Tag Archives: Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines expands First Class and main cabin meals, snacks and drinks

Alaska Airlines made this announcement:

As more of our guests fly again, Alaska Airlines is thoughtfully and safely expanding food and beverage service on our flights, part of a process that started earlier this year. With our reinvigorated service, we’re now offering an expanded selection of freshly prepared, West Coast inspired First Class meals on all flights more than 670 miles and hot meals on flights longer than 1,100 miles. Premium Class and main cabin guests can pre-order freshly prepared wraps or our famous Fruit and Cheese platter on all flights over 1,100 miles and packaged snacks on shorter flights. A full beverage service including Starbucks Coffee, Teavana Tea, individual cans of soda, craft beer West Coast wines and premium spirits are available in all cabins on flights more than 400 miles.

Alaska Airlines’ Signature Fruit and Cheese Platter.

Enhancements to our food and beverage service include:

  • Expanded hot meal options in First Class during breakfast, lunch and dinner service on mainline flights longer than 1,100 miles. New seasonal entrees include Guajillo Chile-Lime Salad with ancient grains, roasted broccoli and sweet potato with a roasted lemon crema, and Miso Marinated Cod with sesame garlic farro, sauteed yu choy, bell peppers and shitake mushrooms in a sesame-miso butter sauce. Guests can choose from three menu selections on all meal flights.

    Alaska Airlines’ Marinated Miso Cod entrée.

  • Full tray service in First Class – including Schoenwald porcelain and compostable linen and silverware – has resumed on routes longer than 670 miles.
  • We offer a full selection of alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages available in all cabins with multiple cart services on flights more than 1,100 miles. We feature craft beer by Fremont Brewing, and as a new summer beer option we’re serving Kona Longboard Island Lager on board. Plus, we serve West Coast wines curated exclusively for us from Broken Earth Winery in Paso Robles, California, and Canoe Ridge Vineyard in Columbia Valley, Washington.
  • We make pre-ordering easy so our guests can rest assured they’ll get their favorites. With our industry leading pre-order program, selecting First Class and main cabin meals from our mobile app can happen two weeks before a flight and up to one hour prior to departure. That includes pre-ordering our popular Fruit and Cheese Platter.
  • On our shorter flights between 670-1,099 miles, we’ve added more snacks. We’ve brought back our popular Northwest Deli Picnic Pack which includes Deep River potato chips, Old Wisconsin Turkey Stick, Madi K’s Whole Natural Almonds, Gilman White Cheddar Cheese Stick and Mandy’s Dark Chocolate Cookie Thins. The picnic packs can be pre-ordered up to one hour before departure and can also be purchased on board with a credit card or stored form of payment.
  • In First Class, guests are treated to a fully recyclable, box-shaped carton of water, sealed with a plant-based cap. Each Boxed Water carton is made from sustainably harvested trees and the multi-filtered water goes through a proprietary eight-step purification – giving it a clean, crisp taste.

Alaska Air Group reports second quarter 2021 results

Alaska Air Group issued this financial statement for the second quarter:

Financial Results:

  • Reported net income for the second quarter of 2021 under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) of $397 million, or $3.15 per share, compared to a net loss of $214 million, or $1.74 per share in the second quarter of 2020.
  • Reported a net loss for the second quarter of 2021, excluding CARES Act Payroll Support Program (PSP) wage offsets, special items and mark-to-market fuel hedge accounting adjustments, of $38 million, or $0.30 per share, compared to an adjusted net loss of $439 million or $3.57 per share, in the second quarter of 2020.
  • Reported a debt-to-capitalization ratio, including short-term borrowings related to COVID-19, of 56%.
  • Held $4.0 billion in unrestricted cash and marketable securities as of June 30, 2021.
  • Generated $840 million in operating cash flow in the second quarter, inclusive of $489 million of PSP funding, bolstered by improved advance bookings on a surge in demand for air travel. Excluding PSP funding, quarterly operating cash flows improved over $580 million from the first quarter of 2021.

