  • Named the safest U.S. airline by in their annual Top 20 Safest Airline Report.
  • Received four 737-9 aircraft during the quarter, bringing total additions in 2021 to 11.
  • Began nonstop service to Belize from Seattle and Los Angeles in November, marking the fourth country Alaska flies to from its West Coast hubs.

Fourth Quarter Environmental, Social, and Governance Updates:

  • Announced the appointment of Diana Birkett Rakow as senior vice president of public affairs and sustainability, emphasizing Alaska’s commitment to protect the places it flies and support the communities it serves.
  • Announced collaboration with ZeroAvia to begin development on a hydrogen-electric powertrain engine capable of flying regional aircraft in excess of 500 nautical miles.
  • Expanded inflight sustainability efforts by trading plastic water bottles and cups for Boxed Water Is Better® plant-based cartons and recyclable paper cups. This change will eliminate an estimated 1.8 million pounds of single-use plastics over the next year.
  • Launched partnership with travel2change, a Hawaii-based social and environmental impact organization that connects travelers with sustainable volunteer projects while visiting Hawaii.

The following table reconciles the company’s reported GAAP net income (loss) per share (EPS) for the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2021 and 2020 to adjusted amounts.

Three Months Ended December 31,
2021 2020
(in millions, except per share amounts) Dollars Diluted EPS Dollars EPS
Reported GAAP net income (loss) and diluted EPS $                 18 $             0.14 $             (447) $            (3.60)
Payroll support program wage offset (22) (0.18)
Mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustments 21 0.16 (8) (0.06)
Special items – impairment charges and other (6) (0.05) 277 2.23
Special items – restructuring charges 2 0.02 (102) (0.82)
Special items – merger-related costs 1 0.01
Special items – net non-operating 26 0.21
Income tax effect on special items and fuel hedge adjustments (4) (0.03) (41) (0.33)
Non-GAAP adjusted net income (loss) and diluted EPS $                 31 $             0.24 $             (316) $            (2.54)
Twelve Months Ended December 31,
2021 2020
(in millions, except per share amounts) Dollars Diluted EPS Dollars EPS
Reported GAAP net income (loss) and diluted EPS $              478 $             3.77 $          (1,324) $          (10.72)
Payroll support program wage offset (914) (7.21) (782) (6.33)
Mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustments (47) (0.37) (8) (0.06)
Special items – impairment charges and other (1) (0.01) 627 5.08
Special items – restructuring charges (10) (0.08) 220 1.78
Special items – merger-related costs 6 0.05
Special items – net non-operating 26 0.21
Income tax effect on special items and fuel hedge adjustments 238 1.87 (21) (0.18)
Non-GAAP adjusted net loss and diluted EPS $             (256) $            (2.03) $          (1,256) $          (10.17)

Statistical data, as well as a reconciliation of the reported non-GAAP financial measures, can be found in the accompanying tables. A glossary of financial terms can be found on the last page of this release.

Alaska Airlines cancels nearly 25 flights out of Paine Field due to 5G restrictions

From KOMO in Seattle:

“Alaska Airlines canceled nearly 25 flights Monday at Everett’s Paine Field because of 5G.

The airline confirmed 23 flights into and out of Paine Field were canceled because FAA restrictions mean the Embraer E175 airplane can not land in poor weather or low visibility because 5G could possibly interfere with systems.”

Read the full story:

Alaska Airlines to add larger jets to its Paine Field operation

Alaska Airlines will begin operating its own Boeing 737 aircraft from Paine Field in Everett.

Boeing 737 service from PAE to Phoenix starts on February 17 followed by Las Vegas on March according to Herald Net.

Horizon Air currently operates Embraer 175 Alaska Horizon service into PAE.


Alaska Airlines reduces its January schedule

Alaska Airlines released this statement:

As we have entered 2022, the continued impacts of omicron have been disruptive in all our lives and unprecedented employee sick calls have impacted our ability to operate our airline reliably. We are deeply grateful for how our incredible employees have pulled together to take care of our guests and each other, operate safely and make the best of a very difficult situation. To our guests, we apologize for the considerable inconvenience and are working hard to return to the level of service they know and expect from us.

