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History Of Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines started of as McGee Airways in 1932, with flights between Anchorage and Brital Bay, Alaska. The aircraft used was a single engine three passenger aircraft. plane.

Over the years as with many companies looking to expand and remain viable, in 1944, McGee Airways changed its name after acquiring several other small carriers to  Alaska Airlines and began servicing the lower 48 states.

In 1986 Alaska Airlines acquired Horizon Airlines, a Seattle base regional carrier and on October 1, 1987 Jet Airlines of Long Beach, California. Durring 1997, Alaska Airlines was the 10th largest US airline carring over 12 million passenegers a year. Today, it is also the dominant carrier between the Pacific Northwest and California.

In 1998, Alaska Air Group announced today signing a letter of intent for the creation of a marketing partnership between its subsidiaries, Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, and American Airlines/American Eagle. This exciting news for Alaska and Horizon customers and all of our Mileage Plan members," said Bill Ayer, president of Alaska Airlines.

"It greatly expands travel and mileage opportunities for our passengers and considerably strengthens Alaska’s and Horizon’s marketing presence in California, the Pacific Northwest and the West Coast." Alska and American share an uncompromising commitment to quality, which has made us both service leaders in this industry," said Mike Gunn, American's senior vice president - marketing. "Our customers will enjoy enormous benefits from this partnership -- from linking our frequent flier programs to accessing American's global network."

Alaska also announced that it has provided a notice to Northwest Airlines of its intent to modify an existing marketing agreement. "Our aim is to find a mutually acceptable way for Alaska to continue to market cooperatively with Northwest," said Ayer. "We are in talks with Northwest and we remain hopeful that we can maintain existing partner relations which have benefited both organizations."

Alaska and Horizon intend to implement a fully reciprocal frequent flyer relationship with American and American Eagle, allowing customers to earn mileage credits and use awards across each other's networks. Codesharing by the carriers has also been discussed, but is subject to labor contract provisions. Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air together serve more than 70 communities in eight Western states, Canada and Mexico. American and American Eagle serve more than 230 destinations worldwide.  



In January 1999, Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air today announced formation of a comprehensive marketing agreement with Canadian Airlines. The agreement among the carriers, effective April 1, provides for reciprocal code-sharing and anticipates participation in each other’s frequent flyer programs. Code sharing, which allows one carrier to coordinate and sell flights as its own on another carrier, provides customers with more travel options and the partner airlines with incremental passenger traffic. Moreover, reciprocal frequent flyer provisions, once approved, would mean members of the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan and  Canadian's Canadian Plus mileage program will earn mileage credits and be able to use awards across each other’s route systems.  

"This is terrific news for Alaska and Horizon passengers," said Gregg Saretsky, vice president of marketing and planning for Alaska Airlines. "By adding Canadian, an outstanding international carrier, to our growing list of marketing partners, we once again extend travel opportunities for our customers and we gain valuable market presence in western Canada and beyond." On Casey, senior vice president of planning for Canadian Airlines, concurred. "We are extremely pleased to be entering into agreements with Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air," Casey said. "We will achieve an expanded presence in key West Coast markets that would not be available to us without these partnerships. As well, the agreements strengthen traffic flow through our Vancouver hub and provide a greatly expanded choice of international destinations for the customers of Canadian Airlines, Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air.

The code-sharing agreement between the carriers is expected to generate significant incremental revenue to the carriers annually. The carriers will exchange traffic primarily between Vancouver, Seattle and numerous cities across the western U.S. and Canada.

Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air are wholly owned subsidiaries of Alaska Air Group, Inc. Together, the carriers serve more than 70 cities in eight Western states, Canada and Mexico. With its travel partners, Canadian serves over 300 North American destinations and more than 600 worldwide, including over 80 flights weekly between Canada and Asia.
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