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2014: 201,532
2013: 330,818

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Delta Air Lines Announces Additional Service Out of Seattle

Delta Air Lines is to start Boeing 747-400 service to Seattle next June. Image by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren.

Delta Air Lines is to start Boeing 747-400 service to Seattle next June. Image by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren.

Today Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines made a joint announcement at Seattle Tacoma International Airport regarding increased service. Some (including myself) were hoping for something a bit more substantial, but more options to/from SEA is always a good thing.

The growth and customer enhancements include (from Delta’s press release):

  • Proposed new nonstop Delta service between Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Shanghai Pu Dong International Airport, pending approval by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
  • Proposed new nonstop Delta service between Seattle and Haneda Airport in Tokyo, pending DOT approval.
  • The deployment of Delta’s flagship Boeing 747-400 jet on flights between Seattle and Narita Airport in Tokyo, featuring a fully upgraded interior with full flat-bed seats in BusinessElite, individual in-flight entertainment in every seat throughout the aircraft, expanded overhead bins and other amenities.
  • Newly upgraded Boeing 767-300 aircraft on Delta’s flights between Seattle and Paris, Beijing and Osaka, Japan, also offering full flat-bed seats in BusinessElite and upgraded amenities.
  • Additional nonstop Delta service between Seattle and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.
  • Upgraded BusinessElite service on all Delta Seattle-JFK flights to match the product and amenities of Delta’s JFK service from Los Angeles and San Francisco.
  • Sea-Tac airport improvements including a new Delta Sky Club, new power ports throughout Delta’s facilities, expanded ticket counters, lobby renovations and other improvements.
  • An ongoing partnership between Delta and Alaska that includes codesharing in Seattle and shared customer benefits including reciprocal lounge access and frequent flier programs.

“Delta’s expansion in Seattle will link this important West Coast city even closer with key markets in Asia, boosting its economy, creating jobs and providing benefits to travelers across the Pacific Northwest region,” said Richard Anderson, Delta’s chief executive. “This kind of international growth is possible only because of our partnership with Alaska, and customers of both our airlines will benefit from this newly strengthened relationship.”

This will be the third and only US airline to operate the Boeing 747-400 out of SEA starting on June 1, 2013. The others are British Airways to London and Eva Airways to Taipei.

Airline Livery of the Week: Alaska Airlines Salmon-Thirty-Salmon II

The new Salmon-Thirty-Salmon livery shown off in Anchroage. Image from Alaska Airlines. CLICK FOR LARGER.

The new Salmon-Thirty-Salmon livery shown off in Anchorage. Image from Alaska Airlines. CLICK FOR LARGER.

One of the best liveries out there was Alaska Airline’s original Salmon-Thirty-Salmon livery on a Boeing 737-400. The airline re-painted the old salmon livery a while back and many have missed it (including me). Have no fear – a new salmon livery is here. This week, Alaska unveiled their Salmon-Thirty-Salmon II livery in Anchorage and it is even better than the first.

The new Salmon-30-Salmon has winglets. Image from Alaska Airlines. CLICK FOR LARGER.

The new Salmon-30-Salmon has winglets. Image from Alaska Airlines. CLICK FOR LARGER.

This time, a Boeing 737-800 was used as a larger canvas. The fish-plane comes in at 91,000 pounds and measures at almost 129 feet. Alaska calls this “the most intricately painted commercial aircraft in the world.”

There are not too many differences between the older salmon livery and the newer one. The concept remained the same; to paint a huge salmon on a plane. One of the biggest changes is the fact that the 737-800 has winglets with scales. Also the “Alaska” name is painted in a salmon color versus white of the previous design.

How could you not smile flying such a beautiful plane? Image from Alaska Airlines. CLICK FOR LARGER.

How could you not smile flying such a beautiful plane? Image from Alaska Airlines. CLICK FOR LARGER.

The design used four gallons of Mylar paint to create an iridescent sparkle over the nearly 3500 fish scales. Crews worked 27 days straight in Oklahoma City and used 21 unique colors to get this amazing livery completed.

“Today, we are proud to introduce the largest flying fish to all of Alaska and the world,” said Marilyn Romano, Alaska Airlines’ regional vice president of the state of Alaska. “Not only will this special plane spotlight the best, most sustainable seafood harvest in the world, it will also remind us of the important role the seafood industry has on the Alaska economy. On behalf of the 1,700 Alaska Airlines employees working in the state, we are also proud to safely fly the thousands of men and women who work in the seafood industry throughout the Last Frontier.”

Brandon Farris caught the S7S landing in Seattle.

Brandon Farris caught the S7S landing in Seattle.

A big thanks to Brandon for letting me share his photo of the Salmon-30-Salmon landing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

The above video highlights the process of painting the Salmon-30-Salmon livery.

What are Alaska and Delta Up to In Seattle? You Tell Me.

What do Alaska and Delta have up their sleeves? Photo by Paul Carter.

What do Alaska and Delta have up their sleeves? Photo by Paul Carter.

Today Alaska Airlines sent out a media advisory stating that their CEO, Brad Tilden, and Delta Air Lines CEO, Richard Anderson, will make a joint announcement on Monday about, “new service, product enhancements in Seattle.” What does that mean exactly? I am not sure.

The advisory continues to say that they plan, “to announce Delta and Alaska Airlines’ latest steps in Seattle, which include new service and product enhancements. Alaska operates the most flights at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, while Delta is the market’s largest provider of Asian and trans-Atlantic service. Through their partnership, the two carriers provide air travelers with connections throughout the Northwest and elsewhere on codeshare flights, as well as reciprocal lounge and frequent flier benefits.”

Rumors about Alaska and Delta have been swarming for years. Although I doubt this is an announcement that Delta will be taking over Alaska, it has to be something pretty major for Anderson to come in from Atlanta.