Operational Updates:

  • Announced plans to grow our mainline and regional fleets, exercising options for 13 Boeing 737-9 MAX with deliveries in 2023 and 2024, and nine E175 to be operated by Horizon Air with deliveries in 2022 and 2023. In addition, expanded our long-term capacity agreement with SkyWest Airlines by eight aircraft to be delivered in 2022.
  • Announced new service to Central America with new routes to Belize from Seattle and Los Angeles, with service slated to begin in November 2021.
  • Issued recall notices to all pilots on incentive lines for return to work by October 2021.
  • Continued our history of providing meaningful incentive programs to our employees with $67 million in cash bonuses earned to date.
  • Announced seven new domestic routes aimed at providing our West Coast guests more options to sun-filled destinations, including three new routes serving Boise, Idaho.

Liquidity Updates:

  • Received $664 million through a combination of grants and loans from the U.S. Treasury under an extension of the PSP.
  • Repaid approximately $570 million in debt, including the full $135 million loan from the U.S. Treasury made available under the CARES Act and the $363 million outstanding balance on two credit facilities.

Sustainability Updates:

  • Announced five-part pathway to achieve a net zero carbon footprint by 2040, putting the airline on track to meet the annual carbon intensity target that is part of its performance-based pay program for all employees.
  • First airline to implement network optimization software, Flyways, using artificial intelligence and machine learning to optimize air traffic and enable more fuel-efficient flight paths for aggregate savings of fuel, carbon emissions and time.
  • Partnered with Boeing to launch a 737-9 ecoDemonstrator to test advanced technologies that can enhance the safety and sustainability of air travel.  The aircraft will conduct five months of flight tests across the U.S.
  • Revealed “Our Commitment” aircraft in partnership with long-time partner UNCF, a symbol of the airline’s commitments to increase diverse representation in our leadership, advance education as a critical component of equity, and to make Alaska Airlines a place where everyone feels they belong.

Alaska Air Group Inc. today reported second quarter 2021 GAAP net income of $397 million, or $3.15 per share, compared to a net loss of $214 million, or $1.74 per share in the second quarter of 2020. Excluding the impact of payroll support program wage offsets, special items and mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustments, the company reported an adjusted net loss of $38 million, or $0.30 per diluted share, compared to an adjusted net loss of $439 million, or $3.57 per diluted share in 2020.

“As we put the worst of last year’s downturn behind us, Alaska is back on the path to profitability,” said CEO Ben Minicucci. “We are executing our plan, rebuilding our network, leveraging our capacity to meet growing demand, and delivering exceptional service and value to our guests. I’m incredibly proud and grateful for how hard our employees are working and how they show up for each other and our guests every day with focus on safety, operational excellence and care.”

The following table reconciles the company’s reported GAAP net income (loss) per share (EPS) for the three and six months ended June 30, 2021 and 2020 to adjusted amounts.

Three Months Ended June 30,
2021 2020
(in millions, except per-share amounts) Dollars Diluted EPS Dollars Diluted EPS
GAAP net income (loss) per share $ 397 $ 3.15 $ (214) $ (1.74)
Payroll support program wage offset (503) (3.99) (362) (2.94)
Mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustments (46) (0.37) (6) (0.05)
Special items – impairment charges and other (4) (0.03) 69 0.56
Special items – restructuring charges (23) (0.18)
Special items – merger-related costs 1 0.01
Income tax effect of reconciling items above 141 1.12 73 0.59
Non-GAAP adjusted net loss per share $ (38) $ (0.30) $ (439) $ (3.57)
Six Months Ended June 30,
2021 2020
(in millions, except per-share amounts) Dollars Diluted EPS Dollars Diluted EPS
GAAP net income (loss) per share $ 266 $ 2.12 $ (446) $ (3.62)
Payroll support program wage offset (914) (7.27) (362) (2.94)
Mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustments (68) (0.54) 3 0.02
Special items – impairment charges and other 14 0.11 229 1.86
Special items – restructuring charges (12) (0.10)
Special items – merger-related costs 4 0.03
Income tax effect of reconciling items above 240 1.91 31 0.25
Non-GAAP adjusted net loss per share $ (474) $ (3.77) $ (541) $ (4.40)

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.

A conference call regarding the second quarter results will be streamed online at 8:30 a.m. PDT on July 22, 2021. It can be accessed at www.alaskaair.com/investors. For those unable to listen to the live broadcast, a replay will be available after the conclusion of the call.

References in this update to “Air Group,” “Company,” “we,” “us,” and “our” refer to Alaska Air Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries, unless otherwise specified.

