Alaska-based start-up airline Northern Pacific recently acquired 6 ex-American Airlines Boeing 757s from the aircraft leasing company AerSale. Most of the aircrafts are over 20 years of age and were retired in January of last year from American Airlines. One of these 6 Boeing 757-200s, previously registered N206UW, is currently going through extensive checks for its functionality for which it will receive its new Northern Pacific livery later this year. This first Boeing 757 is expected to be delivered to Northern Pacific in December this year, and it’s registration will be N627NP.
Northern Pacific is also planning to purchase an additional 6 Boeing 757-200s from AerSale or other contractors before its estimated operation kickoff next year. The airline plans to have at least 12 aircraft before its launch in 2022.
Northern Pacific’s choice to use years-old 757 aircraft for operations comes from the timeframe they are able to receive these aircraft. Rather than ordering new aircraft or buying more popular aircraft variants, Northern Pacific can acquire these ex-757s faster and put them into service sooner. These 757 aircraft are also capable of crossing the Pacific, which will be important for the airline’s targeted destinations. The selection of the 757-200 rather than the -300 variant is probably also due for this reason, as the -200 variant has farther range than its larger component.
About Northern Pacific
Northern Pacific Airlines is based around a low-cost business model for flights connecting North America to Asia. The airline plans to operate routes from the mainland United States to its hub at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in Alaska, where it will fly routes directly to Asia. This way, the airline would expand the number of direct routes across the Pacific and provide a connection for tourists who may want to visit Alaska along the way. Northern Pacific would be the first “low-cost” carrier to operate routes spanning the Pacific to Asia from North America. The airline is looking at Tokyo and Seoul for its potential Asian destinations with the 757. For destinations beyond these cities, however, Northern Pacific will have to acquire other, perhaps larger, aircraft.
Beyond its 12 aircraft goal by next year, Northern Pacific plans to have a fleet of around 50 aircraft in the following several years. The CEO of Northern Pacific, Rob McKinney, told Simple Flying that reaching this number of aircraft with the 757 was difficult and that they would be “definitely looking at next generation, 737 MAX or the A321XLR, something like that” in the future. The airline also anticipates wide-body aircraft in the future for its 50 aircraft fleet goal.
Concerning their onboard product, Northern Pacific is planning to incorporate a premium economy class, similar to Delta’s Comfort+, on their flights along with the usual economy class. Northern Pacific’s premium economy class however won’t be too lavish, as they are a low-cost airline. The airline is adding this product with their low-cost model since having a packed, all-economy plane on a long-haul flight would be tedious and straining.
Northern Pacific’s CEO
Northern Pacific’s CEO, Rob McKinney, has had a history of success dealing with the airline industry. In 2002, Mckinney directed and led Hawaiian commuter airline ‘Pacific Wings’ to triple its demand in 3 years. Under the direction of Mckinney as COO, Mokulele Airlines also grew from an air tour service to a commuter airline in Hawaii. Mckinney also co-founded a commuter service in Southern California called FLOAT (Fly Over All Traffic) Shuttle. FLOAT had acquired Ravn Alaska Airlines and PenAir during the COVID-19 pandemic, both regional commuter airlines in Alaska. Along with having managed all of these small airline companies, Rob Mckinney is also a Learjet pilot himself, which shows him to be well engaged with aviation.
The concept of Northern Pacific is an ambitious airline goal. Connecting Alaska to other parts of the world and across the Pacific via narrow-body aircraft is a captivating idea, and it would make travel to other continents easier and cheaper, similar to Jetblue’s transatlantic flights to London with the A321LR. Hopefully, Northern Pacific will prosper in the next several years and facilitate straightforward travel to Alaska and beyond.
Cover Image: One Mile at a Time