Sluggish business demand spurs major cutbacks on key routes by Alaska Airlines.

Key Points:

  • Alaska Airlines is set to reduce 72 weekly flights from SFO to Paine Field, Everett, Washington, resulting in a loss of over 5,400 seats.

  • Additional routes facing potential reductions include Los Angeles to Las Vegas, San Francisco to New York JFK, and Seattle to several destinations, summing up to 168 possible flight cuts.

  • Alaska's decision is driven by a slow recovery in business demand post-pandemic, yet the airline eyes expansion to leisure-centric destinations.

SAN FRANCISCO —Alaska Airlines is bracing for a significant route reduction from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) at the beginning of the upcoming year. The cuts will see a decrease of 72 weekly flights, effectively cutting over 5,400 seats from SFO to Paine Field in Everett, Washington.

Further cutbacks are on the horizon. Among them are potential reductions of up to 48 weekly flights on several routes, such as Los Angeles to Las Vegas; San Francisco to both New York JFK and Spokane; and Seattle connecting to cities including Atlanta, Eugene, New York JFK, and others. Beyond San Francisco's precincts, a reduction of an additional 48 weekly flights, translating to over 12,700 seats, is planned across airports in Seattle, Tacoma, and Sacramento.

This accumulation suggests that Alaska Airlines may pare down as many as 168 flights. However, these reductions might not be permanent. Addressing recent news, an Alaska Airlines spokesperson corroborated the information originally disclosed by Simple Flying, stating, "In the aftermath of the pandemic, business demand remains sluggish. As a result, we're temporarily scaling back in some pivotal markets." Yet, in a silver lining for leisure travelers, the spokesperson highlighted, "We’re also ramping up flights to sun-soaked and ski-centric destinations as we approach the end of this year and move into the next, with new destinations like Nassau and Guatemala City on the horizon."

Interestingly, last month bore witness to an announcement from Alaska Airlines, declaring the initiation of nonstop flights thrice daily between SFO and Hollywood Burbank starting December 14, 2023. Following suit, Southwest also unveiled its own set of route reductions between the aforementioned airports.