This news release may contain forward-looking statements subject to the safe harbor protection provided by Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements relate to future events and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause actual outcomes to be materially different from those indicated by any forward-looking statements.  For a comprehensive discussion of potential risk factors, see Item 1A of the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020. Some of these risks include the risks associated with contagious illnesses and contagion, such as COVID-19, general economic conditions, increases in operating costs including fuel, competition, labor costs and relations, our indebtedness, inability to meet cost reduction goals, seasonal fluctuations in our financial results, an aircraft accident, and changes in laws and regulations. All of the forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety by reference to the risk factors discussed therein. We operate in a continually changing business environment, and new risk factors emerge from time to time. Management cannot predict such new risk factors, nor can it assess the impact, if any, of such new risk factors on our business or events described in any forward-looking statements. We expressly disclaim any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements after the date of this report to conform them to actual results. Over time, our actual results, performance or achievements will likely differ from the anticipated results, performance, or achievements that are expressed or implied by our forward-looking statements, and such differences might be significant and materially adverse.

Alaska Airlines and its regional partners serve more than 120 destinations across the United States and to Mexico, Canada and Costa Rica. The airline emphasizes Next-Level Care for its guests, along with providing low fares, award-winning customer service and sustainability efforts. Alaska is a member of oneworld. With the global alliance and the airline’s additional partners, guests can travel to more than 1,000 destinations on more than 20 airlines while earning and redeeming miles on flights to locations around the world. 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).

CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS (unaudited)
Alaska Air Group, Inc.
Three Months Ended June 30, Six Months Ended June 30,
(in millions, except per-share amounts) 2021 2020 Change 2021 2020 Change
Operating Revenues:
Passenger revenue $ 1,352 $ 309 338 % $ 2,011 $ 1,790 12 %
Mileage Plan other revenue 118 73 <td style=”font-family: arial, verdana; BORDER-BOTTOM: 1pt; BORDER-LEFT

First Look: The Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-9 MAX 9 Boeing ecoDemonstrator

Boeing ecoDemonstrator, will become N979AK

Alaska Airlines is getting ready to take delivery of a new MAX 9. Previously destined to go to Corendon Dutch Airlines as PH-CDK, the airframe is now being prepared for Alaska as N979AK. The aircraft is painted in this special Boeing ecoDemonstrator livery. Pictured is the right side.

As previously reported, Boeing and Alaska Airlines announced they are partnering on the latest Boeing ecoDemonstrator program and will flight test about 20 technologies on a new 737-9 to enhance the safety and sustainability of air travel.

In flights beginning this summer, Boeing and Alaska will test a new halon-free fire-extinguishing agent that significantly reduces effects on the ozone layer, evaluate an engine nacelle designed to reduce noise and assess cabin sidewalls made from recycled material, among other projects.

Since 2012, the ecoDemonstrator program has accelerated innovation by taking nearly 200 promising technologies out of the lab and testing them in the air to address challenges for the aviation industry and improve the passenger experience.

In five months of ecoDemonstrator flight tests, Boeing and Alaska will work with nine other partners to test new technologies. After tests are complete, the airplane will be configured for passenger service and delivered to Alaska. The program’s technologies include:

  • Testing a new fire extinguishing agent for aircraft that significantly reduces effects on the ozone layer. This material is intended to replace Halon 1301, which is no longer being produced.
  • Collaborating with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to measure greenhouse-gas levels in the atmosphere to support the agency’s climate modeling and long-term forecasting.
  • Evaluating acoustic lining concepts within the engine nacelle that may reduce noise on current engines and will inform designs for next-generation models.
  • Recycling carbon composite material from Boeing 777X wing production into a cabin sidewall panel. This durable, light material would reduce fuel use and carbon emissions, and supports Boeing’s goals for sustainable manufacturing.

Boeing’s current and future airplanes leverage a number of technologies evaluated in previous ecoDemonstrator testing, including:

  • Advanced Technology winglets on the 737 MAX family that reduce fuel use and emissions.
  • iPad apps that provide real-time weather and other data to pilots, improving fuel efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions. These apps complement digital analytics services Boeing offers to help airlines optimize fleet utilization.
  • A camera system on the new 777X that will enhance safety by helping pilots avoid obstacles on the ground.

ecoDemonstrator test flights are flown on a blend of petroleum-based and sustainable aviation fuel. SAF is in regular use today, reduces life-cycle CO2 emissions by up to 80%, and offers the most immediate and greatest potential to reduce emissions over the next 20 to 30 years in all commercial aviation markets.

