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SEATTLE — Alaska Airlines is slowly restoring capacity over most of its routes, but it will remain a smaller airline than it was in 2019, at least for a while.

The company’s director of community marketing in the state spoke recently as part of the Sitka Chamber of Commerce’s Fall Speaker Series.

The US airlines were among the hardest-hit industries by the pandemic. A huge infusion of government relief funding softened the landing, but most people probably never grasped the scale of the crash.

Alaska Airlines was the nation’s fifth-largest airline in 2019. A year later, things had been scaled back dramatically.

"We had to park 66-percent of our fleet, or about 156 airplanes. Finding long-term parking for that many aircraft is much more difficult than one might imagine. We did it, but I’ve got to give it up — the maintenance needs to bring these planes back up and online safely was an order of an extensive magnitude. Our maintenance team did an amazing job putting our planes away and parking them. Today, we’ve brought back many of those aircraft, but not all. We will be a smaller airline, and we’ll be a smaller airline for a while, until demand returns to where it needs to be to bring the entire fleet back,"

the airline said.

Alaska’s daily passenger traffic dropped from a typical 140,000 passengers a day, to 5,000 — at a loss of about $5 million a day. Since then, the carrier has been working to “right-size” its business and to position itself to rebuild when traffic returns to pre-pandemic levels if it ever does.#

Via (KCAW)

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