We’re at our best when we are safe, reliable and caring. And right now, we need to build more reliability back into our operation as we deal with the impacts of omicron and during a time when guests generally fly less. We’ve decided to reduce departures by about 10% through the end of January. This will give us the flexibility and capacity needed to reset while continued flexible travel policies enable guests to adjust their plans accordingly. This will also give us time and space to find our path forward together, with Covid-19 as a continued reality in our business and our world.

We will learn from these challenges, improve where we must and deliver on our promise to deliver nonstop care each and every day.

Alaska cancels 170 flights today, with more expected throughout the week

Alaska Airlines issued this statement:

Winter weather, displaced crew members and aircraft, and the continued impact of the omicron variant on staffing levels are converging to cause more canceled and delayed flights for Alaska Airlines this week.

Today, 170 flights were canceled across Alaska’s network, with more cancellations and delays expected throughout the week. As we head into Wednesday and Thursday, we’re proactively thinning Seattle departures by about 20% to allow for the additional time it takes to deice aircraft, a requirement during winter weather.

The weather in Seattle is impacting guests beyond the Pacific Northwest. We strongly urge flyers with non-essential travel scheduled before January 2, 2022, to consider changing their travel to a later date using our flexible travel policy. With more snow expected and limited seats available during an already busy holiday week, we’re not able to re-accommodate most guests for at least three days.

“We deeply apologize for the inconvenience this winter storm has on our guests and employees and are working hard to return to the level of service you know and expect from us, while operating safely,” said Constance von Muehlen, Alaska Airlines chief operating officer and executive vice president.

If guests cannot reschedule their flights at this time, rest assured we will hold the value of their ticket until they are ready to travel again.

Tips for guests traveling this week:

  • Before heading to the airport, check your email or to see if your flight is impacted.
  • If your flight has been canceled, do not go to the airport to change your itinerary.
  • Managing your reservation online is the best option. Our Contact Center is experiencing hold times of more than 20 hours. To reduce long hold times, guests without immediate needs are asked to wait to contact us about their itineraries until next week.
  • Guests impacted by cancellations and delays may be eligible for reimbursement of reasonable travel expenses by providing flight information and expense details here.
  • If your flight is canceled while you’re at the airport and you’ve checked a bag, please immediately claim it at the baggage carousel before leaving the airport.

Our baggage service teams are working around the clock to reunite unclaimed bags with their owners. It will take several days to complete this work, but our agents will contact every guest to arrange pick-up or delivery.

We greatly appreciate the patience of our guests and tireless efforts from our employees during this busy travel period.

Weather Map (USA) for today:

Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-990 ER SSWL N487AS (msn 44108) (Oneworld) BUR (Michael B. Ing). Image: 955615.

Above Copyright Photo: Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-990 ER SSWL N487AS (msn 44108) (Oneworld) BUR (Michael B. Ing). Image: 955615.

Alaska Airlines aircraft slide show (Boeing):

Alaska Airlines aircraft photo gallery:

Alaska Airlines is elusive on its new Orca special livery on N932AK

2021 special "Orca" livery

Alaska Airlines will soon take delivery of its new Boeing 737-9 MAX 9 N932AK (msn 44089) (above).

Joe G. Walker captured N932AK taxiing at soggy Boeing Field on December 17.

Above Copyright Photo: Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-9 MAX 9 N932AK (msn 44089) (Orca) BFI (Joe G. Walker). Image: 956179.

From NOAA:

About the Species

The killer whale, also known as orca, is the ocean’s top predator. It is the largest member of the Delphinidae family, or dolphins. Members of this family include all dolphin species, as well as other larger species, such as long-finned pilot whales and short-finned pilot whales, whose common names also contain “whale” instead of “dolphin.”