In January this year, Boeing committed to make sure its commercial airplanes are capable and certified to fly on 100% SAF by 2030. The company also plans to work with regulatory authorities and across the industry to raise the current 50% blending limit for expanded use of SAF. Boeing’s 2018 ecoDemonstrator 777 Freighter made history as the world’s first commercial airliner to fly on 100% sustainable fuel.

Top Copyright Photo: Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-9 MAX 9 N60436 (N979AK) (msn 43393) (Boeing ecoDemonstrator) BFI (Joe G. Walker). Image: 954398.

Alaska Airlines launches new codeshare agreement with Qatar Airways

"Fly with Pride", unveiled on June 15, 2021

Alaska Airlines has made this announcement:

As Alaska Airlines expands its global reach with our oneworld partners, we proudly announced today the launch of a codeshare agreement with Qatar Airways, a fellow member of the alliance, that further strengthens the partnership between the two airlines and provides travelers with exciting and convenient options.

Beginning July 1, the agreement allows passengers on Qatar Airways to book travel and easily connect to more than 150 routes throughout Alaska’s network. On the West Coast, Qatar Airways has nonstop service connecting its main hub in Doha to three of Alaska’s primary gateway cities – Los Angeles with twice daily flights, and daily flights at San Francisco and Seattle – allowing for seamless connectivity.

Alaska launched its partnership with Qatar Airways on Dec. 15, 2020, with the ability for our Mileage Plan members to earn miles on Qatar Airways flights. On March 31, 2021, Alaska officially joined oneworld and expanded its partnership with Qatar Airways to provide elite benefits reciprocally, including preferred seat selection; priority check-in, security and boarding; lounge access and extra baggage allowance. Qatar Airways has been a member of oneworld since 2013.

In the coming months, Alaska’s guests will be able to book travel on Qatar Airways flights between the U.S. and Qatar and beyond to their favorite destinations in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.

Top Copyright Photo: Alaska Airlines Airbus A320-214 N854VA (msn 5058) (Fly with Pride) SEA (Nick Dean). Image: 954265.

Alaska Airlines grows in Boise, Idaho

Alaska Airlines made this announcement:

Boise is booming! And Alaska Airlines keeps growing in the dynamic city where we’ve long been the largest carrier. We’re flying our guests in Idaho’s Treasure Valley to the places they’re eager to visit. Starting today, we’re launching daily nonstop service between Boise and Chicago O’Hare, and Boise and Austin. Also today, we’re announcing new nonstop flying between Boise and Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport in Washington, and Boise and Phoenix.

Newly added flights

Start
Date
End
Date
City Pair Departs Arrives Frequency Aircraft
Aug. 17 Boise –

Pullman-Moscow

11:10 a.m. 11:15 a.m. 5x/Weekly Q400
Aug. 17 Pullman-Moscow –
Boise
11:55 a.m. 1:34 p.m. 5x/Weekly Q400
Nov. 19 April 18 Boise – Phoenix 10:30 a.m. 12:30 p.m. Daily E175
Nov. 19 April 18 Phoenix – Boise 1:10 p.m. 4:15 p.m. Daily E175

Flight times based on local times.

Alaska honors the legacy of long-time CEO Brad Tilden with a subtle registration change

Alaska Airlines is honoring the legacy of its former long-time CEO Brad Tilden (right below) with the next MAX 9 delivery.

Photo: Alaska Airlines.
The pictured Boeing 737-9 MAX 9 was originally registered as N920AK (msn 44088, ln 8066), but it is now registered as N291BT.

Executives from Alaska Airlines and Boeing sign the agreement. (From left to right: Stan Deal, Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO; Ihssane Mounir, Boeing Vice President of Commercial Sales and Marketing; Ben Minicucci, Alaska Airlines President; and Brad Tilden, Alaska Air Group CEO.)

For the first flight on June 14, 2021 the new registration was applied over the original when photographed.
Copyright Photo: Joe G. Walker.
The aircraft also still bears the fleet number of 920 on the nose gear door and above the cockpit windows.   It is presumed that these numbers will be changed and name added prior to handover to the carrier.
Joe G. Walker reporting from Seattle.

