US carrier Alaska Airlines is launching another three daily non-stop routes from its Portland, Oregon, hub during the first quarter of 2016, adding to its recently announced new service to Austin, Texas. The new links to the three Midwest metropolises - Kansas City, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Omaha, Nebraska, will commence from February 18, 2016.
The network growth will be facilitated by the expansion of the airline’s Embraer E-Jet fleet, which is flown on its behalf through a capacity purchase agreement with SkyWest Airlines. The first three E175 aircraft arrived earlier this summer and were introduced into passenger operations at the start of this month, including launching a new link between Portland and St Louis.
In Alaska Airlines service, SkyWest has configured the aircraft in a 76-seat arrangement with 12 Business and 64 Economy seats and will offer onboard amenities that include Wi-Fi Internet access, streaming in-flight entertainment, much like the airline’s larger Boeing 737 fleet, providing a standardised service proposition to customers.
"We continue to expand our Portland service portfolio with new non-stops to America's Heartland," said John Kirby, vice president of capacity planning, Alaska Airlines. "With these new routes, Alaska Airlines will offer more than three times the number of non-stop destinations from the Rose City than any other carrier."
Our analysis of OAG Schedules Analyser data shows that Alaska Airlines grew its capacity from Portland International Airport by 8.9 per cent during the first half of this year, versus the same period in 2014. It now serves 38 destinations from the airport (July 2015) and has boosted its share of departure capacity from 37.9 per cent in the first half of 2005 to 46.5 per cent during the first six months of 2015.
Alaska Airlines will compete directly with Southwest Airlines on the Portland – Kansas City route and with Delta Air Lines in the Portland - Minneapolis-St. Paul market, but will be the sole operator between Portland and Omaha.