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Alaska Air Cargo delivers the season’s first Copper River Salmon to Seattle-Tacoma

Alaska Air Cargo (Alaska Airlines) (Seattle/Tacoma) today (May 17) delivered the season’s first shipment of Copper River salmon to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. According to the airline, “the arrival of the coveted Copper River salmon marks the start of the summer salmon season and is anticipated by seafood lovers throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond.”

The Alaska Airlines plane arrived early this morning with Copper River king and sockeye salmon from three seafood processors: Ocean Beauty Seafoods, Trident Seafoods and Copper River Seafoods. At least four more Alaska Airlines flights today will transport salmon from Cordova, Alaska, to Anchorage, Alaska, Seattle and across the United States.

“We’re proud to be the first to bring wild and sustainable Copper River salmon to seafood lovers across the country, in many cases within 24 hours after the fish is caught,” said Betsy Bacon, managing director of Alaska Air Cargo. “With so much demand for sustainable wild Alaska seafood, airline crews in South-Central and Southeast Alaska will kick into high gear to ship more than 2 million pounds of salmon across our 95-city network.”

Copper Chef Cook-off

Following the arrival of the first fish, three top Seattle chefs will compete to create the best salmon recipe in Alaska Air Cargo’s annual “Copper Chef Cook-off.” Pat Donahue, executive chef of Anthony’s Restaurants and the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Copper Chef winner, will compete against executive chefs John Howie of Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar, and Chris Bryant of Wildfin American Grill. Also competing against the three chefs in the cook-off will be Master Sgt. Robert Shulman, a 31-year U.S. Air Force Reserve chef representing the 446th Airlift Wing (AW) out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, located in Tacoma, Wash.

The chefs will have 30 minutes to prepare and serve the first catch of the season to a panel of judges, including Jay Buhner, Seattle Mariners Hall of Famer; Mike Fourtner, deckhand on the F/V Time Bandit, as featured on Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch;” Chief Master Sgt. Tony Mack, 446th AW command chief from JBLM; and Jeff Butler, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of customer service-airports and cargo.

In a special tribute to the military, 10 citizen airmen from the 446th AW, joined in the morning festivities to cheer on the four chefs and sample the season’s first Copper River salmon. Among the other onlookers awaiting the freighter’s arrival were five Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan MVP Gold members invited to sample the season’s first Copper River salmon. These frequent fliers donated 500,000 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles to Fisher House Foundation’s Hero Miles program to attend the event. Hero Miles turns donated frequent-flier miles into free airfare for wounded, injured and ill service members and/or their families who are undergoing treatment at a military or VA medical center and for other authorized events. Through Alaska Airlines’ partnership with Fisher House, the nonprofit that administers the program, nearly 6 million miles were donated last year to assist U.S. servicemembers injured and wounded in service to their country.

“The Copper Chef Cook-off helps to showcase the proud relationship the Air Force Reserves has with Alaska Airlines and hundreds of other employers and industry leaders here in Washington State,” said Chief Master Sgt. Tony Mack, 446th Airlift Wing command chief from Joint Base Lewis-McChord. “Chef is only one of hundreds of vocations in the Air Force Reserve, and allowing one of our finest to compete is a testament to the relationships we have within the community.”

Alaska Airlines and its sister carrier Horizon Air employ dozens of reservists who serve as pilots, aircraft maintenance technicians as well as other air and ground crew. An estimated 10 percent of current Alaska and Horizon employees either still serve in the military or have veteran status.

The airline will use its Twitter account, @AlaskaAir, to announce the winning Copper River salmon recipe. The recipes that will be prepared for the Copper Chef Cook-off are available to download at http://bit.ly/13qe3gS. Fish lovers are encouraged to share their own favorite salmon recipes on Twitter, using the hashtag #SalmonChef.

Enhanced seafood quality training program

Copper River salmon shipped on Alaska Air Cargo this season will arrive as fresh as possible to grocery stores and restaurants across the nation, thanks in part to a cool chain training program required of all airline employees who handle perishables. Alaska Air Cargo employees are required to adhere to strict seafood quality standards and pass an annual food quality course.

Seafood processors and shippers follow these cool-chain standards to provide a temperature-controlled environment for proper food handling. The goal is to keep seafood moving rapidly throughout its journey on Alaska Airlines and maintain a consistent temperature range from the time it leaves the water to when it arrives at stores and restaurants.

