Business travel

LCC plans based on Anchorage Transpacific Service

Plans are underway for a new low-cost carrier to connect US and Asian cities via Anchorage, Alaska. Northern Pacific Airways, which has taken delivery of two Boeing 757-200s, is awaiting approval from the US Department of Transportation and hopes to launch its first commercial flight “with 2022 on the horizon”, CEO Rob McKinney told BTN in early February.

No route, schedule or price is official yet, although the carrier aims to operate in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, New York and Orlando in addition to Anchorage. In Asia, the planned destinations are Seoul, Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka.

Northern Pacific will be a sister brand to Ravn Alaska, a low-cost regional carrier that emerged from bankruptcy with new owners – Float Shuttle – in August 2020. McKinney is a shareholder in Float and CEO of both airlines.

Why a new airline and why now?

“Right now, everyone is still in twitch mode and ‘what if’ mode, so there are slots available, and there are doors available, and space that we can lock down,” said McKinney. “Once the economy is buzzing and things are going well, it just wouldn’t be possible for a new entrant to get [those].”

Part of the carrier’s business model is to offer a better price between continents because connecting through Anchorage will require less fuel across the Pacific, according to McKinney. It also targets small and medium enterprises.

“We’re not going after the upscale traveler,” he said. “There will be some nice amenities and perks in business class, but it won’t be what these really upscale guys are used to getting.”