Empire Editorial: It's good to have options

Delta Air Lines’ announcement it would begin flights from Seattle to Juneau was a welcome early Christmas present for Juneau residents, even if folks will have to wait until May 29 for its first Seattle to Juneau flight.

Delta’s return to Juneau will provide more travel options for residents and visitors, despite the airline only offering one flight daily during warmer seasons. Having healthy competition between Delta and Alaska Airlines for our traveling dollars will likely lead to lower ticket prices for everyone, and may even encourage more travel to and from Juneau as a result of having cheaper airfares. In addition, having a Delta hub at the Juneau International Airport will provide more travel destinations without the need to purchase multiple tickets in order to reach locations currently not serviced by Alaska Airlines.

Delta and Alaska Airlines plan to continue their partnership moving forward, sharing a frequent flier mileage program and some flights. Alaska Airlines spokeswoman Bobbie Egan said Delta’s expansion to Juneau skies will not affect the companies’ partnership.

“When it makes sense, we compete; in other places, we have a partnership,” Egan said.

Delta announced that its Seattle-Juneau flights would be seasonal, however. So when it comes to flying, and landing, planes in inclement weather, Alaska Airlines may still have that niche locked down; their pilots are some of the best trained in the business. In fact, Juneau was used as a testing ground for the current navigation software used by many airlines today. Furthermore, pilots flying to and from Alaska can only do so if they have a special certification. What does this mean for consumers? Alaska flights are often able to take to the skies when other airlines find themselves canceling flights.

As much as our city wants and needs competition when it comes to airlines, we also need reliable, year-round service. Alaska Airlines has provided that since the 1930s and fortunately the company is planning on serving Southeast Alaska for another 80 years and beyond.

Even still, welcome Delta.


Wed, 02/22/2017 - 08:42

Murkowski: Stand with Alaskans and stand with Planned Parenthood

I appreciate Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s recent decision to support repealing the Trump administration’s global gag rule. The global gag rule bans federal money for overseas family planning programs if the programs also provide abortion, or provide information about abortion. The global gag rule puts thousands of lives at risk, and Murkowski has rightly recognized that. I praise Murkowski, and want her to know that Alaskans stand with her in supporting access to family planning services. This means that we support Planned Parenthood, and we hope she will stand with us in the coming weeks by refusing to vote for any changes to the Affordable Care Act that include defunding Planned Parenthood.

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Wed, 02/22/2017 - 08:42

Alaska editorial: The opioid issue

This editorial first appeared in the Ketchikan Daily News:

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Wed, 02/22/2017 - 08:41

Expanding apprenticeship in rural Alaska

We are proud to announce a new statewide training initiative: the Alaska Maritime Apprenticeship Program. Over the past year, the Calista Corporation, in partnership with the state and federal government, has built a Registered Apprenticeship program to train Alaskans for careers on deck, in the engine room, and in the galley, earning both a salary and an industry-recognized credential. Working with a group of companies including Brice Marine and Yukon River Towing, we are expanding career and training opportunities for Alaskans in the maritime industry.

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Wed, 02/22/2017 - 08:40

Transboundary mining: Defending Alaska’s interests

It is a big week for Alaska’s capital city. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan are in town to address the Alaska State Legislature, the United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA) Board of Directors, and all Alaskans. There are a number of issues on which the state of Alaska, including our elected decision makers at both the state and federal levels, can show unity. One of those critical issues is asking the U.S. federal government to defend Alaskan interests in the Alaska-British Columbia (B.C.) transboundary mining issue.

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