Copyright Photo: bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Alaska Air Cargo’s Boeing 737-490 (F) N709AS (msn 28896) arrives at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport hub.

Alaska Airlines: AG Slide Show

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Alaska Air Group reports 1Q net income of $37 million

Alaska Air Group, Inc. (Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air) (Seattle/Tacoma) today reported first quarter 2013 GAAP net income of $37 million, or $0.51 per diluted share, compared to $41 million, or $0.56 per diluted share in 2012. Excluding the impact of mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustments of $12 million ($7 million after tax, or $0.11 per diluted share), the company reported record first quarter 2013 net income of $44 million, or $0.62 per diluted share, compared to net income excluding mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustments of $28 million, or $0.39 per diluted share, in 2012.

“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,” Alaska Air Group CEO Brad Tilden said. “Looking ahead, we’re facing increased competition in certain markets, and we will closely monitor the environment and continue to adjust our plans to appropriately address these challenges. Our first quarter results, and our ability to be flexible and adapt to an ever-changing industry landscape, would not be possible without the dedication and determination of our employees at Alaska and Horizon.”

The following table reconciles the company’s reported GAAP net income and earnings per diluted share (EPS) during the first quarters of 2013 and 2012 to adjusted amounts:

Three Months Ended March 31,
2013 2012
(in millions, except per-share amounts) Dollars Diluted EPS Dollars Diluted EPS
Reported GAAP net income $ 37 $ 0.51 $ 41 $ 0.56
Mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustments, net of tax 7 0.11 (13) (0.17)
Non-GAAP adjusted income and per-share amounts $ 44 $ 0.62 $ 28 $ 0.39

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Pulling together, Boeing 737-490 N705AS (msn 29318) in the “Spirit of Alaska Statehood” livery approaches Los Angeles International Airport.

Alaska Airlines: AG Slide Show

Alaska Horizon: AG Slide Show

Horizon Air: AG Slide Show

Alaska Airlines protects its turf by submitting a formal proposal to the FAA for possible scheduled operations at Paine Field

Alaska Airlines (Seattle/Tacoma) has issued the following statement about the possible use of Paine Field near Everett, WA for possible scheduled airline service. The proposed service is unlikely to start unless another competitor files to start service from PAE (Boeing’s home for the 747, 767, 777 and the 787). In other words, Alaska is keeping its options open to protect its Pacific Northwest turf. Paine Field is on the north side of the Seattle area while the current SEA (Sea-Tac) is on the south side of the Seattle area between Seattle and Tacoma. Here is the full statement:

Alaska Airlines is working with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to add Paine Field in Everett, Washington, as an authorized airport for the carrier’s operations. This is a required step if the carrier were to begin jet service out of the regional airport at some point in the future. As required by its application, Alaska Airlines is providing the FAA with a proposed schedule over the next five years that could include 28 round-trip jet flights a week.

“We continue to believe that our flights at Sea-Tac Airport and in Bellingham best serve the Puget Sound region’s needs for affordable air travel, particularly in light of the significant investments both airports have made recently to improve their facilities,” said Andrew Harrison, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of planning and revenue management. “That said, if one or more other airlines begin operations at Paine Field, we would commence service alongside these carriers. Submitting a schedule with the FAA along with a request for authorization to serve Paine is a necessary step in the process.”

Alaska Airlines’ proposed schedule in the first year of operations would include 14 weekly round-trip flights to Las Vegas, Honolulu and Maui, Hawaii, using Boeing 737-800 jet aircraft. Alaska would also fly 21 weekly round-trip flights to Portland, Ore., with Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft. Not all destinations would be served daily.

By the fifth year of operations, Alaska would fly 49 weekly round-trip flights. This would include 28 round-trips to Las Vegas, Honolulu, Maui, Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Diego with 737-800s, plus 21 weekly round-trips to Portland using Q400s.

Alaska Airlines informed the FAA that these proposed schedules could change depending on competitors, business and economic factors, and the needs of its customers. The carrier is also seeking information from the FAA about any necessary environmental review of its proposed schedule, given a pending legal challenge to the agency’s approval of commercial air service at Paine Field in December.

