Brad Tilden testifies on ATC reform

Alaska CEO Brad Tilden testified this week in Washington, D.C., before the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Aviation – see the full text of his prepared remarks below.

Congressman Rick Larsen of Washington, the ranking member on the subcommittee, introduced Tilden and referenced their shared alma mater Pacific Lutheran University.

Tilden took the opportunity to reiterate Alaska’s support for Air Traffic Control reform. He said it’s imperative to speed up modernization of our ATC infrastructure to deal with congestion and delays.

For example, GPS technology is used by most airlines for the en route portion of the trip, but once an airplane starts descending into the arrival and approach phase of a flight, efficient operations are interrupted by the use of 1950s-era radar-based manual procedures.

“Therein lies the specific, big opportunity: We need to modernize the system to connect the en route navigation structure with the approach phase of the flight using today’s technology,” Tilden said.

Tilden emphasized that Alaska is familiar with this technology – in fact, the airline pioneered it.

“In the mid-1990s, in the state of Alaska, we pioneered what is called Required Navigational Performance instrument procedures, which are GPS-based approaches and a key building block of NextGen,” Tilden said. “However, today, more than 20 years later, we are able to use these RNP procedures for just 4 percent of our approaches nationwide.”

Tilden said Alaska believes that ATC reform, including the separation of ATC operations from the FAA and into a not-for-profit, non-government corporation – is needed to put the country on the path of true aviation infrastructure improvement.

One of the subcommittee’s priorities this year is comprehensive reform and reauthorization of the FAA.

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Alaska's frontline employees

A forecasted more than 2,300 frontline jobs will be up for grabs at Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air throughout 2017. The growing airlines are looking for candidates to fill hundreds of flight attendant, pilot, reservations and customer service jobs throughout the airlines’ route network.

Jobs will be posted to and throughout the year. More than 2,000 of the positions do not require previous airline experience.

“This is an exciting time for our airlines – we are growing and that means more new job opportunities in the communities we serve.” says Laura Fowler, Managing Director Talent Acquisition & Inclusion.  “Our team is on the lookout for people who want to be a part of a great culture and help create an airline people love.”

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Family at Pensacola Beach

Finding out your child is in the hospital is terrifying, especially if you get the news while you’re in the air, aboard a flight headed in the opposite direction.

Jason Carlton, a resident of De Queen, Arkansas, was flying on Feb. 20 with two friends from Dallas to a ministry conference in Seattle.

Prior to the trip, Carlton’s 8-year-old daughter, Mia Beth, had been sick with a cold. Mia Beth has severe asthma and has struggled with respiratory distress. Carleton’s wife, Melanie, had scheduled a doctor’s appointment for Mia Beth that morning.

“Since I had an early flight on Monday morning, I had left home on Sunday afternoon to spend Sunday night with friends in Dallas,” said Carlton. “During the night, Mia Beth’s cold went from bad to worse. We were concerned, but it had been two years since her last hospitalization. I decided to go ahead and make my trip to Seattle.”

At the doctor’s office, Mia Beth’s percentage of oxygen saturation had dropped below normal, and her doctor decided to transfer her to the local hospital via ambulance, and then on to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, about 120 miles away.

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Living in the Rose City, Kari Young has a taste for adventure and delicious foods. From close ups of her favorite happy hour snack to the best burger you’ll ever eat, she knows how to show off drool-worthy content to our feed. She just returned from an Instagram takeover in Austin, Texas. as part of Alaska’s Weekend Wanderer series. For more Weekend Wanderer posts, be sure to follow Alaska Airlines on Instagram.

1.Leaving rainy PDX to eat, drink and shop around Austin, TX for my #weekendwanderer trip and I cannot wait to land in Austin and start on this incredible and delicious weekend.

Leaving rainy PDX to eat, drink and shop around Austin, TX for my #weekendwanderer trip and I cannot wait to land in Austin and start on this incredible and delicious weekend.

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people boarding a flight

When you arrive at the airport for a flight, you probably have your routine down. To get to your gate with time to spare, you should be arriving two to three hours before your flight (depending on what airport you are departing from, whether you are checking bags, and whether your flight is domestic or international).  Maybe you check in at a kiosk and self-tag your bag to save a bit of time so you can grab a Starbucks once you clear security.

During that time, Alaska employees are working hard to prepare your flight. As the No. 1 on-time airline in North America, Alaska Airlines has it down to something of a science. So what is going on behind the scenes to make sure your flight gets off the ground safely and on time?

By the time you get to your gate, you may have already missed a lot of the magic, and a lot of the action happens out of view.

Here are just a few things going behind the scenes:

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Photo courtesy of UNCF

Dureti Jamal always knew she wanted to go to college. She just didn’t know how to get there.

As a first-generation college applicant, she didn’t know how to build a resume. She’d never heard of the Common App and didn’t know where to look for potential scholarships.

Then Jamal heard of the Portfolio Project, a program of theUNCF (United Negro College Fund) that provides mentorship and guidance to minority high school students as they navigate the college application project.

“Neither of my parents went to college, so I knew I would have to find help with the applications,” she said. “I definitely could not have done that on my own. I didn’t know anything about the college process – I don’t know what I would have done.”

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Last year was a big year for Alaska Mileage Plan members. While the airline was busy adding new benefits, members were literally flying around the world.

Over the course of 12 months, Alaska’s frequent fliers said goodbye to foreign transaction fees on their Alaska Airlines Visa Signature cards and enjoyed new perks including lower prices for award travel, increased mileage earning on select global partners, and upgradable award tickets for elite members. In the meantime, they were flying. A lot.

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1 p.m., Feb. 6 update

Alaska Airlines continues to respond to ongoing snowfall at its largest hub. In anticipation of additional flight cancellations expected for this evening, we’re extending our flexible travel policy. That means customers can change or cancel flights online at no additional cost. Learn more here.

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Sara Zaki used to think she’d like to be a doctor when she grows up. That was before she spent three formative middle school years as a Michael P. Anderson Memorial Aerospace Program scholar.

Today? The 17-year-old Running Start student plans to be a pilot. An African-American female pilot, to be precise. Because “you just don’t hear about a lot of those.”

Zaki spent three years in the program, which was created in 2008 to honor the memory of astronaut Michael P. Anderson. Anderson, a Spokane, Washington, native, was killed 2003 in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. The program is run by a board of volunteers and features six events each year, the first of which is hosted by the Museum of Flight. The goal is to reach underrepresented youth of color across the state and inspire them to dream bigger about the future.

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Being on a plane can be stressful for a lot of people. But for children with autism, it can be an especially overwhelming and even frightening.

Alaska Airlines helped make the travel experience easier for 53 families this past Saturday during the “Sky’s the Limit” event at Portland International Airport.

The event aims to alleviate some of the stress when flying for families who have a child with autism.

Read more: 5 tips for traveling with a child on the autism spectrum

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