Alaska Air Cargo Delivers Season’s First Copper River Salmon to Seattle at Daybreak

Alaska Air Cargo delivered the season's first shipment of Copper River salmon to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport just after sunrise today. The arrival of Copper River salmon marks the start...

Alaska Air Cargo delivered the season’s first shipment of Copper River salmon to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport just after sunrise today. The arrival of Copper River salmon marks the start of the summer salmon season and is anticipated by seafood lovers throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

Alaska Air Cargo’s fish-filled freighter arrived at approximately 7:30 a.m. Pacific time with Copper River king and sockeye salmon from three seafood processors: Ocean Beauty Seafoods, Trident Seafoods and Copper River Seafoods. At least two more Alaska Airlines flights today will transport salmon from Cordova, Alaska, to Seattle and Anchorage, Alaska, and across the country.

One of Seattle’s newest residents, University of Washington Husky Football Coach Steve Sarkisian, was on hand to catch the honorary first salmon of the season. Coach Sarkisian then passed the 40-pound king salmon to the highest bidder of a KJR radio-sponsored charity auction.

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 15 million pounds of fresh Alaska seafood to the Lower 48 states and beyond, including nearly 400,000 pounds of Copper River salmon.

"Alaska Airlines flies more Copper River salmon throughout the season than any other airline," said Joe Sprague, Alaska’s vice president of cargo. "With enhanced food quality procedures and additional flights to support the Alaska seafood industry, we are going the extra mile to deliver fresh seafood throughout the country."

"About 95 percent of the salmon caught in the United States comes from Alaska, and Ocean Beauty is one of the largest processors serving the state," said Tom Sunderland, director of marketing for Ocean Beauty Seafoods. "We are proud to be Alaska Airlines’ partner in presenting the first Copper River salmon to the charity auction winner."

New system-wide training program

Copper River salmon shipped on Alaska Air Cargo this season will arrive as fresh as possible to grocery stores and restaurants across the nation thanks in part to a new training program required of all employees who handle perishables such as Alaska seafood. Employees are required to adhere to strict seafood quality standards and pass an annual food quality course.

Defined by the seafood industry as "cool chain," seafood processors and shippers follow these standards to ensure a temperature-controlled environment for proper food handling. The goal is to keep seafood moving expeditiously throughout its journey on Alaska Airlines and maintain a consistent temperature range from the time it leaves the water to when it arrives at stores and restaurants.

Together with sister carrier Horizon Air, Alaska Airlines transports more than 150 million pounds of cargo annually, including seafood, mail and freight, and operates the most extensive air cargo operation on the U.S. West Coast of any passenger airline.

Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, subsidiaries of Alaska Air Group , together serve more than 90 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico. For reservations, visit or For more news and information, visit the Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air Newsroom at

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SOURCE: Alaska Airlines

CONTACT: Bobbie Egan of Alaska Airlines, +1-206-392-5134; or Tom
Sunderland of Ocean Beauty Seafoods, +1-206-795-4613