Northern Pacific Airways: New Alaska-Based Transpacific Airline

Northern Pacific Airways: New Alaska-Based Transpacific Airline

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In late June 2021 the details of a new airline startup in the United States were leaked. Over the weekend the details were officially publicly revealed, and we now have some more information as to what this airline could look like. This might just be the most creative and unusual airline startup we’ve seen in the United States in a long time, should it come to fruition (which I’d be very skeptical of for the time being)…

Ravn Alaska is a regional airline

Ravn Alaska is a regional airline in Alaska that has historically partnered with Alaska Airlines to offer service in smaller markets. In April 2020, shortly after coronavirus shut down the world, the airline suspended operations and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Fortunately by November 2020, Ravn Alaska was able to resume operations, as some investors purchased Ravn Alaska’s assets, and got the operation up and running again. A new CEO was appointed, and the airline is even looking to the future, and has signed a letter of intent to acquire 50 hybrid-electric aircraft in the future (whether or not that actually happens is a different story).

Ravn Alaska electric aircraft rendering (can we get some windows please?!)

Well, now Ravn Alaska is looking an entirely new direction to expand.

Ravn Alaska launching new long haul airline

Ravn Alaska CEO Rob McKinney has unveiled the details of Northern Pacific Airways, a new long haul airline being planned by the management of Ravn Alaska. While the airline is early on in its development, here’s what the plans are:

  • Ravn Alaska would launch a long haul airline known as Northern Pacific Airways, which would begin operations by the summer of 2022
  • The airline would operate a fleet of roughly 10 ETOPS Boeing 757s using a low cost carrier business model
  • The airline would be based out of the underutilized north terminal of Anchorage Airport
  • The airline would fly to Asia (including Tokyo and Seoul), and to the lower 48 (including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, and San Francisco)
  • It’s claimed that this business model could be launched without acquiring “excessive amounts of debt”
  • This would be done in addition to Ravn Alaska’s current operations with Dash 8 turboprop aircraft
  • As McKinney explains, “we are really digging into these numbers and are very certain of the value of what we’re going to be able to bring to the public”
Northern Pacific Airways’ potential routes

Northern Pacific Airways would be looking to bring the Icelandair business model to the United States, in the sense that it would be turning a geographically advantageous place into a hub. The airline would also plan on offering stopover packages, to allow people to visit Alaska. This could come in the form of just staying in Anchorage for a couple of nights, or connecting on Ravn Alaska to elsewhere in the state.

Rendering of a possible Northern Pacific livery

My take on Northern Pacific Airways

As an aviation geek I love the concept of this airline:

  • Anchorage in theory has great geography as a transpacific hub, and if I were to build a fake airline in some sort of a simulated game where money is no object, I’d totally launch an Anchorage-based Emirates, just for giggles (of course that’s different than this, which will be a low cost carrier)
  • Back in the day Alaska Airlines flew to Russia and beyond, and I’d love so much if that kind of service still existed (again, simply because I’m an avgeek and the routemap would look cool)
  • On the plus side, I imagine Boeing 757s could be acquired for very little; any airline startup right now has the huge advantage of there being lots of available used aircraft
  • At least seasonally there’s a big tourist market for Alaska, and there’s not much direct service from Asia, or from non-hubs in the lower 48
Alaska Airlines used to operate some transpacific flights from Alaska

That being said, I can’t wrap my head around this otherwise:

  • Alaska is a highly seasonal tourist destination, so while the airline could probably make money a few months of the year, how would Northern Pacific Airways fill planes in the winter? Yes, there’s some winter tourism as well, but in all likelihood not enough to sustain an airline like this
  • For those just connecting, I don’t understand the merit to this business model; airfare from Los Angeles to Seoul or San Francisco to Tokyo is already very reasonably priced, with tons of competition and nonstop options, so how low will Northern Pacific Airways’ pricing be to convince people to settle for a worse product and connecting itinerary?

There’s a key difference between this and Icelandair — Icelandair connects all kinds of city pairs that otherwise can’t be served nonstop (for example, Denver to Oslo, Seattle to Bergen, and Vancouver to Helsinki, just to name a few). Meanwhile with the exception of Orlando to Asia, the other markets are already really well served.

So yeah, this concept would be awesome for those who want a stopover in Alaska, or who want to visit Alaska. But I don’t view that as a sustainable, year-round business model.

Bottom line

Regional airline Ravn Alaska is planning on launching a new airline, which would be named Northern Pacific Airways. The airline would fly from Anchorage to both Asia and the lower 48 with Boeing 757s, using a low cost business model. The plan is for operations to launch by the summer of 2022.

