Updated January 2018
Alaska Airlines is the fifth-largest U.S. airline based on passenger traffic and is one of the most popular U.S. West Coast air carriers. Headquartered in Seattle, Alaska Airlines carries more passengers between the state of Alaska and the Lower 48 than any other airline. The airline has expanded significantly to serve several U.S. East Coast and southern cities including Nashville, Tennessee; Charleston, South Carolina and Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina. The airline has also expanded internationally, with nonstop service from Los Angeles to Costa Rica and Mexico City.
Long known for its Alaskan roots, symbolized by the Eskimo painted on the tail of the aircraft, Alaska Airlines offers a friendly and relaxed style of service, one that passengers have come to appreciate as the "Alaska Spirit." The airline also is known for embracing innovative technology to improve the customer experience.
The carrier traces its roots back to 1932, when Linious "Mac" McGee of McGee Airways started flying his three-seat Stinson between Anchorage and Bristol Bay, Alaska. A merger with Star Air Service in 1934 created the largest airline in Alaska, which eventually became Alaska Airlines.
Alaska Airlines, Virgin America and Horizon Air, are owned by Alaska Air Group. In December 2016, Virgin America was acquired by Alaska Airlines to create the West Coast’s go-to airline. The two airlines were granted a single operating certificate by the FAA in January 2018.
Type of airline: Major, low-fare U.S. carrier
Relative size of airline: Fifth-largest U.S. carrier
Founded: 1932, in Anchorage, Alaska
Ownership: Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK)
Chairman and CEO: Brad D. Tilden
Hubs: Seattle; San Francisco; Los Angeles; Anchorage, Alaska; Portland, Oregon
Sister carriers: Horizon Air
Number of Alaska Airlines employees: 22,000
Total destinations: 115 (AAG)
Average daily flights 2016: 957 (AAG)
Total departures 2017: 321,900 (AAG)
Total passengers enplaned 2017: 33 million (AAG)
Total available seat miles (ASMs) 2017: 44.4 billion (AAG)
Total revenue passenger miles (RPMs) 2017: 37.6 billion (AAG)