Alaska Airlines Launches Flights, Saves Fuel In Sea-Tac

Alaska Airlines Launches Flights, Saves Fuel In Sea-Tac
Picture from Alaska Airlines/Alaska Airlines Website

It is a good time for Alaska Airlines as it announces new service routes and has also recently revealed that it has been flying more efficiently. So efficient, in fact, that it looks like it will be able to save several gallons of fuel.


Beginning July, Alaska Airlines will be able to service passengers traveling between Seattle and Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Seattle and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and Portland, Oregon and St. Louis. According to Alaska Airlines Vice President of Capacity Planning John Kirby, “We’re excited to provide increased service breadth for our Northwest customers to the great cities of Milwaukee, Oklahoma City and St. Louis.”

Flights to the said routes will be daily, with flights from Seattle to Milwaukee and Oklahoma City departing every morning at 9:25 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., respectively. Meanwhile, the flight from Portland to St. Louis will depart at 10:10 in the morning as well.

Furthermore, return flights to Seattle from Milwaukee and Oklahoma will also be departing daily in the afternoon at 4:05 p.m. and 5:05 p.m., respectively. Meanwhile, passengers can catch a flight from St. Louis to Portland everyday in the afternoon at 4:45 p.m.

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Alaska Airlines will be utilizing its new fleet of Embraer 175 (E175) jets for their newly launched flight routes. During the 51st International Paris Air Show last June 15, Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer has revealed that SkyWest, Inc. had placed an additional order of eight Embraer 175 jets for Alaska Airlines. Based on 2015 list prices, the value of the said contract was placed at $355 million.

Meanwhile, Kirby could not be more pleased with their E175 jets. He says, “The E175 is new for the Alaska brand, and enables our entry into smaller, long-range markets. This regional aircraft will provide greater access to our Northwest hubs, while giving customers a superior experience on these longer flights.” Moreover, Embraer Commercial Aviation President & CEO Paulo Cesar Silva also remarks, “For almost thirty years, SkyWest has operated Embraer aircraft and their performance and reliability has helped build the carrier’s sterling reputation. I know that SkyWest and Alaska Airlines will appreciate the E175 for its excellent economics, as will their customers for the spaciousness of the cabin.”

There is, indeed, a lot of space available in the cabin as the said jets feature only 12 seats in first class and 64 in coach. During the flight, passengers will be served meals from Alaska Beyond Delicious, provided inflight internet access and offered Alaska Beyond Entertainment. Without a doubt, passengers will be having a good time while onboard. And if they are headed to Seattle, they will be pleased to know that their flight is actively saving fuel, too.

Alaska Airlines has long taken part in the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) NextGEN Greener Skies Initiative. As Boeing describes it, “The Greener Skies initiative is part of the FAA’s plan to modernize the National Airspace System by 2025 – the Next Generation Air Transportation System.”

As part of this initiative, Alaska Airlines has been working with the FAA, Port of Seattle, Boeing and other airlines who has flights to and from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac) in an effort to “reduce aircraft fuel consumption, greenhouse gases and noise.” The belief is this can be done simply by improving airport approaches.

In 2010, Alaska Airlines took part in a test where it managed to execute “next-generation” flight procedures as it flew over Puget Sound. The result was that they managed to burn less fuel and even reduced their emissions by 35%.

Fast forward this year, Alaska Airlines is reporting much more improved results. In fact, every single time one of its planes land in Sea-Tac it has the ability to save as much as 87 gallons of fuel, reduce flight times by about nine minutes and bring down carbon emissions by as much as 1 metric ton. Alaska Airlines attributes their new cost and environmental efficiency to “using new, operations-enhancing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) procedures.”

The key lies in finding the best approach to Sea-Tac. In this case, FAA recommends that it would be, “West side approaches to Sea-Tac, and landing south, to fly the most environmentally friendly track over Elliott Bay.” Such an approach can reportedly save Alaska Airlines as much as $200 in fuel per flight.

At the same time, Embraer has also recently announced that is has partnered with Boeing as they work together on the ecoDemonstrator Program which aims to “improve aviation’s environmental performance.” The said program was launched by Boeing in 2011.