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Alaska Air Cargo Begins Testing Passenger Aircraft to Fly Critical Cargo

Apr 30, 2020 | Monitor, News, Transportation

Alaska Airlines

SEATTLE—Alaska Air Cargo announced it will fly passenger jets as cargo-only flights to carry essential goods like mail, medical equipment, e-commerce packages, and food throughout its domestic network. Filling the passenger cabin with cargo will backfill the loss in capacity across the Continental United States and Hawaii after passenger flights were reduced.

“We’re determined to help protect the resiliency of our nation’s supply chain by connecting critical cargo quickly to the communities we serve in this public health crisis,” says Torque Zubeck, managing director of Alaska Air Cargo. “Our teams have been working tirelessly since March to identify the safest and most effective processes to increase our cargo capacity as quickly as possible.”

In addition to Air Cargo’s dedicated three freighters, six Boeing 737-900 aircraft will be utilized as cargo-only aircraft. Boxes, mail, and other items will be placed on and under seats, in overhead bins, and in closets to offer 13,500 more pounds of cargo than what a passenger-only flight could carry. In total, each flight will carry up to 30,000 pounds, which includes belly capacity.

If approved by the FAA, the passenger-only aircraft would begin flying throughout the United States in May.

Alaska Air Cargo Facts

  • Cargo freighters: Three Boeing 737-700s
  • Passenger-to-cargo planes: Six Boeing 737-900s
  • Cargo flown annually: 200 million+ pounds
  • Seafood flown: 30 million+ pounds per year
  • Destinations in Alaska we serve: Nineteen stations, only three connect by road
  • Around 60 percent of our cargo business touches the state of Alaska in some way
  • Total destinations served in 2019: 100+
  • Freighter-only flights flown in 2019: 5,487
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