ANCHORAGE, Alaska, June 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Alaska Airlines today introduced a Boeing 737-400 freighter to its cargo fleet, the first of five larger cargo aircraft the airline will put into service by the end of 2007. The all-cargo aircraft provides 50 percent more cargo capacity and more advanced flight guidance capabilities than the 737-200 it replaces.
The introduction of the larger freighter is part of Alaska Airlines' $100 million plan to expand and modernize its cargo operation to meet the growing demand for its cargo services. The airline is in the process of retiring seven 737-200 cargo aircraft and will replace them with five larger 737-400 retrofitted cargo aircraft, including the freighter introduced today and four "combi" aircraft, which carry passengers and cargo simultaneously. The new cargo fleet of 737-400s will provide about 20 percent more cargo capacity overall than the cargo fleet of 737-200s it replaces.
"Alaska Airlines' cargo customers will benefit from the additional capacity on this freighter and the other larger cargo aircraft on their way," said Matt Yerbic, Alaska Airlines' managing director of cargo. "Our new cargo fleet will allow Alaska Airlines to better serve the growing needs of our cargo customers throughout the state of Alaska and beyond."
The freighter, which will begin scheduled commercial service on Friday, is the first 737-400 in the world to be converted from an all-passenger to an all-cargo configuration. Introduced as a passenger aircraft into Alaska Airlines' fleet in 1999, the aircraft was retrofitted into its all-cargo configuration by Pemco World Air Services. Pemco also is retrofitting the four 737-400 combi aircraft slated for delivery through 2007.
"Retrofitting this 737-400 has been one of the most memorable and gratifying engineering and production achievements during the six-year transformation of Pemco Aviation Group," said Ron Aramini, Pemco Aviation Group's president and chief executive officer. "We are proud to play this unique role in helping Alaska Airlines modernize their air cargo fleet and enhance their service to long-standing and new cargo customers."
Transporting more than 150 million pounds of cargo annually, including seafood, mail and freight, Alaska Airlines operates the most extensive air cargo operation on the U.S. West Coast of any passenger airline. The airline's cargo operation transports about 30 million pounds of fresh Alaska seafood from Alaskan fishing towns to Seattle, the Pacific Northwest and beyond each year.
Alaska Airlines and its sister carrier, Horizon Air, together serve 88 cities through an expansive network throughout Alaska, the Lower 48, Canada and Mexico. For reservations visit alaskaair.com. For more news and information, visit the Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air Newsroom at alaskaair.com/newsroom.
Pemco World Air Services is a subsidiary of Pemco Aviation Group, Inc., which performs maintenance and modification of aircraft for the U.S. Government and foreign and domestic commercial customers. The company also provides aircraft parts and support and engineering services and develops and manufactures aircraft cargo systems, rocket vehicles, control systems and components.
Note to media: High-resolution photographs of the Alaska Airlines 737-400 freighter are available for download at http://www.alaskasworld.com/newsroom/ASNews/photos.asp . Video B-roll is available by request.
SOURCE Alaska Airlines
CONTACT: Amanda Tobin, +1-206-392-5134, or Caroline Boren, +1-206-392-5799, both of Alaska