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Vol. 19, No. 34 Week of August 24, 2014
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

AK-WA Connection 2014: Airline flies Alaska salmon to market

Cargo carrier specializes in keeping the state’s celebrated seafood fresh during shipment to the Pacific Northwest and beyond

Rose Ragsdale

Alaska Washington Connection

Alaska Air Cargo delivered the season’s first shipment of Alaska Copper River salmon to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in mid-May. The arrival of six fish-filled Boeing 737s in Seattle and other cities throughout the United States marked the start of the summer salmon season and is an annual rite of passage anticipated by seafood lovers throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

The flights from Cordova, Alaska, transported fresh fish from three Alaska seafood processors: Copper River Seafoods, Ocean Beauty Seafoods and Trident Seafoods.

Alaska Airlines plays a significant role in supporting the Alaska seafood industry, which is recognized worldwide for its sustainable fishing practices. Last year, the carrier flew more than 24.5 million pounds of fresh Alaska seafood to the Lower 48 states and beyond, including 1 million pounds of Copper River salmon.

“No other airline delivers more Copper River salmon to the Lower 48 than Alaska Airlines, and making that happen within 24 hours after the fish is pulled from the water is no small feat,” said Betsy Bacon, managing director of Alaska Air Cargo. “Hundreds of employees from across the state of Alaska, Seattle and beyond spend months getting ready for the busy summer fish season.”

Seafood quality training

Alaska Air Cargo says salmon caught in Alaska arrives as fresh as possible to grocery stores and restaurants across the nation, thanks in part to a cool-chain training program required of all airline employees who handle perishables. The employees are required to adhere to strict seafood quality standards and pass an annual food quality course.

Seafood processors and shippers follow these cool-chain standards to provide a temperature-controlled environment for proper food handling. The goal is to keep seafood moving rapidly throughout its journey on Alaska Airlines and maintain a consistent temperature range from the time a fish leaves the water to when it arrives at stores and restaurants.

Alaska Airlines, a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group, together with its partner regional airlines, serves nearly 100 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico.



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