Alaska has been extremely busy lately. They’ve announce a number of new routes in the last year (including PDX-DCA, SAN-MCO, SEA-STL, SEA-SAT and more),announced their largest Boeing plane order in history, exercised all outstanding options for their B737NG models and ordering another 37 B737-MAX, and announced new streamline seats. If this isn’t enough to keep the people at Alaska busy I don’t know what is!
However, I have insider knowledge that there are more announcements to come in upcoming weeks. Last week Alaska launched their first transcontinental flight from San Diego flying to Orlando. Although I have no official word from the airline what declarations are coming, I have heard from people on the inside that they will be stating new routes! And the most exciting news is that at least one of them will be from San Diego and will launch in 2013!
Alaska has really been building up a good base in San Diego, adding more flights while others have pulled back. The underserved one runway city of 3.4 million boarding Mexico and the Pacific Ocean has gained new service from Alaska Airlines over the last few years which include vacation destinations such as Orlando, Maui, Honolulu, Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo San Lucas. Alaska, with their partner Horizon, have also started less exciting service to Northing California connection Fresno, Monterey, and Santa Rosa to San Diego. They attempted to add a daily flight to DCA, but lost the opportunity to US Airways. Alaska has been extremely successful in San Diego and has even gone from one daily flight to Maui in 2010 to two in 2012! San Diego, a city that in 2010 Alaska only connected Seattle and Portland to now offers 18+ daily departures to 10 destinations! An 11th to soon be announced!
Now, being based in San Diego, I have to wonder, what will Alaska’s next destination be from San Diego? I cannot imagine that they will add a new city that they don’t already serve, but instead add a new route to a city they already connect to from a city like Seattle or Portland. Alaska Airline’s presence to and from Hawaii has grown substantially since they first started service to the islands 5 years ago. My Initial thoughts would be connecting San Diego to either the Big Island or Kauai. Hawaii tends to be Alaska’s favorite destination for new routes from West Coast cities in recent years. However, if they don’t add another Hawaii destination, I could also see San Diego connecting Vancouver to San Diego. Air Canada just announced that they are pulling out of this route and Alaska likes to pick up routes that other legacy carriers fail at. Right now, all new California routes and Orlando have been timed perfectly for connections to/from Hawaii. Do you think Alaska will keep up this trend of flights to Hawaii or will we find Alaska connect San Diego to another city? The DOT lists the top 10 destinations from San Diego, and all appear to be served pretty heavily already. However, maybe as American Airline continues to cut service, Alaska will pick up a daily route SAN-DFW, allowing them to feed passengers to AA’s international and domestic flights.
Either way, no matter where the new route is, I’m excited to see Alaska Airline continue its growth in San Diego. The last 3 years have been big for Alaska’s partnership with SAN and they’ve done everything from add international destinations to paint a horizon jet in SDSU colors. What will Alaska’s next move be? News to come soon!