Found in every ocean in the world, they are the most widely distributed of all cetaceans (whales and dolphins). Scientific studies have revealed many different populations with several distinct ecotypes (or forms) of killer whales worldwide—some of which may be different species or subspecies. They are one of the most recognizable marine mammals, with their distinctive black and white bodies. Globally, killer whales occur in a wide range of habitats, in both open seas and coastal waters. Taken as a whole, the species has the most varied diet of all cetaceans, but different populations are usually specialized in their foraging behavior and diet. They often use a coordinated hunting strategy, working as a team like a pack of wolves.

Hunters and fishermen once targeted killer whales. As a result, historical threats to killer whales included commercial hunting and culling to protect fisheries from killer whales. In addition, although live capture of killer whales for aquarium display and marine parks no longer occurs in the United States, it continues to remain a threat globally. Today, some killer whale populations face many other threats, including food limitations, chemical contaminants, and disturbances from vessel traffic and sound. Efforts to establish critical habitat, set protective regulations, and restore prey stocks are essential to conservation, especially for the endangered Southern Resident killer whale population.

All killer whale populations are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Only two populations receive additional special protections under federal law:

  • Southern Resident Distinct Population Segment (DPS) (listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act
  • AT1 Transient stock (designated as depleted under the MMPA)

Southern Resident killer whales are the only endangered population of killer whales in the United States, ranging from central California to southeast Alaska. Long-term commitments across state and international borders are needed to stabilize the Southern Resident population and prevent their extinction. The Southern Resident killer whale is one of NOAA Fisheries’ Species in the Spotlight. This initiative includes animals considered most at risk for extinction and prioritizes recovery efforts.

NOAA Fisheries is committed to the conservation of killer whales and the protection and recovery of endangered populations. Our scientists and partners use a variety of innovative techniques to study and protect them. We also work with our partners to develop regulations and management plans that protect killer whales and their food sources, decrease contaminants in oceans, reduce ocean noise, and raise awareness about the whales and the actions people can take to support their recovery.

Population Status

Several different populations and ecotypes of killer whales are found throughout the world. NOAA Fisheries estimates population size in our stock assessment reports. It is estimated that there are around 50,000 killer whales globally. Approximately 2,500 killer whales live in the eastern North Pacific Ocean—home to the most well-studied killer whale populations.

In recent decades, several populations of killer whales have declined and some have become endangered. The population of AT1 Transients, a stock of Transient killer whales in the eastern North Pacific, has been reduced from 22 to 7 whales since the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. In 2004, NOAA Fisheries designated this stock as depleted under the MMPA based on the results of the status review (PDF, 25 pages).

Scientists estimate the minimum historical population size of Southern Residents in the eastern North Pacific was about 140 animals. Following live-capture in the 1960s for use in marine mammal parks, 71 animals remained in 1974. Although there was some growth in the population in the 1970s and 1980s, with a peak of 98 animals in 1995, the population experienced a decline of almost 20 percent in the late 1990s, leaving 80 whales in 2001. The 2020 population census counted only 72 whales, and three new calves have been born following the census bringing the total of this struggling population to 75. In 2003, NOAA Fisheries began a research and conservation program with congressional funding to address the dwindling population. Southern Residents were listed as Endangered in 2005 under the ESA and a recovery plan was completed in 2008.

Meanwhile Alaska Airlines is being coy about the reason for the new livery with a promise to share more information soon.

Alaska paints new Boeing 737-9 MAX 9 N932AK in a special Orca livery

Alaska Airlines will soon take delivery from Boeing a new 737-9 MAX 9 registered as N932AK (msn 44089).

The airliner has been rolled out of paint shop at Renton, WA. The special livery features Orca whales.

Alaska Airlines expands oneworld partnership with new West Coast international flights

Alaska Airlines made this announcement:

British Airways announced today it will begin nonstop service from Portland to London Heathrow five days a week starting on June 3, 2022. The flight becomes the sixth British Airways service to London from a key Alaska market on the West Coast joining Los Angeles; San Diego; San Francisco; San Jose, California; and Seattle.