As much as the avgeek side of me loves this concept, I don’t see where the market is for this, beyond summer seasonal demand. I’m sure the airline could get its costs really low, but still, what happens outside of summer?

What do you make of Northern Pacific Airways?

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  1. Mike King

    Northern Pacific has an interesting concept. A startup airline can acquire/lease aircraft at really good rates these days, especially something like the B757. Fuel burn being the disadvantage over the acquisition cost of new aircraft. Being in South Africa where aircraft utilization does not match North America, Europe or Asia has led us to the conclusion (after many studies) that second hand aircraft prevail in this age old debate.
    However, Northern Pacific could succeed...

    Northern Pacific has an interesting concept. A startup airline can acquire/lease aircraft at really good rates these days, especially something like the B757. Fuel burn being the disadvantage over the acquisition cost of new aircraft. Being in South Africa where aircraft utilization does not match North America, Europe or Asia has led us to the conclusion (after many studies) that second hand aircraft prevail in this age old debate.
    However, Northern Pacific could succeed if a good, reliable service is offered at appropriate pricing to underserved or non-hub routes. Pax prefer direct as opposed to connecting unless there is a compelling price advantage.
    An airline client of ours has a philosophy to cater for exactly these types of routes but also adds frequency into the equation. And they have survived the Covid mess without government aid (non-existent in Africa unless airline is government owned - but that is a whole story on it's own).
    I wish Northern Pacific all the best in this venture and sincerely hope that they succeed - we need more innovative airlines with strong leadership and industry acumen that can innovate and execute to ultimately benefit the flying public and grow the industry.
    All the best!

  2. Hugh Devlin

    I’m feeling guilty for retiring, I’m the youngest brother, I’m looking back feeling blessed but guilty for retirement, I wanna work again, I wanna help in the best way, inspecting-troubleshooting-repairing with efficiency is so enjoyable.

  3. Hugh Devlin

    For today’s A&Ps working the floor or the Flight line, I’m your biggest fan, you are hero’s, you all are giants in the aviation world!

  4. Hugh Devlin

    Lucky me, I’ve looked back, 1968>1995 & remember the 18>30 times/morning, accomplishing inspecting/repairs & then enforcing the required RTS or A/W Release or generating/working non-routines during heavy inspection or reviewing/authorizing non-routine repairs @ large Repair Stations in SEA, 30+ years without a repeat event after original sign-offs, again>>>LUCKY ME.

  5. Hugh Devlin

    Eskimo I'm convinced Northern Pacific Airways will succeed, maybe even better operating B-757 Combi's? Are you open for receiving resumes?

  6. Hugh Devlin

    From RAVEN TO NORTHERN PACIFIC AIRWAYS, route plan from the Pacific Northwest through Anchorage & onto Asia? Operating B-757s, will they be “combos”?

  7. Hugh Devlin

    Hi Eskimo, Thank you for the invitation, shall I send me resume via this mode? Maybe I’m a little late?

  8. Hugh Devlin

    I’m still physically & mentally fit, I run 24 miles/week, did 40 half marathons afte 2002, I can still work best with a positive team. I wish tp help Northern Pacific Airways succeed.

    1. Eskimo

      Umm, Hugh Devlin are you looking for a job?

      Ever consider sending your resume?

  9. Hugh Devlin

    Exciting hearing about NPA, evolving, planning from a proud history in Alaska.. I have 30 years Airline Inspection/Maintenance Experience ending with FAA Flight Standards, pulling the plug in 2015. Can I revive by helping Northern Pacific Airways achieve a brilliant idea? Please!

  10. Hugh Devlin

    Be well Northern Pacific Airways, my first trip to SeaTac was on PNA. my first 30 years as a A&P airline aircraft inspection/maintenance, Wien Airlines, Mark Air, Alaska Air, followed by 20 years w it’s Flight Standards was a real blessing. If you need help, I’ll help you with my 100% dedication.

  11. Hugh Devlin

    Thank you Northern Pacific Airways, you have guts, it you need support? I hope I can lend you support? I have 30 years of airline A&P mechanic’s experience with additional 20 years experience as a FAA Aviation Safety Inspector Experience. I’m all a positive attitude, p.s. I did get Dash-8 training in Toronto, thanks to Mark Air, & plenty of Boeing experience, thanks to Wien Airlines, and a ton of education from the FAA, thank you to the United States.

  12. Robb Geesen

    Living in Alaska, I get the concept. I would love to get a nonstop from Alaska to Asia during winter months. My friends discuss it is a need waiting to be filled.
    The critics laughed at Alaska Airlines non stops to Hawaii... guess what? They are packed in the winter.
    Us Alaska residents want to go somewhere fun AND the northern lights have become a major tourist pull.
    What the hell, give...

