Tag Archives: Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines secures nearly $1.2 billion in private funding

Alaska Airlines has secured nearly $1.2 billion in private loans to further secure its financial stability and future during the COVID-19 recovery period, while balancing the appropriate amount of liquidity. The debt financing will be funded on or around July 2.

As part of an Enhanced Equipment Trust Certificate (EETC) offering, Alaska will use 61 of its owned aircraft as collateral to back the debt: 26 Boeing 737-800s, 16 Boeing 737-900ERs and 19 Embraer 175s.

The aircraft will remain encumbered until the debt is repaid: Series A ($966 million) will be repaid by Aug. 15, 2027, and Series B ($208 million) will be repaid by Aug. 15, 2025.

“We’re proud of what our people have built at Alaska. Because of our long-standing commitment to conservative financial management and a strong balance sheet, we were fortunate to see strong demand for our offering,” said Shane Tackett, Alaska’s executive vice president of finance and chief financial officer. “With this financing and the actions we’ve taken to reduce our cash burn rate, we’ve created a liquidity runway that rivals our strongest competitors.”

As part of the Payroll Support Program (PSP) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, McGee Air Services, a wholly owned ground services subsidiary of Alaska Airlines that operates independently, has also received nearly $30 million in funding. This is in addition to the $992 million in the form of a $725 million grant and a $267 million loan that Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air jointly received to be exclusively used to pay employee salaries, wages and benefits through Sept. 30.

Alaska Airlines announces heightened mask enforcement

Alaska Airlines has made this announcement:

For the safety and health of everyone on board its flights, Alaska Airlines has announced on June 30 that its flight attendants will be able to issue a final notice to any guest who repeatedly refuses to wear a mask or face covering.

With that warning – in the form of a yellow card handed to them – the guest’s travel will be reviewed and could be suspended for a period. It’s a decision that would not be made lightly.

The airline also made this announcement on its blog:

We take the use of masks and face coverings very seriously, like we do for any safety, health and well-being issue for our guests and employees.

Overwhelmingly, those who fly with us understand and appreciate the importance of wearing masks and face coverings during this time of COVID-19. We also rely heavily on our guests to do the right thing for the greater good of everyone onboard our flights.

Our flight crews encounter moments when some travelers disregard or disobey our mask requirement. It creates tension and anxiety for many of our passengers who do have their face coverings on. So, a change is needed.

Starting in early July, our flight attendants will be empowered to issue a final notice to any guest who repeatedly refuses to wear a mask or face covering on board our aircraft. With that warning – in the form of a yellow card handed to them – the guest’s travel with us will be reviewed and could be suspended for a period. That would be a decision we do not take lightly. By working together, we do more for the common good.

“We take pride in our excellent customer service, a main reason so many of our guests enjoy flying with us. That stays the same,” said Ben Minicucci, Alaska’s president. “We’re counting on both our guests and employees to be considerate of one another to wear face coverings and contribute to our constant effort to keep everyone healthy and safe.”

We understand not everyone is able to wear a face covering when traveling. A few exceptions include children under age 2; anyone with a medical issue that creates trouble breathing; anyone who cannot remove a mask without assistance; or anyone with a disability that prevents wearing a mask. (It’s okay if the mask is temporarily adjusted to eat and drink while in your seat.)

Another reminder of how seriously we take our mask enforcement policy begins on June 30. All of our guests will be asked during check-in to sign off on a required health agreement to acknowledge and attest to their willingness to adhere to the mask policy.

For guests who might forget their own mask, we will have them available upon request. Starting in July, we’ll also provide individual hand-sanitizer wipes on board.

We’ve recently made significant investments in enhanced cleaning procedures, hospital-grade air filtration systems and other approaches to ensure your safety throughout the travel journey.

We realize a piece of fabric across your nose and mouth is probably not your ideal way to travel. But if we all take that small step while flying, we’ll be better off in the long run.

Video:

Alaska Airlines adds the Embraer 175 jet to state of Alaska flying

Alaska Airlines will start flying the Embraer 175 jet aircraft in the state of Alaska starting in October 2020. The E175, operated by regional partner Horizon Air, will serve select markets in Alaska.

“Alaskans who have flown the E175 jet in the Lower 48 have frequently asked when they might see the plane in the state, and we’re thrilled the time has come,” said Marilyn Romano, regional vice president. “This jet gives us the flexibility to increase daily frequency between Anchorage and Fairbanks up to seven times a day, and to provide year-round service to King Salmon and Dillingham. In time, the new mix of aircraft will unlock other markets in the state for future service.”

