Alaska Airlines has filed with the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) to codeshare with American Airlines on flights between Seattle and Shanghai. American and Alaska are moving forward with their plans on a West Coast International Alliance, and this codeshare will be an important part of both airlines’ plans.
Alaska Airlines files for a codeshare
Alaska Airlines has requested permission from the DOT to codeshare with American Airlines on flights between Seattle and China. Alaska will place its “AS” code on American’s scheduled flights between the two cities.
According to the filing, Alaska Airlines wants to start the advertisement and sale of flights as soon as possible. The airline needs permission from the DOT.
This filing is mostly procedural. It is likely to be approved as the codeshare relationship is what is making the flight possible. Without the codeshare, American may not fly this route. In addition, Alaska Airlines already codeshares with American on an extensive array of domestic and international routes.
The flight between Seattle and Shanghai
In summer 2020, American Airlines announced an “international reset” of its route network. Using the crisis to reevaluate its network, American Airlines decided to shake up its transatlantic flying.
Instead of flying from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG), American sought approval to move that flight over to launch service from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) to PVG to support its partnership with Alaska Airlines.
American Airlines has yet to announce the route. First and foremost, China remains closed for most international visitors. Plus, Seattle to Shanghai is mostly a business market. With business travel returning slowly, this route will come only after China allows more travel and corporate customers resume travel.
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Why American and Alaska want to partner on this flight
Alaska Airlines joined the oneworld alliance at the end of March. American Airlines is a founding member of that alliance. The two airlines are, thus, seeking to partner closely.
American Airlines lacks a Pacific Northwest hub and has a weaker West Coast presence. Alaska Airlines is very strong there and helps complement American’s network.
The US and China have deep business relationships. Seattle-area companies will need to resume travel to China one day. To cater to those travelers and appeal to corporate customers, American and Alaska want to partner on flights to destinations where customers need to go.
The West Coast International Alliance
When Alaska Airlines announced it intended to join the oneworld alliance, it joined with American to announce a new West Coast International Alliance. The alliance focused on codeshares.
Alaska Airlines has no widebodies and does not fly long-haul routes. American Airlines does. American Airlines can access the domestic network on Alaska Airlines while it operates long-haul flights in partnership with Alaska.
Alaska Airlines hub in Seattle also provides more feed than Los Angeles. Alaska is comparatively larger in Seattle than American’s position in Los Angeles, giving American a much better transpacific hub.
In the filing, Alaska Airlines detailed the benefits of a codeshare on this flight. The airline touted the ability to provide connections in Seattle to feed American’s Shanghai flights. In addition, it would also provide more opportunities for more customers to fly a one-stop itinerary to China.
Are you glad to see Alaska and American move forward with their West Coast Alliance? Would you fly to China via this codeshare route? Let us know in the comments!