|This article is outdated. (January 2014)|
|Commenced operations||September 1, 1981|
|Focus cities||Boise Airport|
|Frequent-flyer program||Mileage Plan|
|Airport lounge||Board Room|
|Company slogan||Wings of the Great Northwest|
|Parent company||Alaska Air Group|
|Headquarters||Seattle, Washington, USA |
|Key people||Glenn Johnson (President)|
Horizon Air Industries, Inc. operating as Horizon Air is a regional airline based in SeaTac, Washington, United States. It is the eighth largest regional airline in the USA, serving 38 cities in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Horizon Air has been featured in several films, including the 1983 motion picture WarGames and 1995 motion picture Georgia.
Horizon Air was formed in May 1981 by Milt Kuolt, and started operations on September 1, 1981 with three Fairchild F-27 aircraft. Its headquarters were in an area that is now within SeaTac, Washington.
Horizon Air's first route was from Yakima to Seattle, and one week later, Pasco to Seattle. The general offices of Horizon Air were operated out of an old house behind Sea-Tac airport. Horizon acquired Air Oregon on June 17, 1982, after both airlines were losing hundreds of thousands of dollars monthly, in order to consolidate and reduce their operating deficit. Horizon agreed to purchase Transwestern Airlines of Utah in September 1983, once again to try to reduce operating deficit of the airline. A single Fokker F28, purchased in July 1984 from an African carrier, was the first jet owned by Horizon Air; however their first jet was a wet leased Douglas DC-9. Additional Fokker 28s were leased from US Air during the mid-1990s.
On September 8, 1985 Horizon signed an agreement with de Havilland Canada to begin purchasing the airline's first brand new aircraft, the de Haviland Dash 8. In the summer of 1985, Horizon entered into its first codeshare agreement with United Airlines, which attracted the attention of Alaska Airlines, which struck a deal in November 1986, approved by the Transportation Department in late December. Late in 1985 Horizon entered into an agreement to purchase their chief competitor in Washington, Cascade Airways, but by early 1986 were released from the agreement. In 1988 Horizon signed a codeshare agreement with Northwest Airlines. In 1989, Horizon became an international carrier when it began service to Vancouver, BC and Victoria, BC in May of that year using both Dash-8-100s and Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (April 2011)|
|This section requires expansion. (September 2009)|
Horizon was the launch customer for the Dornier 328 turboprop, intending to replace the Fairchild Metroliners with this new aircraft which promised jetliner speed and comfort. The second Dornier 328 prototype was painted in Horizon colors. Twelve were delivered between November 1993 and November 1995, but they were quickly phased out in 1997 in favor of fleet standardization around the Dash 8.
|This section requires expansion with: more information of events in the early 2000s.. (September 2009)|
In the spring of 2007, Horizon launched service from Los Angeles and Seattle to Santa Rosa, California to take advantage of the burgeoning wine and tourism industry. This was a significant coup for the Sonoma County region which had not had regularly scheduled air service in almost six years. The new routes proved so popular that in the fall of 2007, Horizon commenced non stop service from Portland, OR to Santa Rosa, and expanded the schedule for non stop flights between Los Angeles and Santa Rosa. It is wholly owned by the Alaska Air Group and has 4,040 employees (at March 2007).
At the beginning of 2011, Alaska Airlines' management took over decisions about Horizon's route choices and marketing. Alaska Airlines announced that it would retire the Horizon Air brand. All Horizon planes are being repainted with Alaska Airlines' livery.
Horizon's 38 destinations are located in the U.S. states of California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Horizon also has service to Alberta and British Columbia, Canada as well as Baja California Sur, Mexico. Codesharing with Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta Air Lines allows Horizon Air customers to fly to cities not served by Horizon Air throughout the U.S. as well as the rest of the world.
The average Horizon Air fleet age is 8.9 years old as of October 2013. The Q400 is a 76 seat, high-wing turboprop. All Horizon Air aircraft are operated in a single class configuration. Each row has two seats on either side of the aisle. As such, there are no middle seats on Horizon, only window or aisle. Horizon Air features all leather seating.
In May 2011, SkyWest Airlines began operating six of Alaska Airlines' West Coast routes using five Bombardier CRJ-700s purchased from Horizon Air. SkyWest owns, operates, crews, and maintains the aircraft, while Alaska Airlines schedules, prices, and markets the flights.