Alaska Airlines operates about 1,750 weekly round-trip flights at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, located 42 miles south of Paine Field, and up to 63 weekly round-trip flights at Bellingham International Airport, which is approximately a one-hour drive north of Everett.

Paine Field currently has no adequate passenger terminal, which would need to be built before operations by any airline could begin.

Summary of proposed service for the first year — 35 round-trip flights a week:

City Pair Weekly Frequency Aircraft
Everett-Honolulu 4 737-800
Everett -Las Vegas 7 737-800
Everett -Maui 3 737-800
Everett -Portland 21 Q400

 

Summary of proposed service by the fifth year — 49 round-trip flights a week:

City Pair Weekly Frequency Aircraft
Everett -Honolulu 4 737-800
Everett -Las Vegas 7 737-800
Everett -Los Angeles 7 737-800
Everett -Maui 3 737-800
Everett -Phoenix 4 737-800
Everett -Portland 21 Q400
Everett -San Diego 3 737-800

Copyright Photo: Nick Dean. Alaska Airlines’ Boeing 737-490 N706AS (msn 28894) in the Disneyland-Make-A-Wish motif makes a landing at Paine Field for maintenance reasons.

Alaska Airlines: AG Slide Show

Alaska Air Group reports net income of $163.4 million in the third quarter

 

Alaska Air Group, Inc. (Alaska Airlines and Horzon Air) (Seattle/Tacoma) reported third quarter 2012 GAAP net income of $163.4 million, or $2.27 per diluted share, compared to $77.5 million, or $1.06 per diluted share in 2011. Excluding the favorable impact of mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustments of $21.2 million ($13.1 million after tax, or $0.18 per diluted share), the company reported record third quarter 2012 net income of $150.3 million, or $2.09 per diluted share, compared to net income excluding special items of $131.1 million, or $1.79 per diluted share, in 2011.

Third quarter highlights with comparison to 2011:

  • Reported record third quarter net income, excluding special items, of $150.3 million, or $2.09 per diluted share, compared to adjusted net income of $131.1 million, or $1.79 per diluted share. This quarter’s results compare to a First Call mean estimate of $2.08 per share.
  • Earned net income under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) of $163.4 million, or $2.27 per diluted share, compared to net income of $77.5 million, or $1.06 per diluted share.
  • Held the No. 1 spot in U.S. Department of Transportation on-time performance among the 10 largest U.S. airlines for the 12 months ended August 2012.
  • Announced a new $250 million share repurchase program, representing approximately 10 percent of our market capitalization, while completing our previously announced $50 million share repurchase program.
  • Achieved trailing 12-month return on invested capital of 12.7 percent, compared to 12.0 percent in the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2011.
  • Lowered adjusted debt-to-total capitalization ratio by 8 points, to 54 percent, since Dec. 31, 2011.
  • Held $1.2 billion in unrestricted cash and marketable securities as of Sept. 30, 2012.
  • Received “2012 Global Vision Award” by Travel + Leisure magazine for Alaska Airlines’ sustainability efforts.

New routes:

  • Began new service between Seattle and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Portland, Ore., and Washington, D.C.; and Seattle and San Antonio in the third quarter.
  • Announced expanded service between Los Angeles and Anchorage beginning in summer 2013.

Boeing order:

  • Signed an aircraft purchase agreement with Boeing for 50 new 737 aircraft, including 37 of Boeing’s new 737 MAX aircraft with deliveries expected in 2015 through 2024. This order positions Alaska to replace aging aircraft over the next decade and grow the fleet, assuming profitability and return-on-invested-capital targets can be met.

The following table reconciles the company’s reported GAAP net income and earnings per diluted share (EPS) during the third quarters of 2012 and 2011 to adjusted amounts:

Three Months Ended September 30,
2012 2011
(in millions, except per share amounts) Dollars Diluted EPS Dollars Diluted EPS
Reported GAAP net income $ 163.4 $ 2.27 $ 77.5 $ 1.06
Fleet transition costs, net of tax 1.2 0.02
Mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustments, net of tax (13.1) (0.18) 52.4 0.71
Non-GAAP adjusted income and per share amounts $ 150.3 $ 2.09 $ 131.1 $ 1.79

Copyright Photo: Nick Dean. Alaska Airlines’ Boeing 737-490 N791AS (msn 28886) decorated as “Follow Me to Disneyland/50 Years” completes its final approach into the Seattle/Tacoma hub.

