Thanks to everyone who shipped with Alaska Air Cargo in 2017 or were involved in our cargo operations. I’d like to highlight two of the major happenings this year and share our big goals for 2018 with you.
Easy and hassle free.
Our new online booking system is now up and running. This is a monumental achievement for Alaska Air Cargo. This is a big step forward for us technologically, and most importantly, it makes booking your freight as easy and hassle-free as possible. Anyone approved to ship on Alaska Airlines can use the system, anywhere in the U.S.
Quick access to information.
Once you obtain a login, you have access to our entire network at your fingertips. You can see routes, capacity, and availability. If you’re accustomed to using online booking for passenger flights, this is a similar system. It’s very intuitive. You no longer have to call and check flight numbers and ask about availability. Just enter your cargo destination and you’ll see space availability and pricing in real time.
Templates provide huge time savings.
One thing I’m hearing that customers really like is the ability to create a personalized logistics portal to track cargo, manage accounts, and build templates for recurring shipments. I was on a call with several of our large high-volume shippers and they love the template program.
The system is cloud based and responsive to whatever device you use. Most customers prefer a larger screen to display information, but we do have a mobile version, which although not as feature rich, can be deployed to easily book and track shipments. Finally, one of the indirect benefits of online booking is that our call centers are freed up from booking and are able to devote more time to larger customer questions, concerns, and issue resolution.
Try it out.
I’d like to invite you to try online booking if you have not already done so. Go here.
Next-generation 737-700F aircraft are in service.
For those of you who have been following our freighter conversion news (and we know that is a lot of you), we have finally taken delivery of two of the three aircraft and they are both in service as we speak. The third freighter will not come on line until the end of the Q1, 2018. But our current 737-400 freighter is still flying, so we do have a three-freighter fleet as intended.
Getting these planes in the air was a massive undertaking and accomplishment. It takes a big village to convert a 737-700, and for us it required exceptional dedication and hard work from the entire air cargo team — engineering, maintenance, policy and procedures, project managers, and not least our partners, Islreali Aerospace Industries. Though it took much longer than we planned and anticipated, we’re excited about being the first operator of a next-generation 737, passenger-to-freighter conversion.
Flying between Alaska and Seattle.
The two new freighters trade locations throughout the day. One starts its morning in Seattle, the other starts in Anchorage, and they rotate throughout the day between Seattle and our Alaska destinations. And we’re now running a full schedule. Our customers in Alaska tell us that the reliability and consistency of scheduled freighter flights are vital to them. And that’s one of our big missions for 2018.
Alaska: Consistency, consistency, consistency.
For the state of Alaska in particular, we are going to get our operations as tight and efficient and consistent as possible. In practice, this translates to running a scheduled operation on which our customers can rely. So that cargo gets where it needs to go on time, every time.
Lower 48: Bigger network.
As Alaska Airlines expands, Alaska Air Cargo is right alongside. We are extremely optimistic about our growth in the lower 48 and new routes and increased capacity for freight customers. Brand-wise, all of Virgin America will start to become Alaska Airlines in January. Cargo-wise, we hope to have Virgin fleet ready to carry cargo by mid 2018. This will include 65 additional planes, and 50% more capacity in our lower 48 network. We’ll have over 120 daily departures from the bay area, 80 from Los Angeles and over 300 a day from Seattle. The planes and facilities are ready to take cargo; we just need to get our systems and processes aligned.
Stay tuned! More to come!
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org to answer any questions or concerns.
Thank you! All of us at Alaska Air Cargo wish you a terrific holiday season and a prosperous 2018.
Jason Berry, Managing Director, Alaska Air Cargo
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