    Living in Alaska, I get the concept. I would love to get a nonstop from Alaska to Asia during winter months. My friends discuss it is a need waiting to be filled.
    The critics laughed at Alaska Airlines non stops to Hawaii... guess what? They are packed in the winter.
    Us Alaska residents want to go somewhere fun AND the northern lights have become a major tourist pull.
    What the hell, give it a try. I will be on the November flights to Asia... if Asia ever reopens from Covid.

  13. Apso Eyot

    I agree that it would be really fun to make an airline like this in a game, and I see what the people behind it were probably thinking, but I’m quite surprised that it’s actually going past the “April Fools joke” phase.

    Ravn should just focus on their home market and what they do best. Weren’t they close to insolvency not long ago?

  14. Grant

    The idea of a stopover transit hub is not unique, but if done right can really help those communities too small to be served by the majors on transpacific routes yet large enough for a single-aisle through ANC. Think about Icelandair giving all their destinations access to smaller cities in both the US and Europe with their single-aisle 757s and 737s that the majors can't connect quite as efficiently.
    I gave a TED talk...

    The idea of a stopover transit hub is not unique, but if done right can really help those communities too small to be served by the majors on transpacific routes yet large enough for a single-aisle through ANC. Think about Icelandair giving all their destinations access to smaller cities in both the US and Europe with their single-aisle 757s and 737s that the majors can't connect quite as efficiently.
    I gave a TED talk on this topic if you are interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuZWxBrBAtM

    1. Eskimo

      I've watched your TEDx talk and like to say, you've done a good job. I just wished the airlines executives you spoke with actually gave you some genuine feedbacks. Don't forget the reason airlines doesn't care about the 'brick' is because they don't have to. And just because Icelandair is doing it doesn't mean it's working out good for them. Just look at WOW. I'm not saying it wont work, it's just very difficult to get everything right and be able to maintain it.

  15. Fed UP

    Not so sure this will work, unless there is either great service or super low prices.... Why hasn't Alaska Airlines, added flights to Asia, at least Japan ? They never have, and would have great credibility in doing so.

  16. Eskimo

    People here really have no idea how Asian tour group operates.
    If Northern Pacific Airways understands that, they might actually make it.
    If they are trying to be Icelandair of the Pacific, they will fail.

    The 757s are the least of the concern. They are great aircrafts at great price. Why do you think DL is flying them. Considering their budget and operations, I can't think of a better plane.
    If they grow, likely the 321XLR would come into play.

  17. Peter

    I’m wondering if there’s any chance for them to get into secondary cities in Asia, the lower 48 and Canada in this case. Surely there will be a lot of one-stop option if you are traveling Chicago/Denver/Seattle to Tokyo/Seoul, but how about destinations like Sapporo, Osaka, Fukuoka, Shenyang, Harbin, Nanjing or Khabarovsk?

  18. Andy 11235

    Yeah, it seems clear the initial goal is to connect the major NE Asian cities to the places in the US tourists are most likely to go. But ultimately, there are, indeed, a lot of one-stop connections between those markets. The Iceland model is to connect secondary markets where ops are cheaper and there is less direct competition, but close enough to the big cities to draw enough price-sensitive travelers to fill smaller jets.

  19. Dirk Becker

    In the Good old days of flying ANC was used as a fuel stop, although one could buy a ticket starting or ending in ANC, on the air routes between north east Asia and Europe. Lufthansa for example used ANC to connect Tokyo with Frankfurt in Germany when they operated B707 on these routes. The idea of ANC as a hub like KEF is for Icelandair is a nice concept, but I have my doubts...

    In the Good old days of flying ANC was used as a fuel stop, although one could buy a ticket starting or ending in ANC, on the air routes between north east Asia and Europe. Lufthansa for example used ANC to connect Tokyo with Frankfurt in Germany when they operated B707 on these routes. The idea of ANC as a hub like KEF is for Icelandair is a nice concept, but I have my doubts if it would work.

    The B757 is an aging aircraft. The age makes them cheap to be acquired (purchased or leased) but the operating cost due to being less fuel efficient should not be overlooked. With international climate protection efforts, theses operating cost will increase due to the required carbon offset payments most likely due in the not so distant future for aircraft like the B757.

    Don’t forget that ANC is usually connected during the summer tourist season with non-stop flights from FRA by Condor (DE) and KEF by Icelandair (FI) from Europe. Asian carriers like Japan Airlines and Korean Air usually do tourist charter flights to ANC, connecting Alaska during the peak season with the main Asian points of origin for Japanese and Korean tourists.

