2023 promises to be an ambitious year for Alaska Air Cargo.

blog_anc-routes-01_050421 - Stuart Isett for Alaska Airlines of Boeing 737-700 Freighter with Alaska Air Cargo containers
Photo: Stuart Isett | Alaska Airlines

For Alaska Airlines’ air cargo division, according to Managing Director Adam Drouhard, 2023 “is an ambitious year, with changes coming to our entire operation.” Alaska Air Cargo will be growing – even with air freight internationally 15% less in demand – with a new tracking system and two Boeing 737-800 freighters plus new routes after what was a most productive 2022.

About Alaska Air Cargo

Alaska Air Cargo is more than just an air freight airline with air freighters. It is a division of Alaska Airlines that uses the cargo holds of its passenger jetliners to ship air freight too. Your next Alaska Airlines flight could well see your baggage sharing space with air freight in the cargo hold, and as such, the airline serves over 100 cities with air freight services. As per the below photo, sometimes that service is provided via the bellies of Alaska Airlines’ regional subsidiary Horizon Air’s Embraer 175 regional jets.

Pets Being Unloaded From ERJ-175LR of Horizon Air at GEG

Photo: Joe Kunzler | Simple Flying

Alaska Air Cargo is understandably excited about its new routes such as San Francisco (SFO) to Anchorage (ANC) in May and San Diego (SAN) to Washington-Dulles (IAD) and Eugene (EUG) in June. This is partially enabled by Alaska Airlines’ purchase of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, with a new 737 MAX 9 coming on line regularly.

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New 737 MAX aircraft adding capacity

According to the airline, the new Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft coming online are similar to the Boeing 737-900ER, but the MAX’s engines enable taking on more than 1,000 pounds of additional cargo – sometimes as much as 3,000 pounds more. As Douhard explained,

“Many of the longer routes in our network can be impacted by headwinds… and the fuel efficiency of the new MAX will allow us to safely lift the weight restrictions we have in the older fleet.”

Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 With Air Under Her at KSEA

Photo: Joe Kunzler | Simple Flying

Ch-aviation.com reports that, as of March 29, Alaska Airlines has received 43 737-9 MAXs with 44 more to be delivered. There are also 48 737-10 MAX and 10 737-8 MAXs on order.

New 737-800BCF freighters in the works

Alaska Airlines is working with Boeing to convert two 737-800s into Boeing 737-800BCF freighters. The conversion will not reduce the 2,800 nautical mile range. As per the graphic below, this means five types of freighter for Alaska Air Cargo.

photo_freigher-fleet-circle_01 for Alaska Air Cargo

Graphic: Alaska Air Cargo

When the announcement was made in November 2022, Marilyn Romano, regional vice president for Alaska Airlines explained the United States’ 49th State reliance on air freight;

“Alaskans have always relied on Alaska Air Cargo to provide time-sensitive services to their communities. Whether it is vaccines, medicine, household supplies or fresh food, our freighters keep rural Alaska supplied and connected. With service to 20 communities across Alaska, and only three accessible by road, adding new aircraft to the current freighter fleet allows expansion of our vital services to all Alaskans. The additional freighter capacity also allows us to quickly move seafood and other commodities from Alaska to points throughout the U.S.”

Plus, according to Alaska Airlines, the converted 737-800Fs will carry 3x more containers or 40% more capacity than the 737-700F. The weight capacity will be 50,000 lbs for the 737-800F versus the 737-700F’s 40,000 lbs.

iCargo on short final

As if new aircraft with more capabilities were insufficient for Alaska Air Cargo, a new cargo management system called iCargo is being developed. iCargo will provide more accountability and tracking to both the air freight division and its shippers. Alaska Air Cargo plans to make iCargo customer-facing starting in the summer of 2023.

Alaska Air Cargo pledges to shippers,

“Customers will have new tools with a better online booking experience that integrates real-time information about capacity, embargoes and station hours”

iCargo will also be coupled with better scanners at Alaska Air Cargo facilities and integrate many systems of the air freight division into one. Plus iCargo will provide, upon full operational capability, a better display of Alaska Air Cargo’s schedule to show the hours of its facilities, the available aircraft, and their capabilities. Overall, iCargo is a substantial information technology upgrade.

Would you book shipping on Alaska Air Cargo? Please share with civility in the comments.

  • Alaska 737-800
    Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

    Alaska Airlines

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Anchorage International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Portland International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

    Year Founded:


    Ben Minicucci

    United States

Source: simpleflying.com

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