Alaska Air Cargo is gearing up for significant advancements this year, including a revamped cargo booking system, an expansion of its freighter fleet, and strengthened infrastructure. In an update from Adam Drouhard, Managing Director of Alaska Air Cargo, it was revealed that the company initiated the first phase of its new end-to-end cargo management system in October. Additionally, the transformation of two passenger 737-800 aircraft into dedicated freighters was completed.

Drouhard noted that these upgrades have temporarily disrupted operations. This comes in the wake of the January grounding of the 737-9 MAX aircraft and challenges posed by winter weather. Furthermore, an incident occurred on January 5, 2024, when a door plug of Alaska Airlines’ flight 1282, a Boeing 737 Max 9, detached mid-air. Although there were injuries, all 177 passengers and crew on board the flight from Portland, Oregon to Ontario, California, survived.

For 2024, Drouhard detailed an action plan focused on enhancing cargo bookings, expanding the freighter fleet, and fortifying infrastructure. Updates to the online system will improve efficiency and streamline processes for customers and staff. The company is collaborating with Boeing to ensure the new 737-800BCF freighters meet performance standards, with both expected to enter service soon.

Investments in infrastructure such as new cargo loaders are also set to bolster service reliability at every station. Drouhard announced the deployment of both converted 737-800BCFs later this spring, enhancing service across 20 communities in Alaska and beyond. A new freighter route between Anchorage and Los Angeles via Seattle marks the first time Alaska Air Cargo’s freighters will operate outside Alaska or Seattle, significantly improving the supply chain for essential goods from Southern California to Alaska.

The new 737-800 freighters, capable of carrying an additional 10,000 pounds compared to the existing 737-700 freighters, will also play a crucial role during the peak salmon fishing season, ensuring quick delivery of fresh seafood to markets in the lower 48 states. Looking ahead, Alaska Air Cargo is considering expanding services to Hawai’i, leveraging its experience in Alaska to meet local community needs and enhance supply-chain solutions.

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