Seattle-based Alaska Airlines and nine other air carriers plan to participate in a $25 billion payroll assistance program that’s part of the coronavirus relief package signed into law last month, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said today.
Boeing says it will begin offering airlines and operators the chance to have their jets powered by biofuel when they take off for their new homes, and Seattle-based Alaska Airlines is the first to sign up for the option.
EVERETT, Wash. — Today marks a “first” for the new passenger airline terminal at Everett’s Paine Field, thanks to Alaska Airlines’ kickoff of daily service. But it’s a “second” for Thomas Paine, the grandnephew of the airport’s namesake.
Paine and another grandnephew, Nicholas Moe, were here in 1955 when the airport dedicated a bust of their granduncle, airmail pilot Topliff Olin Paine, who grew up in Everett. The bust has since disappeared, but to mark today’s terminal opening, dignitaries dedicated a bronze statue of the elder Paine, standing right on the curb where passengers walk in to catch their flights.
Thomas Paine and Moe pulled the veil off the statue, rekindling 64-year-old memories in the process. “Things have changed a lot since then,” Paine said.
When it’s fully up and running, the 30,000-square-foot terminal will offer 24 daily nonstop flights to eight destinations in the western U.S., providing a quicker alternative to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for northern Puget Sound communities.
“Several key groups within the Federal Aviation Administration, which conduct crucial certification and oversight work required for the start of commercial air service at Paine Field, are subject to furloughs because of the government shutdown,” Alaska Airlines explained today in a blog posting. “The FAA’s work on the environmental assessment continues. However, essential work groups within the FAA are furloughed and further delays are expected if the shutdown continues.”
In light of the snag, Alaska said “the responsible action” was to postpone the start of scheduled service until March 4 — again, “subject to receipt of all required government approvals.”
Alaska Airlines is adding virtual reality to its in-flight entertainment menu in an experiment aimed at recreating a movie theater experience at 35,000 feet.
The Seattle-based airline has partnered with SkyLights, a French-American immersive-media company, to offer VR headsets and noise-canceling headphones to first-class customers on 10 flights that go between Seattle and Boston, and Boston and San Diego.
The users can watch 2-D and 3-D films such as “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” or “Ready Player One.” They can also click into 360-degree, head-tracking virtual-reality videos.
SkyLights’ lightweight Allosky VR headsets have been adopted for tryouts on other airlines, ranging from Joon and XL Airways to Lufthansa, but Alaska Airlines’ experiment ranks among the most ambitious yet.
Alaska Airlines says it’ll offer daily nonstop flights to eight cities including San Jose, Calif., from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., with the aim of helping travelers circumvent traffic jams on the road in Seattle and in the terminals at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
In addition to San Jose, the destinations served will include Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orange County in California, Phoenix, Portland in Oregon, San Diego and San Francisco.
Seattle-based Alaska estimates that the flights from Everett will provide a closer-to-home travel option for more than a million people living in the north Puget Sound region. The routes to Silicon Valley and San Francisco could be particularly attractive for techies.
Less than a year after Alaska Airlines began daily flights to Cuba amid a burst of red-white-and-blue fanfare, the Seattle-based airline says it’ll end them in January.
Alaska said demand for the flights to Havana has faded after an initial burst of interest.
“Travel is about making connections, and we were honored to have played a role in helping people make personal connections by traveling between the U.S. and Cuba,” Andrew Harrison, chief commercial officer for Alaska Airlines, said today in a news release. “We continually evaluate every route we fly to ensure we have the right number of seats to match the number of people who want to go there.”
Alaska Airlines has scheduled a flight from Portland to chase views of the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse over the clouds, but you can’t book a seat online.
The charter flight, due for a 7:30 a.m. PT takeoff on eclipse day, will be open by invitation only to astronomy enthusiasts and other VIPs. Except for two seats. Those seats will be given away in a social-media contest scheduled to begin on July 21, one month before the eclipse.
Bugged by I-5 traffic to Sea-Tac? Alaska Airlines is promising a work-around: The Seattle-based airline says it will start running regularly scheduled passenger flights out of Everett’s Paine Field starting next year.
“As our region continues to grow at a record pace, and Sea-Tac Airport nears capacity, the time is right to bring air service to our valued guests living in the North Sound,” Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden said today in a news release. “Today’s news means less time stuck in traffic on Interstate 5 and more time enjoying your vacation or making the most of your business trip.”
Alaska said it would offer nine daily flights from Paine Field, using Boeing 737s and Embraer 175 regional jets, subject to government approvals.
“We’re not quite ready to share details of the routes,” John Kirby, Alaska’s vice president of capacity planning, said in an airline blog posting. “But I can tell you they won’t be limited to short, regional flights. We’re talking daily, nonstop flights to some of our most popular destinations.”
British billionaire Richard Branson kicked off Virgin Atlantic’s nonstop service from London to Seattle today with a rhetorical kiss for the Emerald City, but also a verbal kick at Seattle-based Alaska Airlines, which is absorbing another one of the airlines he founded.
First, the kiss: Branson took a star turn on the tarmac after Flight 105’s arrival at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, surrounded by flight attendants bearing Union Jack umbrellas. Wearing blue jeans and a hometown Filson lumberjack jacket, he paid tribute to Seattle’s entrepreneurial bent.
“It’s a city after my own heart,” Branson told a crowd of VIPs and journalists assembled in the airport’s arrival hall. “Very entrepreneurial, some of the greatest entrepreneurs in the world live here.”