The E175 aircraft compliments the current Boeing 737 mainline flying in, to and from the state of Alaska and is perfect for many communities where larger jets are not the best option.

With no middle seats, the regional jet is configured with 12 seats in first class, 12 in premium class and 52 in the main cabin. Onboard amenities include Wi-Fi access, and Alaska Beyond Entertainment, which includes free movies and TV shows direct to customer devices and power outlets in first class.

“This has been an especially challenging time for Alaskans with the pandemic and reduction of air service hitting residents hard,” said Romano. “We’ve served the unique needs of the Great Land for 88 years and introducing a new aircraft to our in-state fleet supports additional flying and keeps Alaskans connected within the state and beyond.”

Alaska Airlines recently added Boeing 737 service to Cold Bay, and started service one month early to King Salmon and Dillingham. Alaska Air Cargo also began serving Unalakleet earlier this month with our 737-700 freighters.

Video:

Alaska Horizon aircraft photo gallery:

Alaska Airlines expands Next-Level Care safety measures

Alaska Airlines today expanded Next-Level Care, the culmination of nearly 100 different measures put in place to enhance the safety and well-being of guests and employees.

Alaska Airlines today expanded Next-Level Care, the culmination of nearly 100 different measures put in place to enhance the safety and well-being of guests and employees.

“Caring for our guests and employees and ensuring their safety has always been our number one priority. COVID-19 has touched all of us in some way and it prompted us to fundamentally change the entire travel experience,” said Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden. “Next-Level Care has been informed by medical experts, employees and guests, to ensure our customers are safe, whenever they’re ready to fly.”

Drawing on the expertise of the UW Medicine’s infectious disease experts, Alaska Airlines’ long-time medical advisors, guests flying today will notice changes designed with safety and comfort in mind:

  • Pre-travel and wellness agreement: Guests are encouraged to use the Alaska mobile app to enjoy a smooth and contactless trip. Starting June 30, flyers will be required to complete a health agreement during check-in and verify that they haven’t exhibited COVID-19 symptoms in the past 72 hours, come into contact with someone who is symptomatic and agree to bring and wear a face mask or covering.
  • Physical distancing onboard: Guests can enjoy extra space on board. Through July 31, middle seats are blocked and flights will be capped at 65% capacity to allow for extra space between guests not traveling together. Families or large groups can request to sit together by calling Reservations.
  • Guest and employee face masks and hand sanitizer: Face masks are required for all guests 12 and over, and for all airline employees. Customers are expected to bring their own mask and wear it at the airport and during their flight. Additional supplies are available for anyone who forgets a face covering. Hand sanitizer is available throughout the airport including the lobby and gate areas. Personal hand sanitizing wipes will be available onboard starting in July.
  • HEPA air filters: With one of the newest fleets in the country, Alaska’s planes have the latest air filtration technology. Planes are equipped with two hospital-grade HEPA filters that remove 99.95% of airborne contaminants like COVID-19. The air filtration system cycles outside air on board to fully refresh cabin air every three minutes. Studies have shown with frequent air recirculation, cabin air filtration is comparable to the air quality found in hospitals. Guests can enjoy additional filtered air by opening their personal air vent after boarding.
  • Enhanced cleaning: Alaska Airlines is exceeding CDC cleaning guidelines, using high-grade, EPA-certified disinfectant to clean critical areas throughout the plane. Overnight every plane receives a deep clean and all surfaces, including high-touch areas, are sanitized.
  • Electrostatic sprayers: In addition to traditional cleaning with high-level disinfectant, planes are sanitized with electrostatic sprayers that disinfect surfaces throughout the cabin. The electrostatic sprayer allows the disinfectant to wrap around and cling to curved and cornered surfaces for an additional level of protection.
  • Safety measures at airports: Employees clean all surfaces throughout the airport including counters, kiosks and other high-traffic areas several times a day. Social distancing decals have been placed throughout the airport to remind people to “Mind Your Wingspan.” The stickers span six feet apart and help minimize crowding and promote distancing at ticketing counters, baggage drops, customer service centers and gate areas.
  • Boarding changes: At the gate, guests now board by row numbers in smaller groups, from the back to the front, to enable appropriate spacing.
  • Limited onboard service: To reduce interaction between flight crews and guests, inflight food and beverage service has been temporarily reduced. Flyers may bring their own snacks and water bottles to #FillBeforeYouFly. All seatback content except for the safety card has been removed to limit the spread of germs. Alaska’s Beyond Entertainment is still free for guests to enjoy hundreds of movies and TV shows streamed directly to their device.
  • Peace of mind policies: Change and cancellation fees are waived for travel for tickets purchased before June 30, 2020. Current elite status will be extended through 2021. Elite-qualifying miles earned between January-April 2020 will be rolled into 2021 to give guests a head start on earning status for 2022. Additionally, all active Lounge memberships as of April 1 will be extended by six months.

