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How Alaska Airlines is Supporting Remote Communities with Donated Fuel
Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, many airlines are flying with fewer passengers. And as a result, the frequency of many regularly scheduled air routes has been reduced to, in many cases, a couple of days per week. This in part, has had a direct effect on not only the passenger demand, but it has also lowered air service to locations where airplanes are the only mode of transport for passengers and cargo.
However, Alaska Airlines and the Alaska gas and energy branch of British multinational petrochemical company BP have formed a partnership to overcome the current public health emergency, aiming to use their partnership to ramp up operations to support a critical need for flying supplies and those who need access to medical care. Marilyn Romano, regional vice president for Alaska Airlines, commended BP Alaska’s donation of 1 million gallons of Jet-A fuel to reinforce the supply chain in Alaska.
“We have always had a great relationship with BP Alaska, moving both workers and supplies to keep North America’s energy flowing,” Romano said in a prepared statement. “They have been supporting communities throughout Alaska for many years. With the current health crisis, this partnership will allow us to ramp up operations in areas that have seen a loss of air service, and more importantly, support a critical need to fly those needing access to medical care.”
The partnership with BP Alaska supports Alaska Airlines’ continuing commitment to serve hard-hit communities and keep them connected. Whether it is for supporting the transport of COVID-19 test kits between cities, moving medical professionals to the communities or allowing Alaskans to reach medical care more easily, the airline is attempting to provide more than just the federally-mandated number of services to each city.
Alaska Airlines provides both passenger and cargo services to 20 different communities across the vast state of Alaska. However, only three of these communities have another available medium — such as a road system — for other forms of transport. Janet Weiss, president of BP Alaska, said she understands this predicament and is proud to have contributed to the efforts of assisting community needs alongside Alaska Airlines.
“We are very proud of our relationship with Alaska Airlines and we were inspired to lend a helping hand as they took quick action to step up their support for remote communities in this incredibly challenging time,” Weiss said in a statement. “Having been in Alaska for 60 years, BP deeply understands the unique reliance that rural Alaska has on air service to provide much-needed food, medical equipment, and other cargo, in addition to passenger transportation. It is our honor to be able to support Alaska Air with 1 million gallons of jet fuel as we are all in this together.”
In addition, with BP Alaska’s gift, Alaska Airlines will match the donation and provide 1 million miles to the American Cancer Society of Alaska’s flight partner program. The Flight Partner program ensures that cancer patients in Alaska have access to air transportation if they are required to receive treatment far from home.
Charissa Habeger, director of community development for the American Cancer Society recognizes the challenges that geographical distance has upon the patients in Alaska. However, with Alaska Airlines’ generous mileage donation, the American Cancer Society of Alaska will be able to address the most urgent problems and provide air transportation for many many patients to receive the correct treatment.
“The barrier of geographical distance between Alaskans facing cancer and their treatment has been one of the most urgent problems the American Cancer Society has faced statewide,” Habeger said in a statement. “Our Flight Partner Program is the only option for many patients to receive the lifesaving care they need, and we appreciate the generous donation of these travel miles from Alaska Airlines.”
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