    I am not sure if it would be worthwhile to take the risk. You may find the one or other who would connect in ANC, but the market is highly competitive as mentioned before. A new aircraft type may tip the scale making the investment in terms of cost to acquire e.g. A321XLR not sustainable.

    Other than that I wish Ravn much success. I still remember the days of Frontier Flying Service and Hageland. Two of the companies which were blended into Ravn.

  20. zizi zoubek

    As an Alaskan who has to fly to Seattle and then back track to Asia this will be welcomed!

  21. speedbird

    I know a lot of people who flew from Seattle to Europe with Icelandair because it worked out cheaper. Of course, Iceland is not Alaska, so it may not translate well. I hope it works out because this is a really cool concept

  22. Chad

    I think this could work, but not with the proposed route map. The airline needs to serve markets that leisure travelers want to visit that are annoying to reach via bigger airlines. For example, there are a lot of Asian tourists that visit Yellowstone, so fly to BZN in the summer. Conversely, fly to CTS in the winter to serve the North American ski tourists, and maybe even get them into town before the rental...

    I think this could work, but not with the proposed route map. The airline needs to serve markets that leisure travelers want to visit that are annoying to reach via bigger airlines. For example, there are a lot of Asian tourists that visit Yellowstone, so fly to BZN in the summer. Conversely, fly to CTS in the winter to serve the North American ski tourists, and maybe even get them into town before the rental car counters close for the evening, which frequently isn't the case when you have to connect in TYO. Plus it has the advantage of not needing an entire planes worth of demand between two specific cities since you can shuffle people around in ANC. IRROPS could be a nightmare though.

  23. James C

    If this does happen it will be very welcoming for those travelling from Asia to Alaska. Currently they have to fly over Alaska, and take an extra few hours to land in Vancouver or Seattle or wherever in the USA, and take another few hours flight backwards to Alaska. Such a waste of time!

    But clearly this model won't work so good luck to them.

    The operating costs with an A321XLR should better and...

    If this does happen it will be very welcoming for those travelling from Asia to Alaska. Currently they have to fly over Alaska, and take an extra few hours to land in Vancouver or Seattle or wherever in the USA, and take another few hours flight backwards to Alaska. Such a waste of time!

    But clearly this model won't work so good luck to them.

    The operating costs with an A321XLR should better and they could serve more destination in Asia? But at least they could get the 757s real cheap to at least try and make it happen.

  24. FNT Delta Diamond

    For what it's worth, there is "winter" tourism in Alaska. Summer in Juneau or Sitka is maybe 70 on a hot day but often 55 and rain. In the winter, Sitka is in the 40s. Juneau is a little cooler. High 30s or low 40s. So not that crazy that some place in Alaska, especially if there was skiing, would attract year-round tourists. But as others said, the real issue is connectivity beyond Alaska.

  25. Creditian

    ANC is more efficient.

    Immigration and custom would be cleared at ANC, then you don't need to spare 3 hours for connection like at LAX.

  26. Another Lump

    I read another article that mentioned Oakland, not SFO. This to me would make more sense, not competing in markets that already have nonstop service to Tokyo and Seoul. But in any case as an LCC I presume they would undercut the nonstop fares, just as icelandic LCCs did.

  27. Nat

    This is the IcelandAir business model translated to the pacific. Will be super interesting…

    1. Milo

      ... except that the North Pacific is much bigger and wider than the North Atlantic. The closest population center in Asia from Anchorage is Sapporo and is a cool 3000+ miles away. Next's up is Tokyo at almost 3500 miles. 4500 miles, stretching the range of the 757, can only get you as far as Beijing / Shanghai in China, plus all of Japan and Korea. On the other hand, 4500 miles from KEF covers...

      ... except that the North Pacific is much bigger and wider than the North Atlantic. The closest population center in Asia from Anchorage is Sapporo and is a cool 3000+ miles away. Next's up is Tokyo at almost 3500 miles. 4500 miles, stretching the range of the 757, can only get you as far as Beijing / Shanghai in China, plus all of Japan and Korea. On the other hand, 4500 miles from KEF covers the entire US and Europe.

      Big difference.

      Beijing / Shanghai / Seoul / Tokyo / Osaka are well served from major markets in the US like NY, LA, SF pre-pandemic. The secondary markets in the US are way too dispersed for one-stop connections through ANC to make business sense.

      This idea of a trans-Pacific hub in ANC made sense before the introduction of 747-400 with its increased range over 747-200, let alone all these new ultra-long-haul twins, when JFK-NRT westbound often needed a refueling stop in ANC anyway during winter months when facing strong headwinds.

