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Alaska Airlines expanding statewide infrastructure

By Dan Bross, KUAC
April 13, 2017

Alaska Airlines is expanding and updating infrastructure in the state. Alaska Airlines regional vice president Marilyn Romano outlined plans for the Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.

”We’re getting ready to invest over $100 million, well we’re already doing it, in the state of Alaska,” Romano said.

Romano said the biggest project, is construction of a new a forty million dollar hangar in Anchorage.

”It will hold two 737 Max-9’s, which are airplanes we have not even taken ownership of yet,” Romano said. “It will hold two side-by-side. And the message that I hope that it sends is that we’re here to stay.”

Romano also highlighted smaller Alaska facility upgrades, including at 11 rural sites, as well as changes to the Alaska Airlines fleet of aircraft. She said the 737-400 series, including the half cargo, half passenger “combi” planes, are being phased out.

”Some of them have already gone. They’ve already moved out,” Romano said. “We don’t have them anymore. And by the end of the year, they’ll all be gone.”

Romano said upgraded 737-700’s as well as newer aircraft will replace the 400’s in the cargo and passenger line up. Romano also announced the return of some jet service between Fairbanks and Anchorage, a change driven by flight delays resulting from maintenance issues with the smaller prop driven Q-400, Ak Air has been running on the commuter route in recent years.

”So what we’re gonna have is about eight flights a day,” Romano said. “Half will be on the Q400, but half will be on jets.”

The in state changes come as Alaska Airlines integrates recently purchased Virgin American into its national operation, increasing the number of destinations served, as well as in flight amenities like high speed internet. The acquisition of Virgin makes Alaska the nation’s fifth largest carrier, accounting for seven percent of domestic capacity

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