Company information

Updated January 2017

Alaska Airlines is the sixth-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 Cuba.

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 and its sister carriers 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 premier airline. When the two airlines are granted a single operating certificate by the FAA (expected in 2018), Alaska will be the nation’s fifth-largest carrier.

Fast facts

Type of airline: Major, low-fare U.S. carrier

Relative size of airline: Sixth-largest U.S. carrier

Founded: 1932, in Anchorage, Alaska

Headquarters: Seattle

Ownership: Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK)

Chairman and CEO: Brad D. Tilden

Hubs: Seattle; Anchorage, Alaska; Portland, Oregon

Sister carriers: Virgin AmericaHorizon Air

Number of Alaska Airlines employees: 12,295

Total destinations: 118 (AAG)

Average daily flights 2016: 970 (AAG)

Total departures 2016: 353,719 (AAG)

Total passengers enplaned 2016: 33.8 million (AAG)

Total available seat miles (ASMs) 2016: 43.3 billion (AAG)

Total revenue passenger miles (RPMs) 2016: 36.5 billion (AAG)