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The Story Of Alaska Airlines’ New Airport Operations & Customer Service VP

In a classic story of promoting from within, Alsaka Airlines has appointed long-time employee Celley Buchanan as vice president of airport operations and customer service. The appointment, announced on June 17, is a fitting recognition of Buchanan’s successful 23-year career with Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air.

In this new role, Buchanan is responsible for all aspects of the airline’s airport operations across its broad network, excluding Seattle Tecoma International Airport (SEA). Alaska Airlines has routes to more than 120 destinations on around 1,200 daily flights in the US, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica and Belize. As a member of the oneworld alliance, Alaska Airlines can offer passengers access to more than 1,000 destinations on more than 20 airlines. According to ch-aviation.com, it has 247 aircraft, heavily weighted to Boeing B737s, including 11 B737-700, 61 B737-800, 23 B737 MAX 9, 12 B737-900, 79 B737-900ER and three B737-700BDSR cargo aircraft. It also operates 40 Airbus A320ceo, ten A321neo and eight A319-100 aircraft.

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Alaska Airlines operates around 189 Boeing B737s, which is 76% of their total fleet of 247 aircraft. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | SimpleFlying

From Alaska Airlines customer service agent to VP

Buchanan is well acquainted with frontline operations, having started with Alaskan as a customer service agent at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). She spent 13 years there in various leadership roles, including as the airline’s LAX manager. Following her time at LAX, she took over as ground operations manager at Horizon Air for two years before moving back to Alaska as director of operations support services. Horizon Air is an American regional airline owned by the Alaska Air Group, which also owns Alaska Airlines. It has around 45 destinations and a fleet of 62 aircraft, comprising 30 Embraer ERJ 170s and 32 De Havilland DHC-8-Q400s.


Since 2020, Buchanan has been Alaska’s managing director of airport operations support. In that role, she set the long-term strategy for ground support equipment, business partner performance, cabin cleaning, deicing and divisional safety, among other programs. When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, her leadership of ella was pivotal in establishing the airline’s Next-Level Care program, which introduced more than 100 safety policies and procedures designed to ensure the safety of passengers and employees.

Alaska Airlines senior vice president of airport operations and customer services, Wayne Newton, said that Buchanan is a people leader who deeply understands the airline’s operations and what makes it tick.

“Her tenacity and skill working across the organization will raise our airports’ teams to even higher levels of performance, safety and empowerment.”

Alaska Airlines is adding more nonstop destinations this summer

Alaska Airlines has added five new nonstop routes, in time for the peak summer season. Photo: Getty Images

Buchanan now has more destinations to look after following this week’s announcement of new services to Cleveland, Miami, Idaho Falls, Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. Alaska is connecting Cleveland and Miami with daily nonstop services from its Seattle hub. The service to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) is Alaska’s third route to Northeast Ohio, adding to the existing daily nonstops to Columbus and Cincinnati. The new daily nonstops to Miami International Airport (MIA) will be the airline’s 100th nonstop destination from Seattle and join the existing service between Seattle and Fort Lauderdale, operating since 2012.

From Boise, the capital city of Idaho, there will be a pair of new daily nonstop flights to both Idaho Falls and Las Vegas, with Alaska Airlines now operating around 31 daily, nonstop flights from Boise Airport (BOI). The final new destination announced starts on June 18, with weekly connections between Anchorage and Salt Lake City, lifting to 22 nonstop destinations Alaska will operate from Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC).

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