Aircraft that have been in service with Horizon Air in the past are (in alphabetical order):
- Bombardier Dash 8-100
- Bombardier Dash 8-Q200
- Bombardier (Canadair) CRJ-700 - regional jet 
- Dornier 328
- Douglas DC-9-10 - jet
- Fairchild F-27
- Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner II (former Air Oregon)
- Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner III (former Air Oregon)
- Fokker F28 Fellowship - regional jet 
On May 31, 2011, Horizon Air phased out the last of its CRJ-700 planes and now operates only the Q400. In January 2007, the Q200s were removed from Horizon Air service and were dry leased to CommutAir.
At the start of the carrier, Horizon had a painted sunrise with a small beach with capitalized words saying "Horizon". Until recently, the current Horizon Air livery was very similar to its parent, Alaska Airlines, except for a dark red (rather than blue) cheatline, and the tail includes a stylized sun and sunset logo, rather than an Eskimo. Eleven Q400s are currently painted in special liveries. Some Dash 8-100's and -200's (no longer in service with Horizon Air) had names of Horizon destinations preceded by "Great City of" or "Great Cities of" printed on the front of the airplane. The first Dash 8-100, N811PH was dedicated as the "Great Cities of Seattle/Tacoma" and the second airplane, N812PH was the "Great City of Portland". N824PH was dedicated as the "Great Cities of Pullman/Moscow" on one side and the "Great Cities of Moscow/Pullman" on the other side. N363PH (Dash-8-Q200) was the first airplane to incorporate the "deep bing cherry red" on the underside of the engine nacelle. This became the standard for Horizon's brand liverey as well as the current Alaska Airlines livery. Prior to this change the underside of the nacelle was painted "Horizon White".
On January 25, 2011 Horizon Air announced it was retiring its public brand and adopted the trademark Eskimo of its sister company, Alaska Airlines, on its fleet. As part of the brand change, Horizon's Bombardier Q400 fleet will be repainted with a new paint scheme prominently featuring "Alaska" across the fuselage and the Eskimo on the tail. The plane will continue to include the Horizon logo on the sides of the aircraft, which will now appear in Alaska's dark blue color.
Ten Q400s are painted in special liveries:
- N425QX was a 25th anniversary theme, featuring bright colors and confetti painted along the entire plane. The aircraft was retired in Portland, Oregon in October, 2012, flown to the Bombardier factory in Toronto, Ontario, and scrapped.
Many of the airline's other special liveries feature the colors and logos of universities located on the West Coast. These include:
- N400QX for the University of Idaho Vandals
- N401QX for the Washington State University Cougars
- N402QX for the University of Montana Grizzlies
- N403QX for the Montana State University Bobcats
- N407QX for the University of Oregon Ducks
- N414QX for the San Diego State University Aztecs, the first livery for a California school
- N435QX for the University of Washington Huskies, to replace the now-retired UW-themed CRJ, which formerly featured the same colors.
- N437QX for the Boise State University Broncos, to celebrate over twenty-five years of service to Boise.
- N440QX for the Oregon State University Beavers. This plane is Horizon Air's first "Next Gen" Q400, outfitted with a modernized interior featuring LED lighting, larger overhead bins, and scalloped sidewall panels with sun shades.
- N441QX for the University of Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks
- N443QX for the University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves
- N452QX was painted in "Employee Powered" colors where employees signed an electronic pad and their signatures were placed on the fuselage. A similar livery was painted on a Boeing 737-800 for Alaska Airlines.
In addition, two aircraft were in the "Comfortably Greener" scheme to highlight the fuel-saving attributes of the Q400 over regional jets. First N439QX, then N438QX were painted in this scheme; together, these two planes were casually referred to as "Shrek" and "Fiona". The aircraft were later repainted into the airline's standard Alaska/Horizon livery introduced in 2011.
Many of the airline's services are the same as those offered by Alaska Airlines, which is Horizon Air's sister company.
Board Room is the Alaska Air Group airport lounge, and are located in five west coast airports including: Anchorage, Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle. Board Room Members also have access to Delta Air Lines Sky Club at airports across the country. Memberships start at $45 for a single-day pass, up to $875 for a new three-year membership.
Mileage Plan is the travel rewards program of the Alaska Air Group, Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air. The program's airline partners also include Oneworld member airlines American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, LAN, and Qantas; SkyTeam member airlines Air France, Delta Air Lines; as well as Air Pacific, Era Aviation, Frontier Alaska, Mokulele Airlines, and PenAir. MVP and MVP Gold are Mileage Plan's top tiers for experienced travelers.
