Last week, KYUK reported that Alaska Airlines might cut some of its flights between Bethel and Anchorage, right before the winter holidays. The company has now determined which of its flights will be eliminated.
Alaska Airlines is cutting early morning flights between Bethel and Anchorage from its Tuesday and Wednesday schedules. The change will take effect a few weeks before Thanksgiving, and will reduce the total number of flights on those days from three to two. The company will still provide early morning flights to Anchorage on the other days of the work week.
According to Regional VP Marilyn Romano, Alaska Airlines took the YK Delta’s needs into account when they updated their schedule and worked to eliminate flights that weren’t as popular with residents.
“We really wanted to look at it almost by day to see what the travel patterns were for our customers, really wanted to be a little more thoughtful,” Romano said.
It is unclear if these schedule changes will be temporary or permanent. Romano said that the airline will evaluate the schedule later this winter and determine if any further changes should be made.
She explained that Alaska Airlines is upgrading its fleet, trading in its old combis for newer, larger planes. According to Romano, it might not be cost effective for them to fly larger planes into Bethel as often. She also noted that while the number of flights to Bethel will go down, the airline's new planes are large enough that the number of seats available to Bethel flyers will go up 23 percent.
These cuts could have been a lot worse. Several weeks ago, Alaska Airlines uploaded a schedule to its website that eliminated all of Bethel’s early morning flights this holiday season, raising concerns that residents would no longer be able to make day trips to Anchorage for work. Romano said that that schedule was incorrect and was uploaded by mistake.