I'm very surprised that it took this long to start a 2018 network thread for Alaska. Some notes to the questions that you've posted above:
- I doubt that Alaska is worried about Southwest's Hawaii enterence. Although, they're looking to start service in similar markets such as SMF, OAK, SJC, SAN which Alaska already serves quite well. I think Southwest's entrance into the market may catch up to Alaska someday, but at first I think Southwest will be the one struggling here.
- I think it'll take some time for the merger to take further effect before focus reshifts to the pacific northwest. Personally, I'd like to see some new trans-con routes into Florida, such as SEA-JAX and PDX-TPA + PDX-FLL. Other than TPA and FLL, other top unserved destinations from PDX are IND, MSY and BNA, so maybe we'll see these in the future as well. But, I would rather see seasonal destinations go year-round, such as ATL, BWI, DTW, MKE, OMA, PHL, and TUS, as well as upgrading PDX-MSP from the E175 to the Boeing 737. Also perhaps the return of PDX-STL as well. One can only hope for so much, though.
- I think the Airbus fleet is going to ultimately stick around for quite awhile. I just don't see why they would give up perfectly reliable aircraft that they have while spending money on new replacement aircraft.
- I don't think SMF is really a focus city. They serve some Hawaii destinations from there, as well as from OAK, but that's about it, other than PDX/SEA. I think SAN and SJC will continue to grow, although I don't know what that'll mean for the fate of LAX/SFO, though.
- Asia from ANC is obviously not going to happen. An Airbus A320/Boeing 737 would barely make it to the northern provinces of China, and I think the O&D stats for ANC-China would have to be much greater than it currently is in order for it to successfully work, since most people would probably rather fly through SEA or California instead, in order to get to China.
- An east coast focus city isn't going to happen. The only option that I could see would be JFK because of their lounge their, and that they have terminal 7 almost all to themselves.
- I'm probably one of the only few people that would actually like an AS/B6 merger. Although, it would create some problems, mainly over if the supposed mergered airline should be called "Alaska" or "JetBlue", as well as if the HQ should be located in Seattle or New York City.
- At this point in time, DAL isn't really a focus city at all for Alaska anymore. The airport is already losing its Alaska flights to and from LGA and DCA. The only other logical adds to and from DAL, in my opinion, would be OAK and SMF.
No, "FA" in my username does not stand for "flight attendant"...