We recently closed the books on a very good 2017, and before we get too much further into 2018, I want to pause and reflect on what you, our customers, have helped create.
Measured as a whole, 2017 was a remarkable year. We flew 44 million of you around this incredible country – and beyond – with the great value and the caring and genuine service that has made Alaska Airlines successful for more than 85 years. We also made significant progress in our merger with Virgin America, achieving a single operating certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration in early January. By the end of April, we will have a single shopping/reservations/check-in system, and we will be 75 percent complete with the process of merging our companies – which means a more streamlined experience for you.
Looking ahead to 2018, Virgin America is bringing fresh energy and ideas as we update our guest experience. A recent article in Condé Nast Traveler says the merger of Alaska Airlines and Virgin America is “what happens when the cool kid of the skies hooks up with the straight-A student. You get a straight-A student who’s now dressing a little more punk rock and cracking open a beer in the parking lot.”
Our teams have been working hard at Alaska to incorporate all that guests love about Virgin America into the Alaska Airlines brand they respect and can count on. We’re two incredible, pioneering airlines in the business and we’re linking arms for the future.
Here’s some of what you can expect
- A lot more places to fly. We added 44 new routes in the last year, along with the 38 additional routes operated by Virgin America.
- High-speed satellite Wi-Fi implementation in our Boeing and Airbus aircraft, starting with the first airplane in March.
- Updated and expanded airport lounges, and a New York/JFK lounge opening in April and a new 15,000-square-foot flagship lounge in Seattle – opening in 2019.
- Modern new interiors on our aircraft with blue mood lighting on board, and a single Alaska-branded airport experience with music to celebrate our West Coast
- More free texting, and more than 200 movies and TV shows running for free, direct to your device.
- West Coast-inspired onboard food and beverage choices, including healthy natural ingredients, full-pour regional wine and microbrews.
Living our values
We’re also proud to be making a difference in other ways, such as:
- Winning with our people. We rewarded our employees with $148 million in bonuses for their fantastic 2017 performance.
- Embracing equality. Alaska received a perfect score of 100 percent for workplace equality on the 2018 Corporate Equality Index.
- Leading the industry in fuel efficiency for the seventh consecutive year as measured by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.
- Giving back in our communities. Alaska donated over $14 million and contributed more than 32,000 volunteer hours in 2017 to support nonprofits, especially those connecting young people with education and opportunity.
- Running a great airline. Alaska ranked in the top five of the most engaged companies, and the highest airline, in the U.S. by Forbes Insights, which measured social media engagement, net promoter scores and year-over-year sales growth.
As you can see, we’re making fantastic progress and 2018 is shaping up to be a great year to be part of Alaska Airlines. We’re making investments in our community and in our business as well as offering great value, genuine caring service, a generous loyalty program and a safe and reliable operation. Thank you for being on the journey with us, and for supporting our incredible growth over the years. Our commitment to you is that we’re going to do everything we can to continue creating an airline people love.