Alaska Airlines unveils an Airbus A320 in a “Pride Plane” special livery on N854VA

Alaska Airlines announced on social media it had unveiled a “Fly with Pride” special livery on its Airbus A320-214 N854VA with this statement and photos:

Our Pride flies nonstop. Literally! We are longtime supporters of the LGBTQ+ community, and we’re proud to share our newest special aircraft, which was inspired by leaders of Alaska’s LGBTQ+ employee group to encourage conversations around belonging, equity and equality.

The design features airplane decals with iconic rainbow stripes & inclusive colors such as brown, black, light blue, white & pink to represent BIPOC & Transgender communities. Without those groups of people & their activism, we would not have Pride today.

Previously on June 4, 2021 the company issued this statement on the ACLU Letter:

Alaska Airlines has been a longtime supporter of the LGBTQ+ community. We have been a leader in the industry when it comes to inclusivity in our uniform and grooming standards, which have been informed by our employees and developed in accordance with federal and state laws.

We are committed to making Alaska a place where everyone feels respected and belongs and proudly celebrate the diversity of our employees this Pride month and all year long.

Over the past year, we have introduced several new guidelines designed to give our flight attendants more inclusive uniform options. Since early 2020, all flight attendants have been able to order any pant or parka style and have been able to select the uniform kit of their choice, regardless of gender identity. Starting later this month, we are set to introduce the ability to order these items online, giving employees greater ease of choice in the uniform selection process. We will also implement new gender-neutral hair policies that will allow all flight attendants to wear their hair down when not handling food, regardless of gender. These are two of the latest policy changes we have made to make Alaska a more inclusive place to work.

We are committed to continuing to explore uniform and grooming standards for our flight attendants. We know we cannot do this alone, and appreciate the feedback and partnership we have with our flight attendant community.

The statement was in response to this letter sent to Alaska by the ACLU:

Alaska Airlines adds new flights to sun-filled spots this winter

Alaska Airlines has made this announcement:

Alaska Airlines is now offering several new nonstop routes to make it easier to escape to places known for wintertime sun and fun:

  • Just in time for the holidays, we’ll begin weekly, seasonal service between San Francisco and Cancun on Dec. 16, offering our Bay Area guests a convenient way to get away to eastern Mexico.
  • We’ll launch two new flights from Portland on Dec. 16 to Tampa and New Orleans – the only nonstops from the Rose City to these two Southern destinations. These routes are also seasonal service, each with several flights a week.
  • On Nov. 19, we’ll say howdy to another new route connecting Palm Springs and Austin. It’s the only nonstop flight between the heart of the Coachella Valley and the Texas capital with flights five times a week.

“Since March, our bookings for leisure travel have exceeded what they were before the pandemic. For many of our guests, there’s an increased confidence that comes after being vaccinated. They were cooped up for well over a year – now they’re ready to relax, enjoy and explore,” said Brett Catlin, vice president of network and alliances at Alaska Airlines. “With these new routes, we can whisk them away to destinations that have a warm sparkle in the wintertime.”

 

Start Date End

Date

City Pair  

Departs

 

Arrives

Frequency Aircraft
Nov. 19 April 18 Austin – Palm Springs 9 a.m. 10:35 a.m. 5x/Weekly E175
Nov. 19 April 18 Palm Springs – Austin 11:05 a.m. 4:10 p.m. 5x/Weekly E175
Dec. 16 April 18 San Francisco –Cancun 9:40 a.m. 5:55 p.m. Weekly 737
Dec. 16  

April 18

Cancun –

San Francisco

11 a.m. 2 p.m. Weekly 737
Dec. 16 April 18 Portland – Tampa 12:10 p.m. 8:29 p.m. 4x/Weekly 737
Dec. 16 April 18 Tampa – Portland 8 a.m. 11 a.m. 4x/Weekly 737
Dec. 16  

April 18

Portland –

New Orleans

12 p.m. 6:30 p.m. 3x/Weekly 737
Dec. 16  

April 18

 New Orleans –

Portland

8 a.m. 11:10 a.m. 3x/Weekly 737

All flight times are local.

These leisure routes are part of a series of new ones we’ve recently announced. With the addition of our new nonstop service to Belize from Los Angeles and Seattle this November, our guests have access to 42 more nonstops now than they did before the pandemic.

