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Hartsfield-Jackson welcomes Alaska Airlines today

By Maria José Subiria

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport will introduce a new air carrier today, offering its daily passengers more options for visiting Seattle, Wash., and opening more avenues for exploring Alaska and its cities.

Alaska Airlines will have its inaugural flight from the world's busiest airport today, and airport officials and the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau are expected to welcome the new carrier, which will be the latest major U.S. passenger carrier to set up operations at Hartsfield-Jackson in three years.

According to Marianne Lindsey, manager of corporate communications for Alaska Airlines, the carrier will provide its round-trip services once a day, from Atlanta to Seattle, and vice versa. The flight is scheduled to depart from Atlanta each day at 6:10 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, and it will arrive in Seattle at 8:35 p.m., Pacific Standard Time.

Atlanta-bound passengers will be able to depart from Seattle at 9:10 a.m., Pacific Standard Time, and arrive in Atlanta, at 5:10 p.m., Eastern Standard Time.

For the round-trip service, Alaska Airlines will use a Boeing 737-800, which will be able to seat 157 travelers, said Katena Carvajales, media relations manager at Hartsfield-Jackson.

According to Carvajales, Alaska Airlines was recogized by J.D. Power and Associates for being "Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Network Carriers, in [the] North America designation" in 2008.

Carvajales said the addition of the airline to Hartsfield-Jackson's operations, enhances and "complements Hartsfield-Jackson's position as the world's most efficient airport, and its commitment to exceeding customers' expectations."

Lindsey, Alaska Airlines' communications manager, said the carrier had -- and will continue -- to partner with Delta Airlines to provide Atlanta travelers with passage to Seattle. Most passengers were using Delta Air Lines, when departing from Atlanta, making a pit stop in a designated city, then using Alaska Airlines' services to continue their journey to Seattle.

When returning from Seattle to Atlanta, most passengers were using Alaska Airlines' services, and stopping mid-way to switch to Delta Air Lines, Lindsey said.

According to Andrew Harrison, vice president for planning and revenue management for Alaska Airlines, the carrier decided to provide its non-stop, round-trip daily service to the Atlanta market, because Atlanta was one of the cities where the airline was experiencing a higher demand.

"Atlanta is one of the largest markets that we don't currently serve non-stop from Seattle," said Harrison. "With its strong business ties to the state of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, Atlanta will be a great addition to our core route network."