Adding a new aircraft type to a fleet is a challenging task. Switching from props to jets is even harder. And adding international routes further ups the complexity. Northern Pacific is discovering many of these issues as it pushes forward with plans to fly to Korea and Japan from Anchorage, hopefully later this year.
In its application for DOT approval to operate international service the carrier notes that initial operations will run “initially via a wet lease with a certificated U.S. air carrier and subsequently with its own crews and B-757 aircraft.”
Northern Pacific intends to start scheduled service between Anchorage, Alaska, on the one hand, and Korea and Japan, on the other hand, both of which are Open Skies partners of the United States, initially via a wet lease with a certificated U.S. air carrier and subsequently with its own crews and B-757 aircraft.– DOT application for international service
The carrier acquired its first 757-200s in 2021 and began the retrofit process on the aircraft to bring it to Northern Pacific standards. This includes a refresh of the interior, as well as an impressive new paint job, unveiled in January.
But getting it into operational shape is taking a bit longer than originally hoped. CEO Rob McKinney quipped at the livery unveiling even, “Success means that we launch service with 2022 still in the date.” Q3 was a stretch goal, with a more realistic timing of Q4. Even hitting that now appear to require some outside help.
Less clear, however, is if the leased aircraft is necessary because Northern Pacific’s will not be ready for service or if it is an operational certification and training issue. The company requires authorization from the government to operate the larger jets on its Certificate. Proving its qualifications for that work could take some time even beyond just getting the planes fitted with the new seats and such.
More on Northern Pacific’s history and growth plans:
- Ravn Alaska plans international expansion, 757 acquisition, Anchorage hub
- Ravn Alaska registers Northern Pacific name for transpacific LCC operations
- Northern Pacific snags six 757s for Asia service
- Northern Pacific unveils aircraft, addresses service launch challenges
- Streaming IFE, softer seats feature on Northern Pacific’s new interiors
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