  28. Radio

    This might work if the airline can provide service between relatively large but lesser-known Asian population centers such as Wuhan, Tianjin, Chongqing, Nagoya, Hiroshima, Sapporo, Nanjing, etc., and medium to large U.S. cities such as St. Louis, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Albuquerque, Tucson, Memphis, Austin, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Reno, Phoenix, Colorado Springs, etc. where Anchorage could provide more convenient or differently timed connections than going through the existing gateways. Then again, it could fall...

    This might work if the airline can provide service between relatively large but lesser-known Asian population centers such as Wuhan, Tianjin, Chongqing, Nagoya, Hiroshima, Sapporo, Nanjing, etc., and medium to large U.S. cities such as St. Louis, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Albuquerque, Tucson, Memphis, Austin, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Reno, Phoenix, Colorado Springs, etc. where Anchorage could provide more convenient or differently timed connections than going through the existing gateways. Then again, it could fall flat on its face.

  29. Ghostrider5408

    I can understand Alaska as their launch pad and using the '57's another good choice of metal. Having said that if they are flying "point to point" is there sufficient demand in Alaska to make money even at rates that they will be flying at? Not sure. Iceland Air also point to point but "feed" into their hub.

    Oh well let's see what happens can't be any worse than flying American

  30. Zach

    My question ….. will there be a business class?

  31. John

    Great idea. ANC was a large hub to Asia back when the USSR had their airspace closed to most.
    I am sure behind the scenes the airport/state would be handing out massive deals to use the infrastructure.
    Those 757’s would most likely need to be ETOPS to get anything done. Wonder how they will cover that cost.

  32. Claudio E Ringor

    If the price and the travel plans, connections, etc in ANC are right, customers who are mostly Asian expats, from Orlando, Las Vegas, Newark, Orlando, Oakland etc are ready to try this nice travel offer from Pacific Northern Airways. From Tokyo or Seoul where they can make brief tour stopovers, they can still make cheap connections (via lots of "no frills carriers" ) to their ultimate destinations like Manila, Cebu, Bangkok, Singapore, Dubai, Mumbai, Delhi,...

    If the price and the travel plans, connections, etc in ANC are right, customers who are mostly Asian expats, from Orlando, Las Vegas, Newark, Orlando, Oakland etc are ready to try this nice travel offer from Pacific Northern Airways. From Tokyo or Seoul where they can make brief tour stopovers, they can still make cheap connections (via lots of "no frills carriers" ) to their ultimate destinations like Manila, Cebu, Bangkok, Singapore, Dubai, Mumbai, Delhi, Karachi, Phnom Penh, KUL, Jakarta.
    Istanbul, etc. It is a huge market that Alaska Airlines has earlier not imagined nor seen. Now let this new airline try its luck in this new venture too...
    Mr McKinley, we'll be with you!

    1. Never In Doubt

      The major cities in Asia are already well served by one connection flights from the lower 48, and pricing is competitive.

      This has no chance unless the economics work with crazy low pricing, and/or demand generation to/from secondary Asian cities.

      Don't hold your breath.

  33. Michael Gentry

    Damn autocheck…Art Woodley.

  34. Michael Gentry

    I’m a fan if for no other reason than the “name” nod to Alaska’s best airline ever…Pacific Northern Airlines. Art Woolley is smiling

  35. Tricia Welshman

    Alaska Airlines used to offer service to the far east, until the Fall of 1998. Why was it discontinued? It simply isn't profitable! Also, Alaska Airlines would bankrupt this carrier in a heartbeat. Similar as to what happened with Wien Air Alaska and Mark Air. There have been many attempts in the past to launch "New" jet operators in Alaska to absolutely no avail. However, it is always fun to dream!

  36. Paul

    IMO it seems like a decent arrangement, especially if their plan is to turn the ANC North Terminal into a hub to bring in PAX for their longer haul flights to LAX and the eastern seaboard. Honestly, if it actually happens then I'll very likely fly them. Before COVID, I traveled semi-regularly to Asia and the idea of cutting out the three to five hour southbound flight to either Seattle or SF to catch a...

    IMO it seems like a decent arrangement, especially if their plan is to turn the ANC North Terminal into a hub to bring in PAX for their longer haul flights to LAX and the eastern seaboard. Honestly, if it actually happens then I'll very likely fly them. Before COVID, I traveled semi-regularly to Asia and the idea of cutting out the three to five hour southbound flight to either Seattle or SF to catch a trans-Pacific long haul to Singapore or Taipei is extremely appealing. I'm a bit surprised that they aren't trying for an expanded partnership with Alaska Airlines to bring in extra revenue; seems like they would be smart to use their pre-existing relationship with AA as a way to get off-season revenue, especially if they start out offering deep discounts to get tickets sold.

