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updated 2:54 PM CDT, Jul 28, 2018

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Alaska Air CEO's travels bring message that attention is important to build loyalty

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If there was a need for evidence that Alaska Air Group Chairman and CEO Brad Tilden and his executive team understand that attention is a key to affection, in the form of loyalty, visits Wednesday to one of the airline's major West Coast markets following a Monday visit to one of its smallest should provide it. 

The Wednesday visit will be with a Tilden-hosted gathering of business and civic leaders in San Diego, which has become a major Alaska Airlines market where its service has grown dramatically in volume and importance since Alaska completed its acquisition of Virgin America Airlines in early 2018.

The San Diego event will follow by two days the visit by Tilden and his executives to Pullman and the Washington State University campus, where Alaska recognized important ties of a different, but no less important, kind.

The visits exemplify that affection, or regard, from its customers and the communities it serves has long been a point of pride for Seattle-based Alaska Airlines and a principal reason for the company's financial success and its ability to successfully push back against the competitive pressures from Delta Airlines over the past few years.

Tilden's San Diego remarks will amount to an update on Alaska's growing service to that city in the form of new non-stops added since the January completion of Alaska's acquisition of Virgin America, including the addition of 19 non-stop flights from San Diego this year.

Tilden and his execs who will be on hand for the event at The Prado in San Diego's historic Balboa Park want it to serve as an example of how they are working to deepen the Airline's relationship with the San Diego community.

The visit by Tilden and his team to the WSU campus Monday was for a series of events, including a prize-filled paper airplane toss, to recognize the airline's relationship with the university, which includes research there on sustainable fuels and Alaska's Imagine Tomorrow Competition.

Alaska Airlines Imagine Tomorrow is an interesting story in its own right as it challenges 9th through 12th graders to seek new ways to support the transition to sustainability. Students research complex topics related to sustainability, then innovate technologies, designs, or plans to mobilize behavior.

As Alaska's website for Imagine Tomorrow notes, students "forge connections in their communities and create positive change. In this competition, as in life, solutions are limited only by imagination."

And WSU is an important partner with Alaska through the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance with which Alaska and WSU are advancing the production and use of aviation biofuels.

Back to the San Diego visit, Tilden and his team will be providing an update on San Diego service, focused on the non-stop service additions of the past year, and discuss more broadly Alaska's West Coast growth, the strength of its presence in Southern California and its support of the community.

Alaska's San Diego passenger load has been growing an average of 13 percent per year over the past five years, including 22 percent in the past year. The airline recently announced new Spokane service and plans to add a San Diego from Paine Field when service commences next year from there. And the airline just announced the addition of service to El Paso, TX.

But underlying those statistics will be Tilden's message of the important, longstanding and growing role Alaska's business, employees and loyalty in Southern California play and how the Airline's strength in California supports strength for local business in the Pacific Northwest.

I've been intrigued to watch, in recent years as San Diego has become an important personal tie for both business and friendships, how a number of businesses in either Seattle or San Diego have reached out to open offices in the other market.

Thus Perkins-Coie, Seattle's largest law firm, opened a San Diego North County office a few years ago, as did Seattle commercial real estate firm Kidder Mathews, while San Diego is a key part of Seattle-based HomeStreet Bank's Southern California commercial banking business. Seattle

Barter company BizX expanded into San Diego in 2017, and Bastyr University in Kenmore on Seattle's Eastside became the first Naturopathic College in California in 2012 when it opened a branch campus in San Diego.

If there was a need for evidence that Alaska Air Group Chairman and CEO Brad Tilden and his executive team understand that attention is a key to affection, in the form of loyalty, visits Wednesday to one of the airline's major West Coast markets following a Monday visit to one of its smallest should provide it. 

The Wednesday visit will be with a Tilden-hosted gathering of business and civic leaders in San Diego, which has become a major Alaska Airlines market where its service has grown dramatically in volume and importance since Alaska completed its acquisition of Virgin America Airlines in early 2018.

The San Diego event will follow by two days the visit by Tilden and his executives to Pullman and the Washington State University campus, where Alaska recognized important ties of a different, but no less important, kind.

The visits exemplify that affection, or regard, from its customers and the communities it serves has long been a point of pride for Seattle-based Alaska Airlines and a principal reason for the company's financial success and its ability to successfully push back against the competitive pressures from Delta Airlines over the past few years.

Tilden's San Diego remarks will amount to an update on Alaska's growing service to that city in the form of new non-stops added since the January completion of Alaska's acquisition of Virgin America, including the addition of 19 non-stop flights from San Diego this year.

Tilden and his execs who will be on hand for the event at The Prado in San Diego's historic Balboa Park want it to serve as an example of how they are working to deepen the Airline's relationship with the San Diego community.

The visit by Tilden and his team to the WSU campus Monday was for a series of events, including a prize-filled paper airplane toss, to recognize the airline's relationship with the university, which includes research there on sustainable fuels and Alaska's Imagine Tomorrow Competition.

Alaska Airlines Imagine Tomorrow is an interesting story in its own right as it challenges 9th through 12th graders to seek new ways to support the transition to sustainability. Students research complex topics related to sustainability, then innovate technologies, designs, or plans to mobilize behavior.

As Alaska's website for Imagine Tomorrow notes, students "forge connections in their communities and create positive change. In this competition, as in life, solutions are limited only by imagination."

And WSU is an important partner with Alaska through the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance with which Alaska and WSU are advancing the production and use of aviation biofuels.

Back to the San Diego visit, Tilden and his team will be providing an update on San Diego service, focused on the non-stop service additions of the past year, and discuss more broadly Alaska's West Coast growth, the strength of its presence in Southern California and its support of the community.

Alaska's San Diego passenger load has been growing an average of 13 percent per year over the past five years, including 22 percent in the past year. The airline recently announced new Spokane service and plans to add a San Diego from Paine Field when service commences next year from there. And the airline just announced the addition of service to El Paso, TX.

But underlying those statistics will be Tilden's message of the important, longstanding and growing role Alaska's business, employees and loyalty in Southern California play and how the Airline's strength in California supports strength for local business in the Pacific Northwest.

I've been intrigued to watch, in recent years as San Diego has become an important personal tie for both business and friendships, how a number of businesses in either Seattle or San Diego have reached out to open offices in the other market.

Thus Perkins-Coie, Seattle's largest law firm, opened a San Diego North County office a few years ago, as did Seattle commercial real estate firm Kidder Mathews, while San Diego is a key part of Seattle-based HomeStreet Bank's Southern California commercial banking business. Seattle

Barter company BizX expanded into San Diego in 2017, and Bastyr University in Kenmore on Seattle's Eastside became the first Naturopathic College in California in 2012 when it opened a branch campus in San Diego.

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