Cargo Connections

July 2017

Alaska Air Cargo

Q: How close are the new freighters?

A: Final test flights are done! And we believe we have everything we need for certification. We are hopeful that the first freighter conversion will be operational in the U.S. in a few short weeks.

Q: Are all the flight tests completed?

A: Yes. And because this is the first conversion of its kind, it took a bit longer than we anticipated. There were 17 test flights. We’ve definitely paved the way for anyone that wants to convert a 737-700 from a passenger jet into a freighter.

We are over the major hurdles, are finishing paperwork and can’t wait to get these planes into service!

Q: What kind of tests were done?

A: Because this is a highly modified aircraft, a 9G barrier was installed between the crew and the cargo area. These types of structural changes require significant testing. We also moved the static port (which measures altitude and other flight-specific characteristics), to accommodate the installation of the main deck cargo door.

Q: What does Alaska do with the plane once it’s back in the U.S.?

A: It will fly from Tel Aviv to Shannon, Ireland, to Bangor, Maine, and then to Greensboro, NC for a maintenance check. Our team will make some post-delivery modifications and then paint it with our new air cargo livery prior to the aircraft entering commercial service.

Q: When will the next two freighters be ready?

A: The second aircraft is already in Tel Aviv and has begun the conversion process with the third aircraft due to be flown to Israel later in the third quarter.

Q: What routes will the first freighter fly?

A: It will primarily fly in Southeast Alaska, with flights extending to the Arctic and also Seattle. Summer is heavy fish season, so we expect additional drop-ins for the seafood industry. When the second and third freighters come, we will begin to add more service to our 2018 schedule.

Q: Are you retiring the famous Alaska combi planes?

A: Yes. The combis are unique airplanes, and their impact on Alaska has been significant. There are only five of them, but they have done quite a bit of flying throughout the state and have been fixtures in many Alaskan communities.

This is a transformation for Alaska Air Cargo and Alaska Airlines. With the combis, passengers and cargo have flown together. But we’re now becoming a stand-alone freighter operation. By having both a passenger and cargo airline, we can better serve both customers.

Q: What do the freighters provide that the combis don’t?

A: More capacity. We still are going to have access to belly cargo on passenger flights, but for those shipping high volume, we will have additional freighter flights and a more consistent and reliable schedule.

Alaska Air Cargo assures health and safety for rescued Maui animals.

The Maui Humane Society has been in existence for more than 60 years and is the only animal shelter on the island of Maui, taking in 7,000 animals a year. Through their “Wings of Aloha” program, the Humane Society transfers many dogs to animal welfare partners and new owners on the mainland. Alaska Air Cargo flies many of these dogs via Pet Connect, providing a special rescue rate program for nonprofit animal shelters.

Laura Forsythe is Transfer Coordinator for Wings of Aloha and works closely with Alaska Air Cargo. “The cargo people are wonderful,” she says. “I have flown around 1,400 animals to the mainland since 2013 with zero fatalities. I know my animals are going to be taken care of here, in the air, and when they land.”

Laura says Alaska’s operations people are “unbelievably” professional, friendly, and efficient. “To fly 30 animals a month across the ocean and have everything run so smoothly is just amazing,” she says. “They really know what they’re doing. I get calls from people who are moving to the mainland and worried about their dogs flying, and I always tell them to fly Alaska because they are so pet savvy and pet friendly. I never worry about animals flying with Alaska.”

For more information, visit our Pet Connect website. And for more details on our special $150 rescue and military rates, contact National Sales Director Kathy Denker at kathy.denker@alaskaair.com.

Get additional benefits with the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card.

Ship on Alaska Air Cargo? Enjoy free flights? Chances are if you are reading this, it is a yes to both. So why not sign up for the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card? For every $1 you spend at Alaska Airlines, you earn three miles. But the benefits don’t stop there.

When you spend $1,000 within the first 90 days of your account opening, you’ll earn 30,000 bonus miles. And yes, that does include money spent on cargo shipping. And you’ll also receive Alaska’s famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 plus taxes and fees from $22). With no blackout dates, you can travel with your significant other, friend or coworker to wherever Alaska or Virgin America flies. Oh, and this isn’t a one-time deal. You receive a Companion Fare™ every year on your account anniversary.

For a full list of benefits and to apply for the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card, please click here.

New cargo routes.

We continue to expand across the U.S. This includes new routes to and from Kansas City, New York and Detroit. Plus, a major expansion in San Diego, with 40 daily departures to 28 destinations, including the most nonstop flights to Mexico and Hawaii.

See Routes

Alaska Air Cargo

Self-service pickup coming to Seattle.

Starting this month, our Seattle warehouse will begin EZ Pick-Up, a self-service pickup option. For those who qualify, it’s no longer necessary to wait in line for a customer service representative when picking up your cargo.

EZ Pick-Up means no lines.

When you arrive at the cargo facility, simply use the tablets located in the lobby to log your airway bill number, print your receipt, and proceed directly to the cargo warehouse to pick up your shipment. “We are always working to improve our customer experience,” said Barbara Clifford, Product Development Manager at Alaska Airlines. “EZ Pick-Up is designed especially for repeat customers, who should save an average of 15 minutes per trip. Additionally, the cargo pickup area is open earlier and later (5am to 12:30am) than office hours, extending the time when cargo can be picked up.”

Expanding beyond Seattle.

EZ Pick-Up will be expanded to Portland, Anchorage and Los Angeles by the end of the year with the goal of eventually expanding to over 50 destinations. Most customers are eligible for self-service as long as their shipment is prepaid and not international.

For more information on EZ Pick-Up, contact your Alaska Air Cargo sales representative.

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