These are some of the nearly 100 policies, procedures and actions that together offer guests and employees layers of safety and it’s making a difference. In post-flight surveys of guests last month, 82% shared that they experienced a safe and healthy environment and 95% said their seat area was clean.

Alaska Airlines consults with UW Medicine medical advisors Dr. John Lynch and Dr. Chloe Bryson-Cahn, both UW Medicine infectious diseases physicians and infection prevention experts.

“People should think of flying the same way that they would when they shop at a grocery store,” said Bryson-Cahn. “Wear a mask, wash your hands, or use hand sanitizer, cover your cough and stay home if you have any COVID-19 symptoms. We’re all in this together.”

Alaska Airlines to offer a 50% bonus of elite qualifying miles

Alaska Airlines has made this announcement:

Starting today, Alaska Airlines customers and members of the award-winning Mileage Plan have three new promotions to enjoy. In addition to guaranteeing 2020 elite status through 2021, the airline is extending a 50% bonus of elite qualifying miles for flights taken through the end of the year. Plus, for the first time ever, Alaska Airlines Visa® cardholders can use their card to earn elite qualifying miles, and consumer cardholders can earn double miles for qualifying restaurant purchases.

50% Bonus of Elite Qualifying Miles – Limited Time Offer

  • For all flights completed June 1 through Dec. 31, 2020, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members will receive a 50% bonus of elite qualifying miles to help earn higher elite status more quickly. (*Registration isn’t required for this special, limited time offer.)

Alaska Airlines Visa Cardholders – First Time Limited Time Offers

  • Earn toward status while you spend. Cardholders can earn 2,500 elite qualifying miles for every $5,000spent on purchases with an Alaska Airlines consumer or business Visa card from June 1 through Sept. 30, 2020, up to a maximum of 10,000 elite qualifying miles per cardholder.
  • Want to support your favorite local restaurants? Alaska Visa consumer cardholders can earn two miles for every dollar spent, up to $1,500, at restaurants and take-out, including delivery services from June 1 through July 31, 2020.

Alaska’s Mileage Plan features 16 global partners, which fly to more than 800 destinations around the world.

Propeller Airports to close Paine Field terminal until August 1

Propeller Airports has announced it will close the Paine Field terminal until August 1. All passenger services will be suspended from May 22 through July 31.

The company will use the closure time to complete aircraft ramp maintenance and repairs.

Previously Alaska Airlines had announced it was reducing service at PAE to just one flight a day due to low demand.

First Copper River salmon arrives safely in Seattle

From Alaska Airlines blog:

Photos by Ingrid Barrentine

Alaska Airlines Captain Brent Carricaburu presenting the first Copper River salmon, which weighed in at 33 pounds.

One taste is all it takes to fall in love with Copper River salmon. Known for its bright orange or red color and mouthwatering taste, anyone lucky enough to enjoy a fresh filet of this wild, not farmed, fish won’t be disappointed by its flavor and freshness.

The salmon made its way from the state of Alaska to Seattle this morning by Alaska Air Cargo – the first of many shipments expected this season, which runs now through September.

“Alaska Air Cargo has long been a partner of the Alaska seafood industry,” said Torque Zubeck, managing director of cargo for Alaska Airlines. “Now more than ever, we provide a critical service that directly impacts the economic vitality of the region. In Cordova alone, more than half of its 2,200 residents are directly involved in the fishery or related business and industry.”

Photos:

More than 200 health care workers at Swedish Medical Center – Ballard will be among the first to enjoy the season’s first catch of prized Copper River salmon in appreciation for their efforts to help stop the coronavirus.

Alaska Airlines, Trident Seafoods, Ocean Beauty Seafoods, and Copper River Seafoods – the region’s largest seafood processors, Copper River Marketing Association and famed Seattle chef Tom Douglas are partnering to provide a delicious meal to health care workers, as well as  feed the community while raising money for Food Lifeline.