  37. Mark

    There is some demand from Japan for winter tourism in Alaska. Japan Airlines did charter flights to Anchorage and Fairbanks until about five years ago when JAL downsized. But I don't see how a year-around schedule serving Asia would be sustainable demand wise from the Anchorage side.

  38. Michael

    Isn't this a similar concept to Iceland Air flying 757s from the US to Europe via Iceland? Get people from Asia to the lower 48 via Fairbanks at a cheaper cost. And it helps tourism.

  39. Brian

    Ravn ownership should just focus on making Kenai on time or actually scheduling Fairbanks...

  40. Milo

    This makes so much sense... in the 1980's and 1990's before the introduction of ultra long haul wide bodies. Long gone were the days where Narita was a super hub for all the trans-Pacific traffic, where the tarmac was a parking lot of 747-400's from around the world. At least there is enough O&D traffic for Tokyo. Anchorage? Forget about it.

  41. Diego Dave

    Sure, not much traffic TO Alaska in winter -- at best, 10% of what the state gets in summer. But (surprise!), Alaskans go on vacation in winter and they head to warm-weather destinations, which is one reason Alaska Airlines is so heavily vested in Hawaii and Mexico.

    Check roundtrip fares for flights from Fairbanks or Anchorage to Hawaii over the Christmas holidays. Most seats running north of $1200 roundtrip, 6 months out, with lousy connections;...

    Sure, not much traffic TO Alaska in winter -- at best, 10% of what the state gets in summer. But (surprise!), Alaskans go on vacation in winter and they head to warm-weather destinations, which is one reason Alaska Airlines is so heavily vested in Hawaii and Mexico.

    Check roundtrip fares for flights from Fairbanks or Anchorage to Hawaii over the Christmas holidays. Most seats running north of $1200 roundtrip, 6 months out, with lousy connections; nonstop from Anchorage to Honolulu or Maui are $2000.

    1. NN

      Check those same flights to Hawaii two weeks later and a round trip is $600. Holiday pricing to Hawaii is always going to be somewhat shocking, I don't think it is a fair comparison. While Alaskan's do travel out in the winter, they are already well served with current carriers. And there just aren't enough of them to justify their own leisure airline. I'm sure there is some demand to be stimulated with lower fares...

      Check those same flights to Hawaii two weeks later and a round trip is $600. Holiday pricing to Hawaii is always going to be somewhat shocking, I don't think it is a fair comparison. While Alaskan's do travel out in the winter, they are already well served with current carriers. And there just aren't enough of them to justify their own leisure airline. I'm sure there is some demand to be stimulated with lower fares and non-stop flights, but when I look at the history of ULCCs up north even in peak season I doubt there is a sustainable amount. Even AS can't seem to get their non-stop leisure markets to stick around all year.

  42. John

    Nostalgia play with the name. Pacific Northern Airlines (PNA) used to be a big player in Alaska. It merged with Western in 1967 which in turn merged with Delta 20 years later.

    https://i.pinimg.com/originals/fc/5b/47/fc5b47d770256282a1da0fa5086874c3.jpg

  43. snic

    If this means that MCO and EWR become part of the northern Pacific, I'm all for it.

  44. Weymar Osborne

    I like this idea actually. I would imagine they would go for an Icelandair-type business model, just between the US and Asia instead of Europe. Targeting secondary markets and enabling one-stop connections would be amazing. For me, if they were to add many midwest markets along with Osaka I'd be an instant fan. Greater Osaka is a region with nearly 20 million people, and many midwest markets like Columbus, St. Louis, and Kansas City aren't...

    I like this idea actually. I would imagine they would go for an Icelandair-type business model, just between the US and Asia instead of Europe. Targeting secondary markets and enabling one-stop connections would be amazing. For me, if they were to add many midwest markets along with Osaka I'd be an instant fan. Greater Osaka is a region with nearly 20 million people, and many midwest markets like Columbus, St. Louis, and Kansas City aren't exactly short on people either. For me, living in Ohio, it would take at least two stops to get to Osaka or Nagoya, so I definitely think there are many potentially underserved markets here, and frankly I'm surprised no one has tried this already.

    1. KK13

      How is this going to be any different from taking 1-stop ANA from ORD to Osaka/ Nagoya, or 1-stop Delta from DTW to Osaka if you start from Ohio?

    2. askmrlee

      When have you found consistent ORD-KIX or DTW-KIX or DTW-NGO service? While they have existed in the past, they're not consistent.

    3. Zain Nensey

      DTW-NGO was managing well enough on a flight a day until the pandemic. I don't know if they would resume it now, but it's not out of the picture. Delta was already starting a push into Osaka pre-pandemic as well, seeing as only United had direct service to the US from KIX.

