Alaska: A Caring and
Careful Airline — June 2022

Alaska Airlines is 90 years old but its name is a heritage, reflecting its origins in the 49th state. Alaska Air Group (AAG) — the holding company for the mainline airline and Horizon, the regional airline — has been head-quartered at Seattle since the late 1950s and the vast majority of its operations are based in the Pacific North West and California. Culturally, it is very West Coast: “Care” is its official buzzword, permeating its branding and employee communications. (With David Neeleman’s Breeze proclaiming that it is “nice”, US airlines seem to be on a mission to rescue the industry’s image.)

The care message was central to CEO Ben Minicucci’s presentation to equity analysts and financiers at Alaska’s investor day, held in late March in New York, the first such meeting for three years. Minicucci regaled the analysts with what he himself described as “fluffy stuff”, including the story of how he was inspired by his father, an illiterate Italian who emigrated to the US after WW2. The Wall Street types remained dry-eyed.

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