Safety from first catch to delivery

With guidance from government and medical professionals, Trident Seafoods CEO Joe Bundrant, along with others in the fishing industry, put extraordinary workforce and community protection measures in place, with the goal of  ensuring a safe and successful season this year.

“Our No. 1 priority at Trident Seafoods is keeping our communities, our employees and our fishermen safe,” said Bundrant. “We are doing everything in our power to deliver seafood safely and in record time to allow our customers to enjoy our Alaska salmon products fresh and ready to serve thanks to Alaska Air Cargo.”

To keep our employees safe and to align with Centers for Disease Control recommendation, Alaska Air Cargo employees who cannot maintain six feet of social distance during interaction with co-workers have also started to wear face coverings.

Alaska Air Cargo employees begin to unload Copper River salmon, part of the first shipment to arrive in Seattle.

Grant Aviation to fly for Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines is partnering with Grant Aviation to partially fill the void left by the demise and bankruptcy of Ravn Alaska on April 5, 2020.

Staring on May 16, 2020, Grant Aviation will begin flying the Anchorage-Cold Bay-Unalaska (Dutch Harbor) route under a codeshare agreement with Alaska Airlines. The route will operate twice-weekly for now.

Alaska Air Group reports first quarter 2020 results; COVID-19 response

Alaska Air Group issued this report:

Financial Results:

  • Reported net loss for the first quarter of 2020 under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) of $232 million, or $1.87 per diluted share, compared to net income of $4 million, or $0.03 per diluted share in the first quarter of 2019.
  • Reported net loss for the first quarter of 2020, excluding impairment charges, merger-related costs and mark-to-market fuel hedge accounting adjustments, of $102 million, or $0.82 per diluted share, compared to net income of $21 million or $0.17 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2019.
  • Reported impairment and other related charges of $160 million before tax related to certain aircraft, aircraft parts, and intangible assets.

COVID-19 Impacts and Response:
The impacts of COVID-19 on our business have been unprecedented. Demand deterioration began in February, and in March cancellations overwhelmed new bookings. Today demand remains over 90% below normal levels. Alaska Air Group’s priorities as it continues to manage through this crisis are to ensure the health and safety of guests and employees, to preserve financial strength, and to plan for the future of the company. The following are key actions taken to date:

Guests and Employees

  • Implemented enhanced cleaning procedures on aircraft, including the use of high-grade, EPA-registered disinfectants and electrostatic sanitizing spray. Additionally, all planes are equipped with hospital-grade HEPA filters.
  • Taken additional steps to ensure guest health and safety including limiting load factors and seat availability, and reducing most in-flight services and requiring flight attendants and customer service agents to utilize masks.
  • Requiring face masks for guests starting May 11 and for employees who cannot maintain six feet of social distance from guests or coworkers starting May 4. This includes pilots, flight attendants and customer service agents.
  • Extended elite Mileage Plan status to all members until Dec. 31, 2021, and offered for all 2020 qualifying miles to apply to 2021 status achievement.
  • Provided guests with a “Peace of Mind” waiver, allowing changes to ticketed travel without change or cancellation fees.
  • Utilized our dedicated fleet of cargo freighter to transport essential supplies from Seattle and throughout Alaska.
  • Donated 1 million meals to address food insecurity across our network, and 1 million LIFT miles to transport medical staff free of charge to respond to COVID-19. The airlines continue to support transportation of essential supplies through air cargo services.

Fleet and Network

  • Flown capacity in April decreased more than 80% compared to the prior year, and capacity cuts in May will also be at least 80%. We continue to expect capacity cuts in June to be significant.
  • Parked 156 mainline aircraft and 13 Horizon Air aircraft, and suspended flying for 8 SkyWest Airlines aircraft.

Cash Preservation and Expense Reduction

  • Held $2.1 billion in unrestricted cash and marketable securities as of March 31, 2020.
  • As of May 4, 2020, held $2.9 billion in cash and marketable securities, including Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act Payroll Support Program (PSP) funds received in April.
  • Drew $400 million from existing credit facilities, and executed an agreement for a $425 million 364-day term loan facility.
  • Obtained an additional $50 million in secured financing on April 22, 2020.
  • Enacted a company-wide hiring freeze for all non-essential positions, reduced salaries of senior management and offered  voluntary short-term and incentive leave programs accepted by more than 5,000 employees.
  • Reduced cash burn from $400 million per month in March to $260 million in April, with the goal of reaching $200 million in June.
  • Suspended over $500 million in capital spending, largely through the deferral of pre-delivery aircraft payments and non-aircraft capital projects.
  • Negotiated payment extensions or reductions with lessors, vendors and airports.
  • Suspended stock repurchases and future dividend payments.

