54 Alaska Business | June 2018 www.akbizmag.com
Nconcerns. Romano explains that, for example, Virgin America emphasized taking care of
their customers, whom they called guests, a
nomenclature Alaska Airlines has now adopted.
The group came to Alaska to learn a little
more about the airline’s namesake and roots,
as the airline has a deep and persistent relationship with its eponymous birthplace.
Alaska is a land of aviation, with planes
serving as taxis, school busses, and commuter vehicles. “Flying in the state of Alaska
is personal,” Romano says, since flying is often a community’s only connection to work,
healthcare, or family.
Home in Alaska
It’s been eighty-six years since a group of
Alaskan pilots offered up their flight servic-
es, kicking off what would become an airline
with decades of experience that—with the
Virgin America acquisition—is now the fifth
largest domestic airline in the United States.
Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden says,
“We’ve been calling Alaska home for over
eighty-six years, and the investments we are
making, in both people and infrastructure,
deepen our commitment to our guests.”
Alaska Airlines has developed a $100 mil-
lion “2020 Great Land Investment Plan,” which
includes rebranding or renovating the eleven
passenger terminals it owns in-state, con-
structing a $50 million hangar in Anchorage,
and adding three 737-700 cargo jets, replacing
its iconic “combi” cargo and passenger planes,
all expected to launch by 2020. The combis
have already been phased out, and Romano
reports that work at the Kodiak, Cordova, and
Yakutat terminals is substantially complete,
and renovations at Kotzebue, which needed to
be expanded, will wrap up this summer.
She expects that the new 100,000-square-
foot hangar in Anchorage on the east side of
the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Air-
port will be completed in the third quarter of
this year. In addition to the excitement of a
new maintenance facility that can accommo-
date two 737-900 aircraft, Romano is excited
to share that this hangar will also include the
company’s Alaska regional headquarters.
Its current facility was built to accommo-
date a reservation center that seated more
than one hundred employees, back in the day
when plane reservations were made by phone.
Today the building houses seventeen em-
ployees who work in public affairs, sales and
community marketing, human resources,
operations, and IT, in addition to a
ground service department.
“We’ve got a beautiful facility down
there… We’re excited about the opportunity to work [in the midst of]
our maintenance and engineering operation, which is an important part of
running a great airline,” Romano says.
Thompson adds, “That hangar is a
commitment to Alaska. It’s a $50
million facility that signifies
we’re here for the long-term.”
Nearly one hundred
pieces were created
for Alaska Airlines’ new
uniform collection for
which include ramp
service agents, flight
attendants, and pilots.