    4. Weymar Osborne

      Uh, because if I have to go through ORD or DTW that makes it two stops. I did take a nonstop from ORD to KIX once although that flight hasn't existed for a long time, and while it looks like DL has indeed brought back the DTW-NGO service, it's only once-weekly right now. Other one-stop flights between the Midwest/Northeast and secondary cities in North-East Asia like Osaka, Fukuoka, Sapporo, Busan, Dalian, or Shenyang generally aren't...

      Uh, because if I have to go through ORD or DTW that makes it two stops. I did take a nonstop from ORD to KIX once although that flight hasn't existed for a long time, and while it looks like DL has indeed brought back the DTW-NGO service, it's only once-weekly right now. Other one-stop flights between the Midwest/Northeast and secondary cities in North-East Asia like Osaka, Fukuoka, Sapporo, Busan, Dalian, or Shenyang generally aren't doable and even if they are they'd be priced much higher and/or you would need to book separate tickets.

    5. magice

      I think Lucky already answered to this.

      The problem is that the airlines are *not* reaching to any new, underserved airports. They connect to already well-connected hubs (except MCO?). So existing players, from US-based (AS included) to East-Asia-based, would drive them to bankruptcy before they could build up a large enough network.

    6. NN

      I think the fact there is not regular service from major connecting hubs (ORD, MSP, DTW, etc) to these secondary cities speaks volumes for the viability of them being served from ANC. If United or Delta cannot support service with their massive draw from other US markets how will a no-name carrier based in ANC do any better from a dramatically smaller catchment?

      If you are going to NGO, you are going to make...

      I think the fact there is not regular service from major connecting hubs (ORD, MSP, DTW, etc) to these secondary cities speaks volumes for the viability of them being served from ANC. If United or Delta cannot support service with their massive draw from other US markets how will a no-name carrier based in ANC do any better from a dramatically smaller catchment?

      If you are going to NGO, you are going to make two stops if that's how many stops it takes. How many people are able to be stimulated on these markets because they can now layover just once in ANC?

    7. pstm91

      I don't agree with all the Iceland Air comparisons. The only similarity is that it's a point of connection to another, much larger market. Iceland has the benefit of being very driveable and you can see tons in 2-4 days, which is exactly the way they market their experiences. Alaska is very difficult to travel around and you really need to fly to see other places. You would be able to explore some of the...

      I don't agree with all the Iceland Air comparisons. The only similarity is that it's a point of connection to another, much larger market. Iceland has the benefit of being very driveable and you can see tons in 2-4 days, which is exactly the way they market their experiences. Alaska is very difficult to travel around and you really need to fly to see other places. You would be able to explore some of the coast line and that's about it, or maybe ski at Alyeska if visiting in the winter.

    8. Never In Doubt

      Only way this works is if they have the economics to go low/ultra low cost or can generate significant demand from Asia.

      ANC is already served from more than a dozen lower 48 cities. Not much unmet US demand at current prices.

      Nothing currently to E Asia, but is there the demand?

    9. NN

      Key points, prices are already pretty decent for many of these cities to ANC. Especially during the peak season, outside of the peak season there is not enough domestic demand to stimulate if they offered seats for $5.

      As you said there also hasn't been any service from Asia in more than a decade- despite it being "close". I don't think it is because Japanese or Korean carriers just forgot ANC existed. I think...

      Key points, prices are already pretty decent for many of these cities to ANC. Especially during the peak season, outside of the peak season there is not enough domestic demand to stimulate if they offered seats for $5.

      As you said there also hasn't been any service from Asia in more than a decade- despite it being "close". I don't think it is because Japanese or Korean carriers just forgot ANC existed. I think even with their local point of sale there isn't enough market for even seasonal service. Before COVID JAL would run a handfull of seasonal charters- maybe like 5. I think that is the extent of the market.

  45. jedipenguin

    Another Balitta in the making.

  46. stogieguy7

    As Tim Dunn said, it's Icelandair of the Pacific. Main difference is that ANC would not just be a hub connecting the lower 48 and Asia, but also a place that travelers from both sides could connect to smaller cities in Alaska. But how much demand is there for that from Asia? Maybe a little, but not a lot. Same for the US. And, for the other part of the equation (trans-Pacific), the challenge is...

    As Tim Dunn said, it's Icelandair of the Pacific. Main difference is that ANC would not just be a hub connecting the lower 48 and Asia, but also a place that travelers from both sides could connect to smaller cities in Alaska. But how much demand is there for that from Asia? Maybe a little, but not a lot. Same for the US. And, for the other part of the equation (trans-Pacific), the challenge is persuading people that connecting via ANC is better than a nonstop to Asia (in the case of EWR, ONT and other planned markets). Could be a tough sell.

