Alaska Airlines expands Central America presence to Belize
Alaska Airlines has announced its latest international destination. With flights to Belize slated to begin in November, the airline will offer six cumulative weekly frequencies to Belize City from two of the airline’s hubs on the west coast. Belize is the fourth country in Alaska to offer non-stop service.
Alaska Airlines expands to Belize
Alaska Airlines will add two new routes to Belize this fall. Starting November 19, Alaska will connect Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) to Philip SW Goldson International Airport (BZE).
The times are as follows (all times are local):
- LAX-BZE departs at 11:00 a.m. and arrives at 5:30 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays
- BZE-LAX departs at 10:00 a.m. and arrives at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays
- SEA-BZE leaves at 8:30 a.m. and arrives at 4:35 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays
- BZE-SEA leaves at 11:00 a.m. and arrives at 3:55 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays
Brett Catlin, vice president of network and alliances at Alaska Airlines, said the following on the routes:
“Our customers are hungry for more eco-friendly leisure destinations, especially since they are getting vaccinated, and we are ready to provide them with great options. Belize offers an unbeatable mix of sensational beaches, iconic cays and a rich heritage.
Alaska Airlines has announced that it is adding flights to Belize and expanding its order book for Embraer E175 and Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.
Alaska Airlines will use a Boeing 737-800 on the route. With room for 159 passengers on board, Alaska has divided the plane into three experiences. There are 12 first class reclining style seats in the front of the cabin. This is followed by 30 economy seats with more legroom and 117 standard economy seats.
The first class is in a 2-2 configuration. Economy and economy class sections with more legroom are in a 3-3 configuration. Alaska Airlines offers free Wi-Fi and onboard streaming entertainment with access to power. There are no seat back entertainment monitors.
Alaska Airlines plans to start modernizing the Boeing 737-800s this year. Details remain relatively slim, although Alaska is expected to harmonize its fleet in terms of products, aligning it more with planes like the Boeing 737 MAX in terms of on-board offerings. The Boeing 737 is Alaska’s workhorse. Going forward, the airline wants to focus entirely on the 737 for its fleet and future needs.
Alaska’s fourth country
After Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica, Belize is the fourth country to join the Alaska road network. Alaska Airlines generally tends to fly more on domestic flights than on international flights, largely due to the configuration of its network.
As a carrier primarily on the west coast, the airline’s best international options for short and medium haul operations are Canada, Mexico and Central America. Alaska Airlines does not and has no interest in taking wide-body aircraft to launch flights across the Pacific Ocean.
Alaska Airlines has hubs in Los Angeles and Seattle, which allows it to target connecting passengers on its own metal. Los Angeles and Seattle are two major cities where the airline can target some origin and destination demand from vacationers looking for a beach getaway.
With the American Airlines partnership, there has been speculation as to whether American would allow Alaska Airlines to expand its presence in Central America, given American Airlines’ strength in Latin America.
This clearly shows that Alaska Airlines has a lot of room to expand its network and target points in Central America. American Airlines is also present in the Los Angeles to Belize market. However, American Airlines scheduled this flight as a red eye to Belize and additional flight time for the return flight from Alaska. American Airlines also flies fewer frequencies per week between the two markets.
This bodes well for a potential future expansion of Alaska Airlines. Other options in Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico may be on the horizon. With access to American customers, who know the airline for its strong presence in Latin America, Alaska Airlines could open new direct lines in the region.
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