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Alaska Air back to normal schedule in Alaska

Posted: Tuesday, September 18, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Alaska Airlines was running essentially all its regular service in Alaska and between the state and the Lower 48 on Monday, according to airline spokesman Jack Evans.

The Seattle-based carrier concentrated on getting service in Alaska going first, then moved to add flights from Alaska to the Lower 48 on Thursday and Friday, Evans said. Other service has been added since, including flights to Mexico and Vancouver, in Canada, on Monday.

For the rest of this week, the airline plans to run about 75 percent of its normal schedule, Evans said.

The airline was about to fill 65 to 70 percent of its seats over the weekend, Evans said. That's roughly a normal load.

''We had a backlog of cruise passengers trying to get back to Seattle and points beyond,'' Evans said.

Last week's cancellations were costly for the airline. With the all-but-total shutdowns on Tuesday and Wednesday, the airline lost about $4 million a day, he said. Employees were paid their regular wages for those days.

On Thursday, the airline was able to run just 7 or 8 percent of its normal flights. That figure was up to 25 percent on Friday and about 65 percent over the weekend.

While some airlines are running up against deadlines for loan payments, Alaska Airlines is in a pretty strong cash position, Evans said. On a Yahoo financial website, the company is credited with $370 million in cash for the most recent quarter. The company' stock still fell nearly 29 percent to $21.68 a share as airline shares fell sharply when trading resumed in the nation's financial markets.

One flight that's not going back on the schedule for now is the service from Anchorage to Washington, D.C., by way of Seattle. Alaska Airlines began that service on Sept. 4, but had to suspend it because the Reagan National Airport has been closed. Evans said the airline is looking at the possibility of resuming the service using another airport in the capital region. Reagan National has been closed indefinitely because of its proximity to the White House, the Capitol, the Pentagon and national shrines.

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