Horizon Air

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This article is about the United States-based airline. For the Australia-based airline, see Horizon Airlines (Australia).
Horizon Air
Horizon Air logo.jpg
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 1981
Commenced operations September 1, 1981
Frequent-flyer program Mileage Plan
Fleet size 52
Destinations 45
Company slogan Wings of the Great Northwest
Parent company Alaska Air Group
Headquarters SeaTac, Washington, USA
Key people David L. Campbell (President)[2]
Website alaskaair.com

Horizon Air Industries, Inc., operating as Horizon Air,[3] is a regional airline based in SeaTac, Washington, United States.[4][5][6] Horizon Air and its sister carrier Alaska Airlines are subsidiaries of Alaska Air Group and all Horizon-operated scheduled flights are marketed and sold by Alaska Airlines. Planes operated by Horizon are now co-branded as "Alaska Horizon" in recognition of the Horizon brand and to differentiate aircraft from those operated by Alaska's other regional airline partner, SkyWest Airlines.

Horizon Air was once the eighth largest regional airline in the USA, serving 42 cities in the United States and Canada. It was purchased by Alaska Air Group in November 1986 and continued to fly as a separately branded airline until 2011, when its public brand was retired in favor of the Alaska brand.[7]


Horizon Air was formed in May 1981 by Milt Kuolt, and started operations on September 1, 1981, with three Fairchild F-27 aircraft.[8] Its headquarters were in an area that is now within SeaTac, Washington.[9]

Horizon Air's first route was from Yakima to Seattle and one week later, Pasco to Seattle.[10] 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.[11] Horizon agreed to purchase Transwestern Airlines of Utah in September 1983, once again to try to reduce operating deficit of the airline.[12] A single Fokker F28 Fellowship twin jet, 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-9-10.[13][14] Additional Fokker F28s were leased from USAir during the mid-1990s. An initial public offering occurred in 1984 to secure operating capital, which after only one profitable year since founding, was needed to keep the airline afloat.[15]

On September 8, 1985 Horizon signed an agreement with de Havilland Canada to begin purchasing the airline's first brand new aircraft, the de Havilland Canada DHC-8-100 Dash 8 twin turboprop.[16][17] In the summer of 1985, Horizon entered into its first codeshare agreement with United Airlines,[18] which attracted the attention of Alaska Airlines, which struck a deal and acquired Horizon Air in November 1986,[19] approved by the Transportation Department in late December.[20][21]

Late in 1985 Horizon entered into an agreement to purchase their chief competitor in Washington, Cascade Airways,[22][23] but by early 1986 were released from the agreement.[24] In January 1986, the airline became an international carrier when it began service to Calgary, Alberta, in association with Cascade Airways.[25] In 1988 Horizon signed a code share agreement with Northwest Airlines. Horizon then expanded its international service with flights to Vancouver and Victoria in British Columbia in May 1989, using both Dash 8-100s and Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner propjets.

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 of the Dash 8.

A Horizon Air Bombardier Q200 lands at Portland International Airport. (2008)

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. The establishment of this route 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 nonstop service from Portland, OR to Santa Rosa, and expanded the schedule for nonstop flights between Los Angeles and Santa Rosa. It is wholly owned by the Alaska Air Group and has 4,040 employees (at March 2007).[26]

A Bombardier Q400 in Alaska Airlines' livery, reflecting the retirement of the Horizon Air brand

In early 2011, Alaska Airlines' management took over decisions about Horizon's route choices and marketing.[27] The Horizon Air brand was retired and all Horizon planes were repainted with Alaska Airlines' livery.[7]

In May 2011, Alaska sold five of Horizon's Bombardier CRJ-700 regional jet aircraft to SkyWest Airlines. SkyWest used the aircraft to operate six of Alaska Airlines' West Coast routes.[28]


Horizon's 47 destinations are located in the U.S. states of Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington as well as the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia.


A Horizon Air Bombardier Q400 landing at Vancouver International Airport. (2008)

The Horizon Air fleet comprises the following aircraft (as of August 2016):[29]

Horizon Air Fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Options Passengers Notes
F Y+ Y Total
Bombardier Dash 8-Q400
15 to 19 leased Q400s will be returned in 2018. 37 aircraft expected to be in fleet by end of 2018.
Embraer E175[30]
Deliveries begin in March 2017

Currently, the only aircraft operated by Horizon Air is the Bombardier Dash 8-Q400, a high speed, high-wing turboprop. The Q400 is operated in a single class configuration with 76 all leather seats.[31] Each row on the aircraft has two seats on either side of the aisle and no middle seats.

New Embraer 175 regional jets will be added to the fleet in 2017.

Fleet history[edit]

A Horizon Air CRJ-700 at Denver International Airport in 2007. The CRJ-700s were retired in mid-2011.

Aircraft that have been in service with Horizon Air in the past are (in alphabetical order):


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 livery 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 has been repainted with a new paint scheme prominently featuring "Alaska" across the fuselage and the Eskimo on the tail. The plane continues to include a small Horizon logo on the sides of the aircraft, which now appears in Alaska's dark blue color.

