Northern Pacific Airways Launches Inaugural Fight After Long Delay

Northern Pacific Airways, one of the newest airlines in the United States, has finally launched its inaugural flight after several delays due to regulatory challenges. The airline, which aims to connect passengers from the mainland US to Asia via Anchorage, Alaska, took off from Ontario International Airport in California to Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas on July 14, 2023.


A long-awaited launch

The launch of Northern Pacific Airways was a project 719 days in the making, according to Rob McKinney, CEO of FLOAT Alaska LLC, which owns the airline. The carrier had to go through a rigorous certification process with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which involved creating 32 manuals, passing a financial fitness test, completing tabletop exercises, and performing an evacuation drill. The airline had initially planned to start operations on June 23, 2023, but had to postpone it due to operational challenges in the proving flights, which are required to demonstrate the ability to safely operate the aircraft type. The airline received its Operations Specifications from the FAA on July 8, 2023, and was ready to launch its first flight six days later. McKinney expressed his excitement and pride in a statement: "It’s been a long road but we are truly excited about welcoming our guests onboard on the 14th of July. I am proud to say that we have successfully completed many of the challenging regulatory milestones required to start service and are excited to be in the home stretch.”


A unique fleet and route network

Northern Pacific Airways operates a fleet of four Boeing 757-200 aircraft, which have been completely retrofitted with a new interior and a distinctive livery designed by Edmond Huot, the Chief Creative Officer at Forward Studio. The livery features a black mask around the cockpit windows, which Huot said was an intentional attempt to update and modernize the iconic aircraft type and pay homage to the orca whale. The Boeing 757-200 used on the inaugural flight was registered as N628NP and had previously flown for US Airways and American Airlines. The flight departed from Ontario at 14:57 and arrived in Las Vegas at 15:37, becoming the most tracked flight on the FlightRadar24 app with more than 30,000 people following it at one point. The Ontario-Las Vegas route is not the typical choice for a startup airline, but McKinney said he had identified an underserved market in this segment. The airline will have one weekly roundtrip between the two cities for the time being. However, the ultimate goal of Northern Pacific Airways is to connect passengers from the mainland US to Asia via Anchorage, where the airline has invested significantly to provide an exceptional passenger experience.


The airline plans to launch flights from Anchorage to Tokyo Narita Airport in Japan and Seoul Incheon Airport in South Korea by late 2023 or early 2024. It also intends to expand its domestic network by adding flights from Anchorage to Los Angeles International Airport and San Francisco International Airport. Northern Pacific Airways is one of the most ambitious and innovative airlines in the US market. With its unique fleet, route network, and passenger service, it hopes to offer a new way of traveling across the Pacific.

Endless Possibilities

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