WASHINGTON -- Alaska Airlines will offer a new nonstop flight between Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
The Transportation Department made the announcement Friday. The daily flight, which will start in September, is the airline's only destination east of Chicago.
The flight will continue on to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, providing the airport's only same-plane service to the nation's capital.
On the Net:
DOT's press release: http://www.dot.gov/affairs/dot6501.htm
Alaska Airlines' announcement: http://www.alaskasworld.com/NEWS/2001/06/22--DCAwin.asp
Alaska Airlines plans to cover the route with a Boeing 737-900, which holds 172 passengers, including 16 in first class, according to company spokesman Jack Evans.
"For any other carrier, this would be another route that you are adding to your schedule," Evans said. "For Alaska Airlines, employees are high-fiving each other. ... We think it will raise our profile."
The route became available after Trans World Airlines, often called TWA, declared bankruptcy.
To secure the necessary time slots at National, awarded by the Transportation Department, the airline launched a grass-roots campaign that included customers, employees, business leaders and politicians.
Through letters and other lobbying efforts, lawmakers from Alaska and the Northwest asked Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta to consider granting Alaska Airlines the slots.
Based on 2000 flight data, Alaska Airlines is the 10th-largest U.S. airline, carrying about 13.5 million passengers a year, according to company figures. Its four major departure points are Seattle, Los Angeles, Anchorage and Portland, Ore.