CARES Act Assistance

  • Reached an agreement with the U.S. Treasury to receive support under the CARES Act PSP and received $992 million in funding on April 23, 2020.
  • Applied to participate in the Loan Program of the CARES Act, which would give Air Group the option to access up to $1.1 billion in federal loans through Sept. 30, 2020.

Alaska Air Group Inc. today reported first quarter 2020 GAAP net loss of $232 million, or $1.87 per diluted share, compared to net income of $4 million, or $0.03 per diluted share in the first quarter of 2019. Excluding the impact of impairment charges,  merger-related costs and mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustments, the company reported adjusted net loss of $102 million, or $0.82 per diluted share, compared to adjusted net income of $21 million, or $0.17 per diluted share in 2019.

“In the face of one of the greatest challenges in the history of commercial aviation, our people at Alaska and Horizon are doing extraordinary work to respond to this crisis,” said Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden. “I want to thank each of them for everything they’re doing to serve our guests and to preserve the integrity of our operation. I also want to thank our leadership team for acting swiftly and courageously to reduce our cash burn rate and give us the best chance possible to navigate through this storm and capitalize on opportunities we may see on the other side. Alaska has been here for more than 88 years, serving our customers and communities, and providing good jobs for our people. Our commitment is to ensure this continues, and to emerge from this crisis better and stronger.”

Alaska Airlines aircraft photo gallery:

Alaska Airlines to require face masks for frontline employees and flyers

Alaska Airlines has made this announcement:

To align with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations and to keep employees and guests safe, face masks will be mandatory for guests starting May 11 and for Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air employees who cannot maintain six feet of social distance from guests or co-workers, starting May 4. This includes pilots, flight attendants and customer service agents.

Guests will be expected a to bring their own mask and will be required to wear it throughout the airport and flight experience. Additional supplies will be available for anyone who forgets a face mask. Specific details about the face mask requirements will be shared with guests later next week and in pre-trip communications before their date of travel. The temporary policy will be reevaluated periodically as guidance evolves.

The face mask requirements are a few of several safety and social distancing measures Alaska Airlines is taking at the airport and in the air to support our employees and guests.

Other measures include:

  • Expanded enhanced cleaning on flights, which includes use of high-grade, EPA registered disinfectants to sanitize critical touchpoints like tray tables, seat belts, overhead bins, armrests and lavatories.
  • Expanded use of electrostatic sanitizing spray to disinfect aircraft interiors.
  • Limiting the number of passengers onboard and blocking middle seats on large aircraft and aisle seats on small aircraft through May 31, 2020.
  • Enhanced and more frequent cleaning of airport counters, lounges and high-traffic areas.
  • Social distancing floor decals rolled out this week at airports to remind guests and employees to remain separated by at least six feet.
  • Providing disposable surgical and re-usable fabric masks for employees.
  • Continued use of hospital-grade air filters on all planes. These HEPA filters are proven effective in removing airborne particles and cycle new air into the cabin every three minutes.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything, and that includes how we fly. Safety is our number one priority and wearing masks will make air travel safer for everyone. We’re all in this together,” said Jeffrey Peterson, president of Alaska Airlines Master Executive Council, Association of Flight Attendants.

Alaska Airlines and its regional partners serve more than 115 destinations across the United States and North America, providing essential air service for our guests along with moving crucial cargo shipments, such as food, medicine, mail and e-commerce deliveries. With hubs in Seattle; San Francisco; Los Angeles; Portland, Oregon; and Anchorage, Alaska, the airline is known for low fares, award-winning customer service and sustainability efforts. With Alaska and its Global Partners, guests can earn and redeem miles on flights to more than 800 destinations worldwide. Learn more about Alaska at newsroom.alaskaair.com and blog.alaskaair.com. Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air are subsidiaries of Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK).

 

To encourage social distancing, Alaska Airlines is installing floor decals at airports to remind flyers and employees to remain separated by at least six feet.

Alaska Airlines is installing social distancing floor decals at airports to remind guests and employees to remain separated by at least six feet.

SOURCE Alaska Airlines