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Anchorage-Based LCC Plans Transpacific Service

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Plans are in the works for a new low-cost carrier to connect US and Asian cities through Anchorage, Alaska. Northern Pacific Airways, which has taken delivery of two Boeing 757-200 aircraft, is awaiting US Department of Transportation approval and hopes to launch its first commercial flight “with 2022 in the date,” CEO Rob McKinney told BTN in early February.

No routes, schedules or price points are official yet, though the carrier aims to operate in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, New York and Orlando in addition to Anchorage. In Asia, the planned destinations are Seoul, Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka.

Northern Pacific will be a sister brand of Ravn Alaska, a regional low-cost carrier that came out of bankruptcy with new owners — Float Shuttle — in August 2020. McKinney is a shareholder in Float and CEO of both airlines.

Why a new airline and why now?

“Right now, everybody is still in contraction mode and ‘what if’ mode, so there are slots available, and there are gates available, and space we can lock up,” McKinney said. “Once the economy is humming and everything is going well, it would just not be possible for a new entrant to get [those]. “

Part of the carrier’s business model is to offer a better price point between the continents because connecting through Anchorage will require less fuel across the Pacific, according to McKinney. It’s also targeting small and midsize businesses.

“We’re not going after the high-end traveler,” he said. “There are going to be some amenities and some nice perks to the business class, but it’s not going to be what those really high-end guys are accustomed to getting.”

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