Alaska Air Cargo has begun a new chapter in its business, introducing the first converted Boeing 737-700 cargo aircraft, the company said.
The aircraft is the first of its kind in the world and was converted from an all-passenger to an all-freight aircraft. The aircraft is entering commercial service today, carrying goods from Seattle to the state of Alaska.
The aircraft was converted over 19 months in Tel Aviv by Israel Aerospace Industries. Alaska pilots flew the converted plane from Tel Aviv to Belfast, Ireland on Sept. 6. From there, the plane touched down on US soil in Bangor, Maine and continued on to Greensboro, North Carolina, for scheduled maintenance. The aircraft was painted in Victorville, California before arriving in Seattle.
Alaska will take delivery of two more converted 737-700 freighters, allowing the new, all-cargo fleet to carry 15 percent more capacity overall. Currently, Alaska operates one 737-400 freighter and four 737-400 combi aircraft, which carry both passengers and cargo. Alaska plans to retire its entire 737-400 combi fleet by Oct. 18.
Initially, the new fleet of all-freight aircraft will primarily serve the state of Alaska, and provide regular, scheduled service to 17 communities across the state. Independent of Alaska Airlines´ passenger operation, Alaska Air Cargo will provide more scheduled freight service than any other carrier in the state, and connect customers to 100 destinations across the airline´s route network.
Alaska Airlines, together with Virgin America and its regional partners, flies 40 million guests a year to 118 destinations with an average of 1,200 daily flights across the United States and to Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica and Cuba. With Alaska and Alaska Global Partners, guests can earn and redeem miles on flights to more than 900 destinations worldwide.