Alaska Airlines to join the Boeing ecoDemonstrator Program with a special 737-9 logo jet

Boeing made this announcement:

Boeing and Alaska Airlines announced today they are partnering on the latest Boeing ecoDemonstrator program and will flight test about 20 technologies on a new 737-9 to enhance the safety and sustainability of air travel.

In flights beginning this summer, Boeing and Alaska will test a new halon-free fire-extinguishing agent that significantly reduces effects on the ozone layer, evaluate an engine nacelle designed to reduce noise and assess cabin sidewalls made from recycled material, among other projects.

Since 2012, the ecoDemonstrator program has accelerated innovation by taking nearly 200 promising technologies out of the lab and testing them in the air to address challenges for the aviation industry and improve the passenger experience.

In five months of ecoDemonstrator flight tests, Boeing and Alaska will work with nine other partners to test new technologies. After tests are complete, the airplane will be configured for passenger service and delivered to Alaska. The program’s technologies include:

  • Testing a new fire extinguishing agent for aircraft that significantly reduces effects on the ozone layer. This material is intended to replace Halon 1301, which is no longer being produced.
  • Collaborating with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to measure greenhouse-gas levels in the atmosphere to support the agency’s climate modeling and long-term forecasting.
  • Evaluating acoustic lining concepts within the engine nacelle that may reduce noise on current engines and will inform designs for next-generation models.
  • Recycling carbon composite material from Boeing 777X wing production into a cabin sidewall panel. This durable, light material would reduce fuel use and carbon emissions, and supports Boeing’s goals for sustainable manufacturing.

Boeing’s current and future airplanes leverage a number of technologies evaluated in previous ecoDemonstrator testing, including:

  • Advanced Technology winglets on the 737 MAX family that reduce fuel use and emissions.
  • iPad apps that provide real-time weather and other data to pilots, improving fuel efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions. These apps complement digital analytics services Boeing offers to help airlines optimize fleet utilization.
  • A camera system on the new 777X that will enhance safety by helping pilots avoid obstacles on the ground.

ecoDemonstrator test flights are flown on a blend of petroleum-based and sustainable aviation fuel. SAF is in regular use today, reduces life-cycle CO2 emissions by up to 80%, and offers the most immediate and greatest potential to reduce emissions over the next 20 to 30 years in all commercial aviation markets.

In January this year, Boeing committed to make sure its commercial airplanes are capable and certified to fly on 100% SAF by 2030. The company also plans to work with regulatory authorities and across the industry to raise the current 50% blending limit for expanded use of SAF. Boeing’s 2018 ecoDemonstrator 777 Freighter made history as the world’s first commercial airliner to fly on 100% sustainable fuel.

More from NOAA:

NOAA and Boeing are teaming up to evaluate the best placement for a NOAA greenhouse gas sampling system on a commercial jet by testing options on a new Boeing 737 as part of Boeing’s 2021 ecoDemonstrator flying test bed program. This is a first step toward an expansion of NOAA’s global atmospheric sampling network to include commercial airliners in the U.S. and International airlines in these critical data-gathering efforts.

In the coming weeks, scientists with NOAA’s Global Monitoring Laboratory will oversee installation of three different air sampling inlet configurations on an Alaska Airlines 737-9, one of about 20 different technologies to be included in Boeing’s annual ecoDemonstrator program.

 

Image
NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network measures gas concentrations air samples from more than 50 ground based sampling locations around the world. NOAA also contracts with a small number of civilian pilots to collect airborne samples. Credit: NOAA Global Monitoring Laboratory

 

During test flights this summer and fall, NOAA scientists will be focused on identifying the best way to sample air outside the commercial airplane to minimize contamination. Air for greenhouse gas measurements will be collected from a duct that feeds outside air into the airplane’s interior, and from two inlets mounted in a window plug for comparison.

Goal: standardizing inlet location

“The ecoDemonstrator program provides NOAA an unparalleled opportunity to test our greenhouse gas sampling system on a civilian airliner,” said Colm Sweeney, lead scientist for the NOAA Global Monitoring Laboratory’s aircraft measurements program. “Standardizing the location and installation of greenhouse gas monitoring instruments on commercial aircraft will be an important first step in expanding our sampling network to provide data for scientists and policymakers interested in understanding greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change.”

