MIAMI — Alaska Air Cargo welcomed a one-of-a-kind converted Boeing 737-700 cargo aircraft from an all-passenger to an all-freight aircraft that entered into commercial service Wednesday from Seattle to the state of Alaska. The conversion process, performed by Israel Aerospace Industries in Tel Aviv, lasted 19 months.
On September 6, Alaska pilots flew the converted Boeing 737-700 from Tel Aviv to Belfast, Ireland. Then, the plane arrived in Bangor, Maine and continued its way, for scheduled maintenance, to Greensboro, North Carolina. And for the last phase, the aircraft was painted in Victorville, California before arriving in Seattle.
Wayne Newton, Alaska Airlines vice president of airport operations and customer service, established:
This one-of-a-kind aircraft marks the beginning of a new era at Alaska Airlines. With an all-freight fleet, our cargo business is now a stand-alone operation, allowing us to better focus on the needs of our cargo customers.
Currently, Alaska operates one 737-400 freighter and four 737-400 combi aircraft, which carries both passengers and cargo. The carrier is going to deliver two more converted Boeing 737-700. However, its entire combi fleet will be retired on October 18. Alaska
The carrier is going to deliver two more converted Boeing 737-700. However, its entire combi fleet will be retired on October 18.
Moreover, Jason Berry, Alaska Air Cargo managing director, stated on remodeling cargo operations and services:
The new freighter will transform our cargo business and allow us to provide more efficient and consistent service. Now we can move more freight than ever before, and optimize schedules to meet the needs of our cargo partners.
The new fleet of all-freight aircraft will principally serve the state of Alaska and offer regular, scheduled service to 17 communities across the state.
- An uninterrupted range of 3,200 miles.
- The maximum net payload of 42,000 pounds.
- Over 10,000 pounds of cargo per plane can be carried by the 737-700 freighter (In contrast with its current 737-400 freighter).
- The registered tail number for its converted freighter is N627AS (Currently, N626AS and N625AS aircraft are experiencing the conversion process in Tel Aviv).