Alaska Airlines to employ smaller jets on some Anchorage-Seattle flights

Daily News has reported Alaska Airlines plans to fly smaller Brazilian Embraer 175 jets on some of its Anchorage-Seattle, Anchorage-Fairbanks and Anchorage-Dillingham-King Salmon routes, the news source said.

The smaller aircraft, already operating in the Lower 48, will begin Alaska service in October.

The switch would allow the airline to schedule additional flights between Anchorage and Fairbanks, the company said. Instead of a handful of larger-capacity flights, it might run as many as seven smaller jets per day, regional vice president Marilyn Romano said in a written statement.

The smaller planes that Alaska intends to use are Brazilian Embraer 175s and can carry up to 76 passengers. Alaska´s flagship Boeing 737s can carry more than 160 people. Alaska Airlines already operates 62 Embraer 175 aircraft on Lower 48 routes according to figures provided by the airline.

The overhead bins are smaller, and it can carry less onboard cargo than the 737. But for the airline, the smaller aircraft´s advantage is efficiency.

The company subsequently cut flights, but it still reported first-quarter net losses of USD 232 million, and Tilden said in May that the situation was “one of the greatest challenges in the history of commercial aviation.

Since then, the airline has grounded 80% of its jet fleet and said in May that it intended further cuts.