New international airline plans $6 million upgrade at Anchorage airport
An upstart airline that plans to connect Asian cities to the 48 contiguous cities, with Anchorage as its hub, is launching a $6 million project to upgrade part of Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.
Northern Pacific Airways, a subsidiary of rural Alaska traveler Ravn Alaska, plans to make upgrades to the North Terminal, including a 50-person theater area where visitors can watch short clips about Alaska.
The company, which plans to start flying in November, will also build a lounge and bar for customers with a live projection showing wild Alaskan bears or the northern lights, officials said. An office will be renovated for flight crews and other employees.
The renovation is expected to be completed in August, said Rob McKinney, chief executive of both airlines.
Northern Pacific Airways plans to offer year-round travel to destinations such as Tokyo; Seoul, South Korea; Orlando Florida; and LA. The company is retrofitting Boeing 757-200s that once flew for American Airlines. He created a cryptocurrency-based mileage rewards program.
Northern Pacific hopes to direct some passengers to rural Alaska after landing in Anchorage, McKinney said. This will complement Ravn Alaska’s operations in much of the state, he said.
Northern Pacific initially plans to move about 1,000 passengers a day, on eight flights. It plans to employ around 300 people, he said.
“The goal here is to bring Anchorage back to life as a passenger hub,” McKinney said.
International passenger flights once stopped frequently in Anchorage, but declined in the 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the opening of airspace over Russia, Craig said. Campbell, acting airport manager.
That, and the introduction of longer-range jets, reduced international airlines’ reliance on Anchorage.
McKinney said the company sees promise in the flight offering that replicates the airport’s current importance as a stopover for international cargo flights.
Bill Popp, director of Anchorage Economic Development Corp., said the renovations would be “significant progress” for the terminal. The terminal was busy when Anchorage was known as the “crossroads of the world”, before international passenger traffic declined, he said.
“It will give us a new opportunity to resume international travel,” Popp said. “This will open up opportunities for tourism and international business in Anchorage.”
Late last month, McKinney joined city and state officials in a symbolic “wall breaking,” smashing drywall with gold sledgehammers to begin office renovations.
Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson, speaking at the event, said the new airline will bring opportunity and tourism.
“This is what progress looks like,” Mayor Dave Bronson said, speaking at the event. “This is, we hope, what the end of COVID looks like, getting back to normal growth and bringing some prosperity back to the state and especially the city.”