Volume 29 | December 2023
New freighter and flight route news, plus cargo loads of good cheer — and beer.
“Fresh Hops Fly” collaboration brings flavor of Northwest to Austin and San Diego.
This September, the Alaska Air Cargo team shipped about 500 pounds of just-picked hops to breweries in Austin (AUS) and San Diego (SAN) — cities far from central Washington state, which grows more than 70% of the nation’s hops. Within hours of harvest, vibrant Mosaic hops from Loftus Ranches poured into the kettles at Zilker Brewing Company in Austin and North Park Beer Company in San Diego.
Fresh hop beers are rarely brewed outside the Pacific Northwest because transporting commercial-scale quantities of highly perishable hops is quite a challenge. The October fresh hop IPA releases at Zilker and North Park were products of the second year of “Fresh Hops Fly,” a collaboration between the breweries and Alaska Air Cargo, distributor Yakima Chief Hops, Loftus Ranches and Bale Breaker Brewing Company to bring fresh hops to new regions of the country.
Many thanks for your help with the heavy lifting during our system launch.
This fall, we overhauled our entire end-to-end cargo management system and our website — large technology projects that brought challenges both for our teams and our customers. We greatly appreciate your patience through the process, and thanks to your quick feedback, we can report that we’ve started making headway on squashing some of the bugs.
Some recent improvements we’ve implemented:
• More detailed email notifications on your shipment as it moves through our system.
• Shipment tracking milestones in your online account that are clearer and easier to understand.
Check out our new online booking tools:
- Get more options to sign up for notifications about your shipments.
- Build templates for recurring shipments.
- Access our users' guide to the new system.
Explore the features of our new website:
- New alerts page with the latest operational updates and embargoes across our system.
- More ways to contact us, including our chat function, where our team can help you with any questions except making a new booking.
THANK YOU for working with us and helping us make the system better. Please keep your feedback and questions coming. Your input will help us continue to improve customer tools throughout our operation in the months ahead.
More cross-country flights added in 2023 — with new opportunities on the way.
This year, we added several new cross-country routes and increased our options for Southern California customers. We have even more exciting opportunities coming in 2024 with new nonstops connecting Anchorage (ANC) with New York (JFK) and San Diego (SAN).
In addition, we’re expanding our service between the West Coast and Hawaii. We now have five daily departures between Seattle (SEA) and Honolulu (HNL) and three flights each day between Seattle and Maui (OGG). We’re increasing service to Maui as the island continues to recover after the devastating Lahaina wildfire, with more frequent service from California coming back as well.
Expanded freighter service for communities within the state of Alaska.
Our first new 737-800BCF freighter went into service in November, boosting capacity for the 20 communities we serve in the state of Alaska.
We are now flying twice a week from Anchorage (ANC) to Unalakleet (UNK), the one destination in our network that is served only by our cargo teams, without passenger service. Located on the Norton Sound 395 miles northwest of Anchorage, Unalakleet is known for its salmon and crab harvests.
Ketchikan (KTN), Sitka (SIT), Juneau (JNU) and Bethel (BET) will also start receiving increased freighter service this month. With a second converted 737-800 freighter poised to enter service next year, we’ve also improved infrastructure at stations across the state as part of our ongoing commitment to the communities we serve.
Making spirits bright: Annual Toys for Tots drive brings holiday joy to 30,000+ kids.
Since August, teams have been working hard on another holiday logistics miracle. For the 17th year, Alaska Airlines Captain Tom Sharkey spent the fall coordinating toy donations and transportation plans with the U.S. Marine Corps. Now, Sharkey and the Marines finally get to play Santa, delivering 17,000 pounds of toys that travel via our freighter and passenger aircraft, C130 military transport planes and even snowmobiles to more than 30,000 children in remote communities across the state of Alaska.
Sharkey has volunteered with Toys for Tots since his military service days in the early 1990s and said the magic of spreading holiday joy never gets old. And he sees that joy reflected in the faces of the cargo team and ramp agents helping along the way. “Christmas is all about giving, and by giving a simple toy to a child, we can help them know they are loved and they are special,” Sharkey said. “It’s really about giving hope.”
From all of us at Alaska Air Cargo, we wish you a freighter fleet full of holiday cheer. And we’re looking forward to exciting opportunities to grow together in the new year.
Thank you for working with us!
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