On Sunday, October 18th, and Alaska Day, Alaska Airlines launched regional intrastate services with its Embraer E175 jets. The carrier said this would allow it to increase frequencies between Anchorage and Fairbanks, as well as maintain year-round connectivity for other communities despite the severe downturn in passenger demand.
Challenging reduction of air services
On October 18th, Alaska Airlines launched services in Alaska on the Embraer E175 regional jets. In a bid to maintain connectivity across the state in the face of lower passenger demand, the airline is recruiting its regional partner, Horizon Air, to operate the E175 jet to select markets in the state.
“This has been an especially challenging time for Alaskans both due to the pandemic and the reduction of air service last spring,” said Marilyn Romano, regional vice president of Alaska Airlines, in a statement seen by Simple Flying.
“As part of our commitment to Alaskans and the communities we serve, we are introducing a new aircraft to our in-state 737 fleet. The E175 supports additional flying and keeps Alaskans connected within the state and beyond,” she continued.
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Year-round to King Salmon and Dillingham
While bringing back increased connectivity to communities impacted by flight reductions, the E175 comes with a bonus – no middle seat. Alaska Airlines’ Embraer regional jets are configured with 12 seats in first class, 12 seats in Premium, and 52 in the main cabin. The airline has 62 of the aircraft in its fleet.
With altogether 76 seats, the carrier says it is the ideal size to serve those destinations where larger size aircraft may not be financially viable throughout the year. This will allow the airline to increase daily services between Anchorage, the state’s largest city, and Fairbanks.
It will also enable year-round services to King Salmon, with a population of 374 and home to the Katmai National Park and Reserve, and Dillingham, also known as Curyung. The latter, with a population of 2,329, is not connected to the state’s road system, and the only way to reach the city is by plane or boat.
“The E175 is a perfect aircraft to complement the current flying in Alaska,” said Joe Sprague, president of Horizon Air. “Our crews are focused on supporting Alaska Airlines and committed to the same outstanding service Alaskans have come to rely on for 88 years.”
Alaska Day is celebrated to commemorate the anniversary of the formal transfer of Alaska from Russia to the USA. The two parties had already agreed upon the sale on March 30th. However, the United States flag was first raised at Sitka (previously known as Novo Archangelsk) on October 18th, 1867.
Another important date, at least in Alaskan aviation history, will be March 31st, 2021. It is now the official day when Alaska Airlines will join the oneworld alliance.