What are you guesses on what the announcement might include? Leave them in the comments and let your imagination soar. We can all find out on Monday.

Thanks to Paul for letting me use his photo.


Flying Old Soviet Metal Inside North Korea


Ilyushin Il-18 with flight attendants for Air Koryo, flying from Pyongyang to Samjiyon.Image by Paul Filmer.

Paul Filmer (aka @Skippyscage) recently took a trip to North Korea and had some amazing experiences flying on old soviet aircraft. He posted his experience on his website and above is just one of many great photos and below is an except and another photo. These experiences won’t last too much longer and I am glad that Paul was able to share. Here is part of his story…

I was alerted to a trip to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) via a newsgroup posting which promised the opportunity to fly on a variety of Soviet aircraft including the Il-62 and the Il-18. After doing a little research and talking to the tour organiser, David Thompson of Juche Travel Services (JTS) in London, I decided to take the plunge. Other operators have attempted aviation centric tours in the past, but photography of the aircraft involved had been almost impossible, so the chance of flights plus photo opportunities was a big pull for me.

All visits to the DPRK must be co-ordinated via the Korean International Tourism Company (KITC) which is a state run company that provides transport and guides, as you are still not allowed to travel inside the country independently.

The majority of visitors arrive via China, as only a handful of countries have flights to the DPRK, and Air Koryo has a small fleet with restricted routes due to sanctions and bans. Our tour would depart Beijing Capital Airport, and this is the major hub for such flights, with multiple sectors operating on some days. Other destinations served include Shenyang in China, Vladivostok in Russia and Bangkok in Thailand.

Air Koryo Ilyushin Il-62 flying from Beijing to Pyongyang. Image by Paul Filmer.

Air Koryo Ilyushin Il-62 flying from Beijing to Pyongyang. Image by Paul Filmer.

It would be remiss to not mention the long and complex changes that have happened to this country over the last century to put the current political climate into some kind of perspective. Japan annexed Korea from 1910 until the end of World War II, when Japan surrendered, and the country was divided at the 38th parallel by the United Nations, with the Soviet Union administering the North and the United States the South. Both Korean governments wanted to control the whole of the Korean peninsular, and border conflicts escalated over the years until a full-scale civil war broke out in 1950, the infamous Korean War.

This could also be described as the first armed conflict of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States and created the idea of a proxy war, where the superpowers would fight in a remote country. The North managed to push almost all the way to the far south before eventually being forced back northwards. An armistice was signed in 1953 where the original border set in 1945 was re-established. Part of the deal was that Soviet and American forces were to leave the peninsular, but only the Soviets left in the end, leaving a large US presence in South Korea to this day. Keep reading Paul’s story on his website…

Dreamliner Day: ANA Starts First 787 Service to Seattle — Kind Of

ANA's Boeing 787 arrives at SEA to a water cannon salute. Photo by Mal Muir /

ANA’s Boeing 787 arrives at SEA to a water cannon salute. Photo by Mal Muir /

This story was written by correspondent Mal Muir…

Even though the Boeing 787 Dreamliner has been flying the skies commercially for almost a year now, its route network has been limited.  The majority of  flights are made up of Japanese domestic routes operated by ANA, but that is quickly changing. Yesterday one of their 787 essentially “returned to its home,” during the inaugural Narita (NRT) to Seattle (SEA) flight.

ANA's 787 being serviced at SEA.

ANA’s 787 being serviced at SEA.

When ANA’s first Boeing 787 was delivered back in September 2011, it was a rainy day in Seattle. Yesterday was almost the total opposite with the sun shining and Mount Rainier prominently on the horizon. The airport has seen a 787 Dreamliner visit before, but this was the first one operating a revenue flight.

I ended up having to rush to the airport, since the flight was actually an hour early. Yuji Hirako, the Senior Vice President at ANA for the Americas, joked that even though the aircraft may have been delivered late, it’s always good to see an aircraft show up early (he would probably later regret that statement).

ANA pilots stand in front of the 787 at Sea-Tac.

ANA pilots stand in front of the 787 at Sea-Tac.

As the Dreamliner made its approach into Seattle, the crowds at the terminal gathered to watch as the 787 returned to its birth-city.  The aircraft operating the flight (JA814A) was only delivered barely a week prior, on the 23rd of September, making this was its first revenue flight. The aircraft made a stellar touch down on Runway 34L before taxiing to the South Satellite at SeaTac.  Before arriving at the gate, it had a traditional water cannon salute that produced a spectacular rainbow.

The 787 was greeted by plenty of media, guests and invited dignitaries as the Dreamliner Day festivities came into full swing. Speeches were given by Boeing, the Port of Seattle and ANA as they talked about bringing the 787 home, and the friendship that this aircraft can create.  Tom Albro, the Port of Seattle Commissioner, explained how the flight will help to strengthen the relationship between Japan and the Pacific Northwest, .

This 787 () is configured with ANA's international business product.

This 787 (JA814A) is configured with ANA’s international business product.

Soon, we were given the opportunity to tour the interior of the aircraft. Part of the “Inspiration of Japan” initiative by ANA is the Business Staggered seat which gives everyone aisle access and a fully lay-flat seat.  With only 112 seats in Economy and 46 seats in the Business Cabin it certainly feels different since almost 2/3 of the aircraft (space wise) isdedicated to the premium product.

Sadly Dreamliner Day didn’t finish off as promising as it had started.  The airline first announced the flight would be delayed 90 minutes, but  things became worse due to a faulty liquid pump. The first 787 revenue flight out of Seattle was delayed a full 24 hours and at the time of publishing is still set to depart Seattle 1:15pm local time today. Let’s hope that it departs on-time today.

This story will be updated on the 787′s flight departure.