Last week, America’s newest airline — Northern Pacific Airways — put on a fabulous show at the unveiling of their first aircraft, a Boeing 757-200. Press from as far as Great Britain, Barcelona, Hawaii, and New York City flooded the event; many representing aviation media. As we entered the hanger at California’s San Bernardino International Airport, a video of the shiny new bird was projected on the wall, garnering excitement for the unveiling of the actual plane later that evening.
Rob McKinney, the airlines CEO, was there for interviews. McKinney has been instrumental in launching and resurrecting numerous airlines in his career. Most recently, Alaska’s RAVN airline in 2020 to which Northern Pacific will join.
McKinney touts Northern Pacific as an Alaskan company initially making Anchorage their hub. Starting the end of 2022, flights from East Asia will stop in The Frontier State before continuing on to cities in California, Nevada, New York and Florida. Eventually, Northern Pacific will expand their routes. But for now, with COVID restrictions, the soon to be fleet of eight planes will shuttle between those locations. Within five to seven years they’re hoping to have 50 planes!
The Boeing 757-200 narrow-body will have three classes — business, economy plus, and economy — with hopes of filling 180 seats daily between the classes. Unlike traditional loyalty programs which offer points or miles, Northern Pacific will provide the cryptocurrency Fly Coin. Passengers will acquire cryptocurrency they can use to book future flights and eventually Anchorage airport merchants will accept Fly Coin as a form of payment.
It’s both exciting and peculiar launching an airline during a pandemic. But then again, should Northern Pacific need to iron out any problems, this will be the time before air travel is in full swing again.