    1. Frank

      You could also sell a better Customs experience. Has to be better to clear customs from Osaka to Las Vegas in ANC than LAX or SFO. I can say that having never cleared at ANC with more confidence than I can tell you what I am having for lunch.

    2. jfhscott

      ANC has pretty much no passenger customs just now. I cannot imagine how CBP would process an entire 757, once or twice a day, and then have nothing to do for the remainder of the day.

      My prediction is that the border crossing formalities would be a logistical nightmare.

    3. NN

      ANC is well set up for a single plane arriving for Customs/Immigration. Outside of COVID times they have regular international passenger flights in the summer from Europe. Two at a time and it might start to feel like other major airports in terms of waiting since the facilities are really built for one.

      ANC has plenty of CBP Officers, all the current cargo / private flights stopping over from Asia require their services too,...

      ANC is well set up for a single plane arriving for Customs/Immigration. Outside of COVID times they have regular international passenger flights in the summer from Europe. Two at a time and it might start to feel like other major airports in terms of waiting since the facilities are really built for one.

      ANC has plenty of CBP Officers, all the current cargo / private flights stopping over from Asia require their services too, 24/7. The CBP aspect of this project is probably only one of the things that would actually work.

  47. Tim Dunn

    It's not much different than what the Iceland based airlines are doing. Similar geography and local market. Just a different ocean.

    1. magice

      I think the main difference is China. Crossing Atlantic is pretty expensive, with European legacy airlines holding the prices up. Meanwhile, crossing Pacific is rather cheap (especially in comparison to the number of miles). Between Eastern China Airlines and Southern China Airlines and Air China, the prices are pretty bottom level already.

      In other words, the low-cost, hub-and-spook model might not work this way, because the cost probably won't be low enough to compete with...

      I think the main difference is China. Crossing Atlantic is pretty expensive, with European legacy airlines holding the prices up. Meanwhile, crossing Pacific is rather cheap (especially in comparison to the number of miles). Between Eastern China Airlines and Southern China Airlines and Air China, the prices are pretty bottom level already.

      In other words, the low-cost, hub-and-spook model might not work this way, because the cost probably won't be low enough to compete with Chinese players.

    2. Keith

      The concept may be similar to the Iceland Air model, but the geography is very different. There are not as many cities in Eastern Asia compared to Europe that (A. are within range of the 757 from ANC, B. have enough pull to/from the US for odd one-stop service). They mentioned ICN, NRT, and maybe KIX because that is pretty much going to be it. It is a pretty different ocean.

      Iceland Air is...

      The concept may be similar to the Iceland Air model, but the geography is very different. There are not as many cities in Eastern Asia compared to Europe that (A. are within range of the 757 from ANC, B. have enough pull to/from the US for odd one-stop service). They mentioned ICN, NRT, and maybe KIX because that is pretty much going to be it. It is a pretty different ocean.

      Iceland Air is also THE airline for Iceland, outside of tourism they provide service for the locals and Euro based business. Alaska Airlines fills that role in ANC (Delta and United taking some too), so Northern Pacific is going to have to fill its 757s with just leisure pax who won't fly AS?

  48. Abey

    Ye I’d totally fly MCO-ANC on a 757…. Legacies fly plenty seasonal to ANC

  49. uldguy

    It's a shame really. They were doing so well...

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Mike King

Northern Pacific has an interesting concept. A startup airline can acquire/lease aircraft at really good rates these days, especially something like the B757. Fuel burn being the disadvantage over the acquisition cost of new aircraft. Being in South Africa where aircraft utilization does not match North America, Europe or Asia has led us to the conclusion (after many studies) that second hand aircraft prevail in this age old debate. However, Northern Pacific could succeed if a good, reliable service is offered at appropriate pricing to underserved or non-hub routes. Pax prefer direct as opposed to connecting unless there is a compelling price advantage. An airline client of ours has a philosophy to cater for exactly these types of routes but also adds frequency into the equation. And they have survived the Covid mess without government aid (non-existent in Africa unless airline is government owned - but that is a whole story on it's own). I wish Northern Pacific all the best in this venture and sincerely hope that they succeed - we need more innovative airlines with strong leadership and industry acumen that can innovate and execute to ultimately benefit the flying public and grow the industry. All the best!

Hugh Devlin

I’m feeling guilty for retiring, I’m the youngest brother, I’m looking back feeling blessed but guilty for retirement, I wanna work again, I wanna help in the best way, inspecting-troubleshooting-repairing with efficiency is so enjoyable.

Hugh Devlin

For today’s A&Ps working the floor or the Flight line, I’m your biggest fan, you are hero’s, you all are giants in the aviation world!

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