Northern Pacific’s fresh livery on its first 757-200 at SBD
Planning to connect cities in the United States to Japan and Korea via its hub at Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage, Alaska, a la Icelandair’s routes to Europe via Reykjavik, Northern Pacific Airways (NPA) rolled out their first painted 757-200 at an extravagant event at southern California’s San Bernardino International Airport (SBD).
The airline is aiming to launch service later in 2022, although that may slip to 2023 due to the complexities of starting an international route system.
Founded in 2021 by Rob McKinney and Tom Hsieh, Northern Pacific has already purchased six Boeing 757-200 airliners, and their first one has been painted and is completing its C-check at Certified Aviation Services at SBD. The three-class interior (business, economy plus, and economy) has not yet been installed. The airline is a subsidiary of FLOAT Alaska, which also owns regional carrier Ravn Alaska.
The interiors will be of the three-class variety typical of LCCs: business, premium economy, and economy.
We sat down with NPA’s CEO Rob McKinney for a quick interview before the unveiling.
Asked why they opted for Boeing 757s, which are getting long in the tooth (Boeing stopped production in 2004), McKinney said “it can do the mission we need out of the gate,” especially as the Airbus A321XLR is not available yet.
With the Dreamliner typically stuck on international duty, it’s been hard to fulfill my Dreamliner Quest. In January, on a trip to Montreal, I finally succeeded! – Photo: John Jamieson
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by commercial aircraft. When I was a kid, I tried my best to learn everything about my two favorite jets: the Fokker F28 and the Boeing 747. Supposedly, when I was in grade one, my teacher found me on Cathay Pacific’s website trying to book a flight to Hong Kong. As I remember it, I was looking up facts about the airline’s new triple-7 fleet.
When Boeing announced plans to build the 7E7, I remember receiving a newspaper clipping from my grandmother. The article, plucked from the pages of the Vancouver Sun, described the aircraft as a “Long-Haul Gamechanger.” With its largely composite design, this aircraft was reportedly going to revolutionize fuel consumption.
Bonus: Dreamliners Going the Distance: New Ultra-Long-Haul Routes For Boeing’s 787
Despite having only flown on a few commercial aircraft (at the time), Boeing’s new jet captured my attention more than any other plane I had yet to encounter. Maybe it was the fancy name or all the marketing hype at the time… it didn’t matter! When the 787 took to the skies in 2011, I needed to fly on it. Little did I know that my Dreamliner Quest would last almost 10 years. On a recent cross-Canada trip to Montreal, I finally succeeded!
It was time to find out what I’d been missing and see if it lived up to all the hype…
With other carriers bringing in record profits, United Airlines struggled to find the “Friendly Skies” after merging with Continental. In eight years together, they’ve experienced more PR nightmares than any other carrier in North America, by a country mile. Burdened by a negative reputation, United became an afterthought; soon overtaken by Delta and American Airlines.
After CEO Jeff Smisek resigned in 2015 under suspicion of corruption, things looked bleak. When incoming CEO, Oscar Munoz, experienced a heart attack one month into the job, the pulse appeared to be gone completely. We struggled to keep an open mind about the airline.
Bonus: Guest Flight Review: United Airlines Doesn’t Live Up To Expectations
Our first experience with the new United, back in 2015, did not go well. In Vancouver, we had difficulty checking in and selecting our seats, our flight from Denver to Austin was canceled and when we were finally re-booked on a later flight, our seats were separated. However, when I visited Austin a year later for the U.S. Grand Prix, United felt like a new airline. This time I had no issues selecting seats, no delays, and no unexplained procedures. Considering my moderate expectations for a basic economy fare, I had nothing to complain about. I couldn’t really judge the airline on my first two experiences; the sample size was too small. I needed another experience to break the tie.
Unfortunately, due to the personal circumstances which were about to unfold, the flight experience would be the least of my concern. But it became an opportunity to put United to the test and come up with a new conclusion. Read on to see a bit more what I am talking about and my two-stop journey on two airlines, and three aircraft types (including flying a 777 domestically).
Flyover Country app offers detail on the Bingham Canyon Mine, which is sometimes visible on approach to SLC
How many times have you looked out the airplane window and wondered what it was you were viewing? What’s that curious rock formation? Is that a volcano?! Why is the water in that lake differently colored than in surrounding bodies? These are the sorts of questions the perpetually-inquisitive flyer might briefly ask themselves. Sadly, these are often fleeting inquiries which never get the attention they are due.
Even the best in-flight entertainment systems provide limited detail, if any. And of course, it’s tough to research over often sketchy in-flight internet. Besides, where would we go to look up these geographic curiosities anyway? Fact is: It’s a chore to answer the simple “what’s that out my window” question.
Well, it was. Enter the free, geeky, and delightfully informative Flyover Country App…
Fun times at the gate for the launch of United’s daily, direct service to London Heathrow (LHR) on a 787-8 Dreamliner. Photo: Kevin P Horn
United Airlines has been aggressively expanding its Denver hub over the last few years. Despite operating 471 flights a day and carrying 42% of traffic, the international routes have been limited to a few flights in Canada, a few south of the border, and the daily Dreamliner to Tokyo. Starting on March 24th, United re-launched, after a hiatus of a few years, seasonal, daily service to London Heathrow on a 787-8 as UA 27 and UA 26.
We were there for the inaugural flight and celebration for this exciting new route. This flight makes for three carriers serving London at once, with Denver’s biggest airline continuing expansion at the airport.