The Mileage Plan program has no membership fee, and any mileage will be valid to the last day of the 24th month following the month of the last flight or transaction date. In addition, if a Mileage Plan member does not accumulate mileage within nine months after becoming a member, or a Mileage Plan member's account remains inactive at zero mileage for a consecutive 24 month period, the Mileage Plan account will be canceled.
The MVP, MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75 program is the frequent flyer service status program and is divided into three membership levels, MVP, MVP Gold, and MVP Gold 75, based on the member's travel in the last calendar year. All membership levels include free checked baggage. Higher-tiered members are provided with increased travel benefits such as bonus mileage, priority boarding and airport lounge access.
MVP level is achieved or retained when the member earns 20,000 miles (32,000 km) on Alaska Airlines or Horizon Air, 25,000 miles (40,000 km) on Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, KLM, Air France, or LAN Airlines, or 30 one-way segments on any combination of Mileage Plan members. Membership benefits include 50% bonus mileage, priority check-in at First Class counters, priority seating on board Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air flights, as well as a 50% discount on Board Room lounge membership initiation fees. Members booked in fare class Y and YAS can be upgraded to First Class at any time, and all other fare categories within 48 hours of flight.
- MVP Gold
MVP Gold level is achieved or retained when the member earns 40,000 miles (64,000 km) on Alaska Airlines or Horizon Air, 50,000 miles (80,000 km) on Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, KLM, Air France, LAN, or 60 one-way segments on any combination of Mileage Plan members. Membership benefits include 100% bonus mileage, priority check-in at First Class counters, and priority seating on board Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air flights. Members booked in fare class Y, S, B, M, H, or Value and Full Flex fares can be upgraded to First Class at any time, and all other fare categories within 72 hours of flight. Travel companions also receive this benefit, and members are given four complimentary upgrade certificates for guests annually.
- MVP Gold 75
MVP Gold 75 level is achieved or retained when the member earns 75,000 miles (121,000 km) on Alaska Airlines or Horizon Air, 90,000 miles (140,000 km) on Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, KLM, Air France, LAN, or 90 one-way segments on any combination of Mileage Plan members. Membership benefits include 100% bonus mileage, priority check-in at First Class counters, and priority seating on board Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air flights. Members booked in fare class Y, S, B, M, H, or Value and Full Flex fares can be upgraded to First Class at any time, and all other fare categories within 72 hours of flight. Travel companions also receive this benefit, and members are given four complimentary upgrade certificates for guests annually. A 50,000-mile (80,000 km) bonus is awarded to MVP Gold 75 members.
On board services
Since 1991, Starbucks coffee is served in-flight on all Horizon Air flights, and is brewed at the terminal and served in thermos containers on board the aircraft. Horizon has set itself apart from its sister company and other airlines by offering, to passengers of age, free Northwest beer and wine. Other free beverages include Coca-Cola products, juices, and tea. Horizon also offers a limited buy on board meal service. This includes a variety of snack packs. Unlike Alaska Airlines, there are currently no plans to install in flight wireless internet on board Horizon Air planes.
Incidents and accidents
Since Horizon Air's founding, no fatal accidents have occurred.
- On May 2, 1986, a Fairchild Metroliner was hijacked between Eugene, Oregon and Portland. The pilot convinced the hijacker to allow the plane to stop in Hillsboro to refuel and even let the pilot off the plane, who then called the FBI.
- On April 15, 1988, Flight 2658, a DeHavilland Canada Dash 8-100 (N819PH-Great City of Sun Valley), en route from Seattle to Spokane with 37 passenger and 3 crew members, crashed after attempting an emergency landing in Seattle, Washington when the number two (right side/starboard) engine caught fire (due to a manufacturing defect) after take-off from Seattle. Loss of hydraulic pressure due to the fire caused the aircraft to veer off the runway, across the grass, across Taxiway B, and crash into the B7 and B9 jetways, destroying the plane. There were 4 serious injuries and no fatalities.
- On May 23, 1990, a Fairchild Metroliner III on a flight from Portland to Seattle suffered a window blowout at 14,000 feet (4,300 m) above Olympia. The flight made an emergency descent and landing to its planned destination of Sea-Tac Airport. The passenger seated next to the window, who was partially sucked out of the plane for a brief period, was taken to a local hospital where he was treated for his injuries and released.
- Alaska Air Group - Parent company
- Alaska Airlines - Mainline airline co-subsidiary of Horizon's regional operations
- NTSB accident report of Flight 2658
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