Finnair announced last week its new nonstop flight between Seattle and Helsinki that’s scheduled for service three days a week beginning June 1. Finnair’s nonstop to Seattle joins its existing service to the Finnish capital from Los Angeles. Finnair will also increase its Los Angeles-Stockholm service to four nonstop flights a week beginning May 1.

By summer 2022, Alaska’s oneworld partners will offer more than 100 nonstop flights every week from the West Coast to Europe including nonstop service to London, Madrid, Barcelona, Stockholm and Helsinki. Once in Europe, journeys can continue throughout the Continent and other parts of the world with convenient connections through our partners’ hubs.

Alaska Airlines is the 14th member of the oneworld alliance.

oneworld flights between the U.S. West Coast and Europe for summer 2022:

oneworld Partner City Pair Frequency
American Airlines Los Angeles – London Heathrow 2x Daily
Seattle – London Heathrow Daily
British Airways Los Angeles – London Heathrow 2x Daily
San Diego – London Heathrow Daily
San Francisco – London Heathrow 2x Daily
San Jose, CA – London Heathrow 5x Weekly
Seattle – London Heathrow 2x Daily
Portland – London Heathrow 5x Weekly
Finnair Los Angeles – Helsinki 3x Weekly
Los Angeles – Stockholm 4x Weekly
Seattle – Helsinki 3x Weekly
Iberia Los Angeles – Barcelona 4x Weekly
Los Angeles – Madrid 5x Weekly
San Francisco – Barcelona 4x Weekly


Alaska unveils a “Merrier Together” holiday logo jet with Starbucks

Alaska Airlines made this announcement:

Bake the gingerbread, light the menorah, hang the stockings — however you holiday — joy & care is in the air at Alaska Airlines. As the ‘Merrier Carrier’ we’re going all out this year to celebrate and can’t wait to share this holiday season with our loyal guests and employees.

Cup, cup and away!
Holiday spirit is IN THE AIR today at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, as we unveiled our newest special-edition aircraft featuring one of our favorite hometown friends, Starbucks. The plane, tail number N238AK, showcases Starbucks famous red cups filled with their signature holiday drinks. The Boeing 737-900ER made its inaugural flight from Seattle (SEA) to Chicago (ORD) this morning and will fly throughout the network this holiday season.

And because you can’t have too much cheer – Starbucks and Alaska will provide 50 flights with reusable holiday cups and treats through Dec.12. Alaska will also offset the carbon impacts of these flights through The Good Traveler program, as part of our commitment to be carbon net-zero by 2040.

Like coffee, travel is better together with friends and family, so we’ve teamed up with Starbucks to help our guests “BOGO all the way!” Buy one Alaska ticket and get one for just the taxes and fees by using code STARBUCKS. Hurry – deal ends at midnight PST today! Go to [URL] to book and for full offer terms and conditions.

May your days be cozy {and bright}
In celebration of National Ugly Holiday Sweater Day, Alaska’s famous holiday sweaters are back to make your holiday season cozy. Guests who wear their festive holiday sweaters to the airport on Dec. 17 can board early across Alaska’s expansive network. This year’s design is now available for presale at Alaska’s Company Store.

Any guest wearing an ugly holiday sweater this holiday season can purchase a day pass to one of our nine lounges, located in Anchorage (ANC), New York (JFK), Portland (PDX), San Francisco (SFO), and Seattle (SEA) for just $25 for immediate use!

Be sure to check out the other Alaska merchandise in the store for your favorite #avgeek!

Most wonderful time of the year to give back!
Our LIFT Miles program offers Mileage Plan™ members a unique and meaningful way to support important causes. Miles donated to this program help charities with business travel, accommodation of special organization requests and achievement of the organization’s mission. In the spirit of the season, we are donating a million miles to various LIFT mile partners.