ANCHORAGE (AP) -- United Airlines is ending its cargo flights out of Alaska's largest airport, the airline announced Wednesday.
The decision affects 120 United pilots and 95 ground crew at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport who likely will have to work elsewhere if they want to continue working for United.
Employees who want to leave the Chicago-based airline are being offered a severance and benefits package. United is scheduled to end its cargo business on Dec. 24. It will continue to operate a daily passenger flight from Anchorage to Seattle.
United entered Anchorage's cargo business three years ago, lured by the city's central location between the Lower 48 and Asia. This summer, United signed a five-year lease for 10,000 square feet at the new Alaska CargoPort, an $18 million warehouse complex at the airport. United was the first carrier to move into the facility.
Indications that the airline was considering pulling its cargo flights came with the announcement that United was planning to retire its four DC-10s and replace them with much larger Boeing 747-400s that would not need to stop in Anchorage.
Company officials cited the growing cost of maintaining the DC-10 fleet and a weak export market as factors in ending cargo operations.
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