Effective September 24, 2018, we began offering nonstop cargo service between Pittsburgh, PA, and Seattle, WA. Ground operations there will be handled by our partner Worldwide Flight Services, located at 3000 Halverson Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15231.
Call 1-800-225-2752 to book your shipment or visit our website for more information.
On July 30, Jeff Olver assumed the duties of Director, Cargo Operations and Compliance in Seattle. He is now overseeing all cargo operations for the cargo in Seattle and the state of Alaska.
Jeff began his career with Alaska Airlines in 1979 in the accounting department as a summer hire while studying in college. He transferred to the ramp in 1981 and became a ramp lead in 1984. Jeff went on to hold several positions in our cargo division with increasing levels of responsibility, most recently serving as the General Manager of Cargo in Anchorage.
On the personal side, Jeff has two children, Ryan and Chelsea. He’s also a proud grandfather of Keeley and Wrenley. When not at work he likes to hike, travel, golf, fish and do home improvements. Jeff is a huge Seahawks fan and coached baseball from 2001 to 2012. Jeff currently serves as a board member for the Wish Upon the North Star foundation in Alaska.
First Officer Bill Jacobson is stationed in Anchorage, Alaska, and flies both passenger planes and cargo freighters.
How did you become a pilot for Alaska Air?
I wanted to be a pilot for Alaska Airlines ever since I was a kid growing up on Kodiak Island, Alaska, watching all the float planes. Plus, my grandfather was in the Air Force, and my dad owns commercial fishing boats. Whenever our boats needed a part or a technician flown in, Alaska would be our first call. We viewed Alaska Airlines as part of our family because of how much we relied on them.
Where do you fly?
We fly it all: Hawaii, Mexico, the East Coast. But as an Anchorage-based pilot, we have exclusive qualifications for all Alaska airports. Many are tough to get into, with mountains and short runways.
How important is cargo in Alaska?
It’s vital. You hear the term “lifeline” used a lot, and it’s true, especially in the more remote locations. Items like groceries are obvious, but also things you may not think about, like medical supplies or blood donations. What’s in the belly below us is the only way it’s going to get to its destination. There are no trains or trucks or boats in a lot of areas. It’s up to us.
How about for the commercial fishing industry?
The commercial fishing industry is big-time reliant on air cargo, both inbound and outbound. Crucial equipment can break down on boats in bad weather in the middle of a season, and the primary way to get replacement parts to key ports like Dutch Harbor or Cordova is through us. Outbound, the livelihoods of processors and canneries are dependent upon Alaska Airlines to get product to market on time. Fresh seafood is what people associate with the “face” of Alaska. So our responsibility is really to the entire state.
What kind of impact have the new freighters had in Alaska?
Well, pilots love flying them. And they’ve had a positive impact on outlying communities, which now get more frequent, scheduled service. Residents can ship things, such as snow machines, at the last minute. And for me personally, the freighters keep me closer to the state, closer to home.
With Alaska’s reputation for inclement weather, how do you maintain reliable service?
We’re never going to push something if the weather is bad or a plane has mechanical issues, but we all recognize that we are the only connection to many communities. So we are going to put every resource and option we have — within the constraints of safety —to make sure we get in. It may mean taking on extra fuel to outlast the weather. Or creatively rerouting by swapping the order of destinations to take advantage of a weather window while in flight. Everyone works together. We’re a team.
What does flying for Alaska Airlines mean to you personally?
I always think about just how much the people of Alaska rely on us for their business and their family. We’re often the only option in some places, and that’s not something we ever lose sight of.
When he’s not flying, First Officer Jacobson is busy documenting his travels on Instagram. Check out his amazing photos.
The Alaska Air Cargo team recently paid a visit to the community of Adak, AK. Adak is located on the western tip of the Aleutian Islands, midway between the United States and Russia, where the Bering Sea meets the Pacific Ocean. Remote by any definition, Adak is the southernmost community in Alaska, 1,200 miles southwest of Anchorage. Once hosting a U.S. military base supporting a population of thousands, Adak’s current population is fewer than 400 hardy inhabitants, many of whom work in the commercial fish processing industry.
We hosted a luncheon and a Q&A forum at the airport. Here’s some follow-up input from two of our customers and a local cargo station employee. This will give you a good flavor for an unusual place like Adak!
What’s it like to live and work in Adak? It is an interesting place. It is a very popular place for people to go bird-watching, hunting, and fishing.
During WWII the island had more than 90,000 people. In the 1980s we had 10,000 residents. Today it is very secluded and remote, and we have limited access to the Internet. So we don’t always know what is going on in the world around us.
Has the new freighter service helped? Yes, tremendously. With just passenger planes we are lucky to get 4,000 pounds net per plane. When you bring in the freighter it makes a huge difference, and we can get the bulk of our product off the island fresh. Plus, we can get much-needed supplies that we had trouble getting before.
Layton J. Lockett
Tell us about life in Adak. It’s actually an amazing place to live. Many of our recreational activities are for the island kids, and we support them as much as we can. During the holidays the kids get three Christmases: the traditional December 25, our community Christmas dinner with “Santa” and gifts, and the Alaska Airlines Xmas flight, which has been a great tradition.
What kinds of goods do you get via air cargo? Groceries, mail, and food for restaurants and stores. Plus, the processing plant, school, utility companies, and government contractors rely on the timely movement of goods. Our economy revolves around transporting fresh or live seafood, such as halibut or golden king crab. The ability to transport large amounts of seafood means that jobs are created, and commerce can grow and thrive.
What has been the impact of all-freighter cargo service? I think we are just starting to realize the impact of not having to wait on a barge. We’re now able to tender cargo that would be prohibited on a passenger aircraft, for example.
How do you like living here? I have been here for two years. And I’ve gotten used to it, but I still struggle with planning meals and growing fresh vegetables. I tried planting some vegetables in my atrium this summer in pots, but it never got enough sun for anything to really grow and then I got aphids!
How important is cargo service to the island? ? It’s the only way locals, businesses, the city, the post office, and the fish plant get supplies on a regular basis. Everything from basic supplies to lawn mowers, four-wheelers, you name it.
Are you able to utilize any other modes of transportation? There might be a barge once or twice a year, but its schedule depends on when enough people and businesses need cars or supplies that can only be sent on a barge.
What else does Adak have to offer? Hunters come from all over for Adak’s huge caribou herd that the military brought in years ago. The island is also a destination for birders because the Bering Sea’s infamous storms blow birds off of their regular migration routes, and they wind up here. Visitors can often see rare and unusual birds from other countries. There’s also a rich Aleut history on Adak.
Alaska Air Cargo facilities in San Francisco and Salt Lake City have moved.
Our new business partner is MAC Cargo Handling, located at 900 North Access Road, San Francisco, CA 94128
Salt Lake City
We will continue using our existing business partner, Air General.
Call 1-800-225-2752 to book your shipment or visit alaskaair.com/cargo for more information.
© 2018 Alaska Air Cargo. All rights reserved.