Alaska Airlines Potential

Mon Jul 09, 2001 8:59 am

I think it would be realy good for alaska airlines to fly the new 757-300. It would look really good in that paint scheme. also alaska always has to stop with there planes on routes from destinations from say portland to puerto vallarta they could offer service non stop. Maybe there is a west coast to Mexico market which sould be tried. The 757 also seems very capable of nice creature comforts. It would also be nice on the anc to chicago flight. I also can see alaska to have potential to cities like denver and St. louis. Please share your opinions with me . Thanks
Posts: 2900
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2001 1:04 am

RE: Alaska Airlines Potential

Mon Jul 09, 2001 12:09 pm

During the past two Fall/Winter/Spring seasons (last Sun. in Oct. through last Sun. in April) Alaska Airlines has flown SEA-SJD/PVR/MZT non-stops on a frequency of at least once weekly to each of these destinations in addition to year around non-stops to Mexico from SFO, LAX and SAN. Daily one-stop, same plane services from both SEA and PDX to Mexico are offered year around along with connections through SFO/LAX/SAN.

Alaska's daily non-stop ANC-ORD service was originally envisioned as a seasonal (Summer) service. Less than one month after it commenced (June 4, 2000) the decision was made to upgrade the service to year around. The ANC-ORD-ANC flights have been successful mainly because of the code-share arrangement AS has with AA for connecting flights at ORD to/from numerous cities in the U.S. Midwest, East and Southeast. Code-share connections with AA in both directions are conveniently timed and are priced very reasonably as through fares (i.e. ANC-LGA rather than ANC-ORD+ORD-LGA - the difference can be hundreds of $$$).

Non-stop services from ANC to additional points in "The Lower 48" (beyond the current non-stop destinations of ORD. SEA, PDX, SFO and LAX) are not likely to happen in the forseeable future. Alaska's other main code-share partners, NW and CO operate their own services from ANC to their respective hubs and would not, therefore, be likely to have an interest in an arrangement similar to the one AS has with AA at ORD. Non-stops from ANC to other AA hubs, DFW and STL (the latter inherited from TW), would be redundant to ANC-ORD in that few, if any, additional significant connections could be offered.

As for the possibility of 757-300s in Alaska's future, the type would be a next logical step if traffic and route development warrant a still larger and/or longer range type than its 737-990s. In terms of seating capacity, Alaska is already a "virtual" 757-200 operator with its growing fleet of 739s, which seat 10-15 pax less than a 752 in typical two-class configuration.

Alaska's focus within "The Lower 48" is on offering more non-stop frequencies (= convenience and choice) than any of its competitors in the city pair markets it serves along with a full service product at competitive fares. Therefore, a type larger than its 739s does not seem likely in Alaska's forseeable future - but never say never!

Posts: 1981
Joined: Sun May 06, 2001 9:51 am

RE: Alaska Airlines Potential

Mon Jul 09, 2001 1:56 pm

I hope they do not expand too much more-- and I don't think we'll ever see any non-737 in the Alaska fleet for a looooong time. They are aiming to be all-737 soon and it is perfect for their route structure.

As for moving east-- Alaska isn't much of an east-west airline and I really don't think we'll see very many (if any) more destinations from Chicago to the east.
Posts: 1462
Joined: Wed Sep 27, 2000 8:17 am

RE: Jetlover

Mon Jul 09, 2001 4:42 pm

Due to the highly competitive nature of air travel in the US, the 757-300 is only useful on those rare routes where schedule-frequency is not important. Examples of such routes are:

1) Heavily travelled leisure-corridors (ie...a big city to a major resort)

2) Medium/long-haul, high volume routes.

Now, let's look at Alaska's route system, and you will see why the 753 doesn't make any sense.

Firstly, the 753 actually has LESS range than the 73G. So, it's not like the 753 would allow them to serve markets which they can't already serve. Also, the 753 would add a new type, meaning additional training and maintenance costs. But beyond that, there just aren't any routes for it to serve. If you don't believe me, let me give you a closer look at Alaska's route system.

Alaska (excluding Horizon) has five main types of routes:

1) Flights up and down the West Coast.

These are predominantly medium distance, well-travelled, competitive corridors. On such routes, it is neccessary to provide passengers with a comfortable, fast aircraft (ie...not a turboprop), but also critical to tailor to the schedules of business travellers, and to allow fast boarding and maintain good gate utilization. An aircraft such as the 737 serves as as good compromise between these conflicting demands.

2) Intra-Alaska markets.

With a few exceptions, these routes are medium length and low-volume. Alaska has squatter's rights in this market. Other airlines avoid the state because it is too far away from the rest of the US (hence the rest of their route network) and also because the operating conditions are very difficult. All Alaska has to do to protect their monopoly is to satisfy the demands of the communities they serve (in my mind, provide acceptable schedule frequency, charge prices that are just low enough to avoid an outcry, and offer modern jet equipment). Not only is the 757-300 not needed on these routes, it can't even get in and out of some of the airports.

3) West Coast to Mexico. This may seem like a good 753 route, as it is a large leisure-travel market. However, the potential for connecting traffic makes the idea of running planes back and forth between Mexico and the US much less compelling. Alaska's goal is to funnel passengers to SFO and LAX and then fly them to Mexico. Because the planes that fly to Mexico continue on to non-753 friendly routes, and because connecting traffic makes schedule frequency more important, a 737-sized aircraft is once again the logical choice.

Any flights Alaska offers between SEA or PDX and Mexico are purely designed as a defensive measure to keep other airlines from serving the route and stealing customers. Therefore, Alaska wants to use their smallest plane...the 73G.


This is a route in a class of its own. Alaska has a monopoly on the daytime flights and it is also a very high volume route. But, again, the route depends heavily on connecting and one-stop traffic. A typical plane serving the SEA-ANC route might originate in FAI and fly south to LAX.

Again, Alaska's goal is to funnel passengers into the SEA-ANC corridor. The PDX-ANC, SFO-ANC, and LAX-ANC routes are once again defensive.

5) Long-haul, West-East routes.

So far, the only routes are ANC-ORD and SEA-DCA, but there are rumors that more are on the way.
As Alaska is a newcomer to the trans-con market, they have to look for underserved routes. In general, any route where a 753 (or other high-capacity craft) could be used has already been fully exploited by other carriers. So, Alaska needs to use smaller aircraft on smaller routes. If Alaska can successfully enter long-haul, high frequency markets, then the 753s could make sense. However, I doubt this will ever happen, as many of Alaska's valuable airline partners already fly these routes. So, if Alaska continues eastward expansion, they will look for underserved routes that have the pontential for a lot of feed from airline partners.

So, I think Alaska should just stick to its current fleet plans.  Smile

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