Alaska Air Cargo

Prudhoe Bay: Decades of cargo experience at “our home away from home” 

The team in Prudhoe Bay (SCC) loads an Alaska Air Cargo freighter.

We are celebrating the people at our cargo stations across the state of Alaska and the communities they serve. This is the first story in the series.

STATION FACT: We are the only airline that can fly equipment or a team of engineers from Houston to North Slope exploration sites within about 24 hours. Station details
TEAM SPOTLIGHT: Candy, Customer Service Agent
ALASKA LIFE FUN FACT: In her time off, she loves snowmachining 60 miles to her remote cabin on an Arctic lake in the Brooks Range. 

In this sparsely populated corner of Northern Alaska, it’s the people who make Candy’s job fun. She and her Alaska Airlines teammates fly into Prudhoe Bay (SCC) to work two-week shifts – just like many of the oil-field workers who make up the North Slope’s fluctuating population of 3,000 to 5,000. The Alaska Airlines teams eat and sleep in the same airport facility where they work, and everyone is cross-trained to handle cargo, ticketing and all other customer-service needs. 

Alaska Air Cargo serves as a lifeline for this industrial outpost more than 500 miles from the nearest city of Fairbanks, with freighters flying in critical time-sensitive parts and goods that are rushed to the North Slope to keep operations running smoothly.  

“This really is our home away from home,” Candy said. “When I’m working a flight, I know everybody because I’ve been here forever, so I’m going down the plane and saying hi to all my buddies. It is like your family. You work with them all the time.” 

On a February day when the outside temperature was minus-10 degrees Fahrenheit, Candy took time out of her lunch break to talk a little about what makes the SCC station unique.  

What are some of the products that Alaska Air Cargo ships through your station? 

“Since it’s Prudhoe Bay, we get a lot of parts and equipment for the oil fields – automotive parts and survey equipment. We also get a lot of food shipments coming in and mail going out.” 

What are some unusual shipments that have come your way? 

“Sometimes we get wildlife. Once, we had a little baby musk ox we sent out.” 

What is a typical day like in the cargo operation? 

“This morning we had 70-some pieces show up. There are no stores up here, so the customers depend on the GoldStreaks [Package Express] getting loaded on the plane. Our customers are expeditors and they need what we’re shipping ASAP – probably yesterday. So when we notify them that their shipments are here in the morning, basically it’s all picked up right away.” 

How have you seen the operation change over the years in Prudhoe Bay? 

“We have more passengers and more flights. We used to have only two flights a day. But now, we have anywhere from three flights a day to six flights a day.” 

What’s one thing that might surprise people about Prudhoe Bay? 

“We get bicyclists and motorcycle riders from all over the world starting in Prudhoe Bay and biking down to South America.” 

You and most of your Alaska Airlines teammates have been working for decades in Prudhoe Bay. What keeps you coming back year after year? 

“We know our customers, and it’s fun because we can banter with them. We’re unique and what works in Seattle or Anchorage sometimes doesn’t work here. So, we do our best to get creative and we all work as a team to take care of our customers.” 

Check the freighter schedule to Prudhoe Bay
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