All of the Horizon Air aircraft have now been rebranded as Alaska Horizon.

Alaska Airlines: 

Alaska Horizon (Horizon Air): 

Alaska Airlines to have a State of Hawaii “Spirit of the Islands” logojet in 2013

Alaska Airlines (Seattle/Tacoma) is inviting school-aged children in Hawai’i to create artwork honoring the unique culture of the Aloha State that will adorn a Boeing 737-800 in a “Paint the Plane” contest. In partnership with the Hawai’i State Department of Education (DOE) and the Hawai’i Association of Independent Schools (HAIS), contest forms will be distributed to more than 400 schools and 218,000 students throughout the Islands.

Students in kindergarten through 12th grade from public, private and home schools across the state have until November 30 to submit designs that best capture the “Spirit of the Islands.” A final selection panel comprised of 10 judges representing Hawai’i’s government, community, arts, education and tourism leaders will select three top designs. Residents of the state of Hawai’i will then vote on the top three designs and provide Alaska Airlines with their recommendation in an online public vote slated for December 2012. The plane is scheduled to be revealed at a public event in Hawai’i during the spring of 2013.

The student with the winning submission will get his or her design painted on an Alaska Airlines aircraft, a trip for four to any Alaska Airlines destination and a $5,000 scholarship. Second- and third-place winners will receive a trip for four to any Alaska Airlines destination, and 12 honorable mentions will be awarded a $1,000 scholarship, except for the grade of the grand prize winner.

Copyright Photo: Alaska Airlines.

Hawai’i Gov. Neil Abercrombie attended a kick-off event today with 330 students at Prince Jonah Kuhio Elementary School in Honolulu, along with representatives from Alaska Airlines, the DOE and HAIS (above).

“Spirit of the Islands” contest schedule:

  • Sept. 24 – Contest begins for Hawai’i students
  • Nov. 30 – Entry forms must be postmarked and mailed to a designated Alaska Airlines P.O. box in Honolulu
  • Dec.11-18 – Hawai’i residents vote online for their favorite design
  • January 2013 – Results of online voting revealed and winner announced
  • Spring 2013 – Painted plane is unveiled

Complete contest details are available at www.alaskaair.com/hawaii, including contest rules, instructions and entry forms required to participate. Entry forms will also be available at the Alaska Airlines booth during several community events throughout the Islands, including the Maui Fair, Hawai’i’s Children and Youth Day, Hawai’i Fishing and Seafood Festival, and the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival.

Copyright Photo: Nick Dean. Boeing 737-490 N705AS (msn 29318) in the State of Alaska theme arrives at the Seattle/Tacoma hub.

The “Spirit of the Islands” contest is the third time Alaska Airlines has turned to the public to paint a plane. The Spirit of Alaska Statehood aircraft paint scheme (above) was created by a 16-year-old Sitka student in a similar statewide contest celebrating Alaska’s 50-year anniversary. Last year, two soccer fans designed the MLS Portland “Timbers Jet” (below) to celebrate the airline’s jersey sponsorship of the Portland, Oregon, soccer team.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Boeing 737-790 N607AS (msn 29751) taxies to the active runway at Seattle/Tacoma International Airport.

Alaska Airlines is hosting the contest in celebration of five years of serving Hawai’i, which today includes daily nonstop flights from seven West Coast cities and Anchorage, Alaska, to four major islands. On average, Alaska Airlines offers more departures in more nonstop markets between Hawai’i and the West Coast than any other carrier (22 daily roundtrips, or 308 weekly flights, in 21 nonstop markets).

Alaska Airlines: 

Alaska Airlines’ ramp service and stores agents ratify the new contract

Alaska Airlines‘ (Seattle/Tacoma) ramp service and stores agents, represented the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) District 142, have ratified a new six-year contract. The new agreement covers approximately 600 Ramp Service and Stores Agent employees at the carrier and was approved by 91 percent of those voting.

The accord includes a 10 percent base wage hike over the term of the agreement, enhanced merger and job protection, $2,000 in signing bonuses, increased premium pay and improved benefits and work-rules.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing. Alaska Airlines’ Boeing 737-490 N706AS (msn 28894) in the unique Disneyland-Make-A-Wish special color scheme completes its final approach into Los Angeles International Airport.

Alaska Airlines: