Inbound Logistics | April 2022

Indeed, since completing its first scheduled truck delivery to Alaska in the early 1950s, transporting a load of fresh meat from Seattle to Fairbanks, Lynden has deployed trucks, ships, barges, ferries, aircraft, and even hovercraft to help customers move shipments beyond Alaska’s roads and to their customers. “By leveraging our large service center network and multimodal capabilities, we can connect Alaska’s people and businesses seamlessly to each other and to the world,” McKallor says. Air Transport Soars “The limited road structure makes air transport more essential,” says Adam Drouhard, managing director of cargo with Alaska Airlines. What’s more, the primary airport in Alaska, Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, is within about 9.5 hours flying time to 90% of the industrialized world. Perhaps not surprisingly, it routinely ranks among the busiest cargo airports in the world. About 80% of air cargo freight from Asia that’s destined for the mainland United States will move on air cargo freighters that lay over in Anchorage as part of “gas-and-go” operations. When the freighters are fully loaded, they need to refuel in Anchorage. “The extra one or two hours of in-transit time is more than compensated for by the extra revenue earned by carrying more cargo,” Prokop says. “Alaska Airlines supports many markets and communities in Alaska and creates new supply chain channels where it needs to,” Drouhard says. The fifth- largest U.S. airline based on passenger traffic, Alaska Airlines is the only passenger airline in the United States with dedicated cargo planes. From its headquarters in Seattle, Alaska Air Cargo’s fleet of 737-700 freighters delivers transportation flexibility and capability to, from, and throughout the state of Alaska. Even as many logistics operations were tested over the past few years, “air cargo didn’t miss a beat,” Drouhard says. Indeed, Alaska Airlines airplane

Alaska Airlines is the only passenger airline in the United States to fly dedicated cargo planes. From its headquarters in Seattle, its fleet of 737-700 freighters delivers transportation flexibility and capability to, from, and throughout Alaska.

In 2023, Alaska Airlines will add two 737-800 aircraft to its Alaska Air Cargo fleet, for a total of five scheduled freighters connecting Alaska to the mainland United States. The planes will be converted from existing passenger aircraft and will offer more main deck and belly-load space, as well as higher fuel efficiency than the three 737-700 planes currently in use. Streamlining Operations That’s not the only change. Alaska Air Cargo is partnering with IBS Software to upgrade its cargo management system to iCargo, also during early 2023. Among other changes, this will enhance terminal operations and the mobile application. Shippers also will be able to manage their accounts through a new online portal. Other logistics providers also offer air transport in Alaska. Lynden’s Hercules cargo planes fly scheduled service to the Alaskan towns of Bethel, Nome, Kotzebue, St. Mary’s, Emmonak, and McGrath from the company’s hub in Anchorage. From Bethel, Lynden’s hovercraft service supplies villages on the lower Kuskokwim River. In addition to moving shipments from mainland U.S. to southcentral Alaska, Span Alaska, a division of Matson

bellies were 80 to 90% fuller, he says. As in the rest of the world, e-commerce orders in Alaska “have been on fire,” Drouhard adds, noting this boosted the air cargo market. In addition to e-commerce orders, Alaska Airlines has long moved items essential for daily living, like food and pharmaceuticals. That included transporting COVID-19 vaccines through Project WarpSpeed and other partners. “We move groceries and life-saving medicines every day,” Drouhard says. “It’s humbling to be part of these efforts.” Similarly, Alaska Airlines handles the movement of transplant organs throughout the state. “It requires much coordination, as well as understanding what’s at stake at the end of the day: life and death,” Drouhard says. “We strive to make sure these go off perfectly.” The airline also has led in its environmental efforts. Alaska Airlines was one of the first to compost and remove single-use plastic straws and citrus picks from its planes and lounges. It’s the leading U.S. airline on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, and was ranked first in fuel efficiency for seven consecutive years by the International Council on Clean Transportation, an independent, nonprofit research organization.

46 Inbound Logistics • April 2022

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