Alaska Airlines Converts 737-700 to Freighter
In the recent news, The Alaska Air Group has made a historical feat in aviation. Many of you are probably not aware that Alaska Airlines is one of few airlines in the world to offer passenger service as well as a dedicated cargo service – Alaska Air Cargo.
Alaska Air Cargo – Background & Fleet Information
As excerpted from Wikipedia:
Alaska Air Cargo has regional operations in parts of the United States and has the most extensive air cargo operations on the west coast of the U.S., larger than that of any other passenger airline. Alaska’s cargo operations are focused primarily on the northwestern contiguous states and Alaska, between Anchorage and Seattle. South from Alaska, goods that are carried primarily include fresh Alaskan seafood, while products carried north from Seattle primarily include US Postal Service mail; in addition, the airline also carries goods for remote Alaskan communities and personal packages. 
Currently, Alaska Air Cargo owns one Boeing 737-400F and three Boeing 737-400Cs, a passenger-cargo Combi jet. All of the freighter and combi-jet aircraft have been in the Alaska Air Cargo fleet for over 10 years now, however, all four are over 20 years of age which is quite old especially for these specific plane models. This aging fleet will be replaced by three new converted 737-700 passenger jets over the next couple of weeks.
Alaska Air Cargo – New 737-700 Freighters
As previously mentioned, Alaska Air Cargo will have a total of three ex-passenger 737-700 aircraft. They are the first airline in the world to do such conversion with these specific aircraft. N627AS has been performing active cargo service duties since September 2017 while N625AS and N626AS are at Tel Aviv (TLV/LLBG) undergoing the conversion process. They are expected to complete the conversion and testing process by mid-October  and enter the fleet towards the tail end of the month. The 737-400C and 737-400F will be retired soon after.
- Range: 3,200 miles.
- Maximum Payload: 42,000 pounds.
- Carries 10,000 more pounds than previous -400C variant.
I think this is amazing news! I’m glad Alaska Air Cargo is finally getting rid of those very old 737-400 freighters and combi-jets. Hopefully Alaska Airlines continues to do this with their older 737 passenger aircraft especially since they’re currently merging with Virgin America.
One thing I will really miss are the 737-400Cs for sure. It’s very rare to see a half cargo-half passenger plane around anymore. I believe there are a few Canadian airlines that use the same equipment but I cannot remember the name of the airline at this moment. If I recall correctly, I believe KLM does this same thing with a few of their 747-400s (if you know the correct information regarding this, please let me know). I think the 737-700F looks so good in the Alaska Air Cargo livery, I must add.
Hopefully other airlines with cargo subsidiaries decide to convert some of their older passenger aircraft to cargo/freighter variants especially with the 737 family. It has a great range, is very versatile, and is the perfect size to serve small to medium-sized cities and towns.
What do you guys think about this? Do you think Alaska Airlines made a smart decision? Should other passenger airlines with cargo subsidiaries do the same? React to this new information below! :)