By Benjamin Pham
Alaska Airlines Expands Presence In Ohio
The airline industry — notoriously known for being cutthroat and competitive — emerged differently and continues to rapidly evolve, compared to prior to the ongoing COVID-19 adversity. Several major carriers have started to rebound and increase flight operations, just as quickly as when they were forced to suspend flights and ground aircraft, in response to strict travel restrictions and border closures during the height of the ordeal. Alaska’s existing, firm stronghold on the west coast and current strategy for rebuilding its connectivity to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 crisis continues to lead to a gradual expansion of its route network. The carrier recently announced more flights are scheduled to operate to Ohio.
Flights from the airline’s predominant base and hub on the west coast to Cleveland are scheduled on a Boeing 737 and will operate daily starting next summer on June 16. The Seattle-based carrier also plans to add an additional flight on existing services to both Columbus, OH and Cincinnati.
“Ohio is an economic powerhouse with a vibrant cultural and corporate scene that’s underserved and primed for growth as we emerge from the pandemic,” Brett Catlin, Vice President of network and alliances, Alaska Airlines, said. “Adding Cleveland to our network furthers our investment in the Buckeye State while adding an important nonstop link between Northeast Ohio and the Puget Sound.”
The carrier — who is the newest member of the Oneworld alliance — began its first flight operations to the state in March 2019, with service to Columbus, OH. Earlier this year, in May, Alaska added flights from its hub in Seattle to Cincinnati.
Alaska’s new flights which allow the carrier to increase its connectivity are complemented with the airline’s decision to partner with ZeroAvia — a hydrogen-electric aerospace engineering company whose primary focus is on creating zero-emission commercial aircraft. Within the partnership, the carrier will receive hydrogen-powered engines to be fitted on its regional Bombardier Q400 aircraft.
“At Alaska Airlines, we know that travel can make a big difference in people’s lives. Air travel connects us to our friends and families, helps us understand one another, and helps communities across the globe grow and thrive. But we know that to live our purpose, creating an airline people love, we must operate every day in a way that cares for both people and our planet. That’s why we’ve set out on this bold path to reduce our climate impact near and long term,” Ben Minicucci, CEO, Alaska Airlines, said, a sentiment that is accurately portrayed by the carrier’s strategy to inaugurate more than a handful of new routes while gradually embedding sustainability into daily operations.
Earlier this year in April, Alaska announced its plans for potentially reaching net-zero emissions by 2040, including five core focus areas. The carrier’s focus on sustainability will play an important role in allowing the airline to rapidly grow its operations while combatting the effects of COVID-19, to offset its carbon footprint.
There is no question that Alaska is poised to rebound from its losses after several difficult months. The carrier potentially will be closer to a complete recovery as the airline inaugurates its flights into new markets to increase revenue. The airline is contributing to sustainability that could assist in restoring normalcy and transforming the industry in a post-Covid-19 world.