For the past 10 years, Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator program has taken nearly 200 promising technologies out of the lab and tested them in the air to address challenges for the aviation industry and improve the passenger experience. Each year, the company selects a different aircraft for ecoDemonstrator flight testing by partnering with an airline or using a Boeing-owned aircraft. The NOAA project is one of several technologies being flight-tested this year that are related to environmental sustainability.

 

Image
Hiring private contractors to sample greenhouse gases from the air is an important aspect of NOAA’s climate research. Here, Paolo Wilczak pilots a sampling flight over southeastern Connecticut on April 25, 2020, as part of the East Coast Outflow field mission. The Global Monitoring Laboratory hopes to add civilian airliners to its sampling fleet. Credit: Paolo Wilczak, Scientific Aviation

 

The NOAA Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network measures the atmospheric distribution and trends of the three main, long-term drivers of climate change – carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide – along with carbon monoxide, an indicator of air pollution. The network collects samples from four baseline atmospheric observatories, as well as from 50 partner institutions and trained volunteers around the world. Since 1992, NOAA has contracted with a handful of private pilots who have collected air samples at a range of altitudes and locations across North America.

Data collected by aircraft provide a view of how the large-scale horizontal and vertical distribution of the measured gases change throughout a given year over the continent. This allows scientists to estimate the contribution of both natural and manmade emissions from the North America continent to the global atmosphere.

Added measurements would improve climate models

While NOAA’s current network of 14 U.S. land-based sites provide valuable scientific data for estimates made by models and satellites, scientists need to increase the number and location of samples to directly measure changes in natural and human-made emissions, and the effectiveness of policies designed to reduce climate change impacts.

NOAA’s ultimate goal is to install greenhouse gas measurement equipment on in-service aircraft to enhance its existing long-term greenhouse gas dataset, which informs policymakers and climate researchers around the world. U.S. commercial aircraft routinely collect weather observations, particularly vertical profiles of temperature and relative humidity captured on takeoff and landing, which have become increasingly important to improving short-term numerical weather models that forecasters rely on to predict severe weather.

“Greenhouse gas measurements made from U.S. commercial airliners would help scientists verify the effectiveness of mitigation efforts in urban areas near major metropolitan airports, and changes in natural emissions coming from melting permafrost near remote airports in the high Arctic,” said Kathryn McKain, the lead scientist for NOAA’s Commercial Aircraft Sampling Network.

Alaska Airlines to resume full schedule at Paine Field by spring 2022

"Honoring those who serve"

Alaska Airlines has made this announcement:

With increasing confidence that air travel is on a steady climb to return to pre-pandemic levels in the coming year, Alaska Airlines is planning to resume our full schedule of 18 daily nonstop departures at Paine Field-Snohomish County Airport by spring 2022, possibly earlier. The airport in Everett, north of Seattle, remains very popular with our guests.

As part of the path to recovery, we’ll have 13 daily departures at Paine Field later this fall – up from five now – as we bring back more destinations, increase flight frequencies and even add an exciting new route to Tucson, Arizona.

On June 17, Alaska will fly to five destinations from Everett: Las Vegas, Orange County, Phoenix, San Diego and San Francisco. Here’s more of what’s ahead at Paine Field:

  • On Sept. 8, we’ll jump to 11 daily departures to seven destinations as we add two flights a day to both Boise and Spokane, along with second daily flights to both Las Vegas and Phoenix.
  • On Oct. 7, we bring back our seasonal flight to Palm Springs.
  • On Nov. 19, we’ll launch our new seasonal service to Tucson, another popular getaway for wintertime warmth in the desert.

That means, just in time for the holiday travel season, Alaska will have 13 daily departures to nine destinations from the north Puget Sound airport that’s easy to get in and out of.

Horizon Air provides the all-jet service for our flights that serve Paine Field with the Embraer 175 aircraft, which features First Class and Premium Class, and only window and aisle seating – there are no middle seats. Guests can enjoy hundreds of free movies and TV shows available for viewing on personal devices; free texting on most flights; and Wi-Fi connectivity for purchase.

Top Copyright Photo: Alaska Horizon (Horizon Air) Embraer ERJ 170-200LR (ERJ 175) N651QX (msn 17000812) (Honoring those who serve) PAE (Nick Dean). Image: 947388.

Alaska Horizon aircraft slide show: