Alaska Air Cargo has shut down its Unalaska office.
Starting Nov. 1, Alaska Airlines will no longer haul freight on island flights, which are operated in partnership with PenAir.
“Passenger services remain unaffected," said Jason Berry, managing director for cargo at Alaska. "The difference is we will no longer carry cargo on that airplane, and the main reason is that is it’s a very capacity-constrained flight.”
Berry said Alaska can’t offer reliable cargo service on its own, because island flights are packed with passenger bags. On top of that, he said PenAir’s decision to close its cargo business cut off Alaska’s access to extra freighters.
Now, the airline is turning to ACE Air Cargo.
Instead of leaning heavily on PenAir, Alaska will contract ACE to haul all of Unalaska’s freight.
“With us not carrying a lot of cargo as it was, we felt like this wasn’t going to create a giant gap or hole in the community’s access to cargo," said Berry. "The reality is that it was going to go with our interline partner, either way."
He said it should be an easy transition for customers.
“The only major change is that if you want to ship directly out of Anchorage, you go directly to ACE's office rather than our building," said Berry. "And it’s vice-versa in Dutch Harbor: If you need to ship out of Dutch Harbor, it all goes through ACE’s facility.”
For cargo shipments between Unalaska and locations other than Anchorage, customers should still work directly with Alaska Airlines.
KUCB’s Zoe Sobel contributed to this story.