Alaska Airlines and Amazon Indicate Economic Growth for the Milwaukee Area

Since 9/11 the airlines have faced some difficult times. Many airlines did not survive the perfect storm of public fear, recession and rising fuel prices that have plagued the industry for the last 15 years. It is a good sign for the economy as a whole to see growth in the vital air-travel industry; and a good sign for the Milwaukee economy that Alaska Airlines chose to come here.

Alaska Air, which has a reputation as a well-run, profitable airline, wouldn’t have added the service if it didn’t think it could succeed, airline industry-watchers said.” – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

This new addition to the General Mitchel Airport comes as a direct result of the Amazon distribution center in Kenosha.

“It was one of a number of drivers in our decision,” Bobbie Egan, spokeswoman for Alaska Airlines said in an email [to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]. “The travel patterns of our business customers definitely factor into our new market decisions. Amazon is a key client for us.”- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

This is a win for the airport as well as for passengers. The recent Economic climate has forced airlines to merge making most of the commercial air travel dominated by just a few companies all of which already fly out of General Mitchell Airport. This makes attracting new business and growth difficult.

Airline industry-watchers said Milwaukee airport officials had been actively putting word out in the air travel industry and pitching airlines about the possibility of either expanding or adding Seattle service here…Attracting new air service is a difficult proposition these days. Four major carriers dominate 80% of the U.S. air travel market and all four already serve Milwaukee.” – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 

This expansion is the result of Alaska Air’s expansion of their partnership with Sky West.

 The expansion is through a partnership with SkyWest Airlines and will allow Seattle-based Alaska (NYSE: ALK) to begin offering daily nonstop flights between Seattle and Milwaukee starting July 1, 2015. It also will be adding flights between Seattle and Oklahoma City and between Portland, Ore., and St. Louis. The Utah-based SkyWest Inc. (NASDAQ: SKYW) has purchased seven E175 aircraft to fly on behalf of Alaska under a capacity purchase agreement. The first three aircraft will arrive in summer 2015, and the remaining four will be delivered in early 2016.”- Milwaukee Business journal

Alaska Air’s brand new 75 passenger planes will be arriving from and departing to Seattle once a day in the late afternoon. A one way ticket will cost $119.00. The Alaska Air/ Sky West partnership will be directly competing with Southwest Airline who is currently the only airline offering non-stop service to Seattle from General Mitchell Airport.

Adding a second carrier with non-stop flights to Seattle, a major hub for the west coast, means easier travel, easier shipping, and a more attractive airport for businesses. This is a small step towards attracting more businesses with similar goals to the Milwaukee area and creating a thriving Aerotopolis.


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