Special liveries[edit]

The Horizon Air Bombardier Q400 in Horizon Air "25th Anniversary" theme.

Twelve Q400s are painted in special liveries, most featuring the colors and logos of universities located in the West Coast cities the carrier serves.[39] These include:


Company headquarters

Many of the airline's services are the same as those offered by Alaska Airlines, which is Horizon Air's sister company.

On board services[edit]

Since 1991, Starbucks coffee is served in-flight on all Horizon Air flights. Since there are no coffee brewers on board the Q400 aircraft, the coffee is brewed at the terminal and served in thermos containers on board the aircraft.[46] Other free beverages include Coca-Cola products, juices, and tea.[47]

Horizon has set itself apart from its sister company and other airlines by offering, to passengers of age, free Northwest beer and wine.[48]

Horizon also offers buy on board meal service limited to a variety of snack packs.

Unlike Alaska Airlines, there are currently no plans to install in-flight wireless internet on board the Q400 planes operated by Horizon Air.[49]

Mileage Plan[edit]

Main article: Mileage Plan
The words Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan and an airplane tail with an Eskimo head

Mileage Plan is the frequent-flyer program of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air. The program's airline partners also include Oneworld member airlines American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines (from June 29, 2016),[50] LAN and Qantas; SkyTeam member airlines Aeromexico,[51] Air France, Delta Air Lines, KLM and Korean Air; as well as Fiji Airways, Emirates, Era Alaska, Mokulele Airlines, PenAir and Hainan Airlines.[52] The Mileage Plan program has no membership fee, allows one-way redemption and accumulated miles never expire.[53]

MVP, MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K are Mileage Plan's elite tiers for frequent travelers.[54] Higher-tiered members are provided with increased travel benefits such as bonus mileage, priority boarding and complimentary upgrades to first class.[55] MVP is achieved when the member flies 20,000 miles (32,000 km) on Alaska Airlines or Horizon Air, MVP Gold is achieved when the member flies 40,000 miles (64,000 km),[55] and MVP Gold 75K is achieved when the member flies 75,000 miles (121,000 km) on Alaska Airlines or Horizon Air.[56]

Board Room[edit]

Board Room is the Alaska Air Group airport lounge, which is located in four west coast airports: Anchorage, Los Angeles, Portland 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.[55][57]

Destinations in 1986[edit]

According to the Horizon Air route map dated January 5, 1986, the airline was serving the following destinations as an independent air carrier in association with Cascade Airways.[58] Horizon Air then ceased its cooperative agreement with Cascade Airways early in 1986 and later that same year was acquired by Alaska Air Group, the parent company of Alaska Airlines.

In addition to turboprop aircraft, Horizon Air was operating Fokker F28 Fellowship jet aircraft at this time with F28 route examples including nonstop service between San Francisco and Sun Valley and also direct service between Seattle and Sun Valley via an intermediate stop in Boise during the 1986 winter ski season. The airline pioneered Sun Valley's first scheduled passenger jet service with the Fokker F28.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • 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.[59]
  • 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 crashed into the B7 and B9 jetways, destroying the plane. There were four serious injuries and no fatalities.[60][61]
  • 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.[62][63]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Horizon Air Company Facts". 
  2. ^ "David L. Campbell Named President of Horizon Air". 
  3. ^ "IOSA Operational Safety Audit". International Air Transport Association. Archived from the original on 2008-05-11. Retrieved 2008-10-22. 
  4. ^ "Media Contacts: Alaska Airlines," Alaska Airlines
  5. ^ "TOP INDUSTRIES." City of SeaTac. Retrieved July 20, 2008.
  6. ^ "City of SeaTac Zoning." City of SeaTac. Retrieved August 20, 2008.
  7. ^ a b Mutzabaugh, Ben (2011-01-26). "Horizon Air to 'retire its public brand' in favor of Alaska Air". USA Today. Retrieved 2011-12-13. 
  8. ^ Endicott 2001, p. 32
  9. ^ "World Airline Directory." Flight International. March 31, 1984. 844.
  10. ^ Endicott 2001, p. 52
  11. ^ Endicott 2001, pg. 119-125
  12. ^ "Horizon buys Utah airline". Spokane Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. September 21, 1983. p. C7. 
  13. ^ Endicott 2001, p. 141
  14. ^ a b Associated Press (1984-07-02). "Pasco to be served by jets". Spokane Chronicle. Google News Archives. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  15. ^ "Horizon Air says it plans to issue stock". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. May 30, 1995. p. 4B. 
  16. ^ "Annual Report, 1985". Horizon Air. p. 1. 
  17. ^ "Horizon Air orders 10 planes". Spokane Chronicle. Google News Archives. 1985-09-04. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  18. ^ Endicott 2001, p. 220
  19. ^ Briggs, Wanda (November 20, 1986). "Alaska Airlines to buy Horizon". Tri-City Herald. p. A1. 
  20. ^ "Alaska Air Group gets approval to buy Horizon". Anchorage Daily News. Associated Press. December 24, 1986. p. d-7. 
  21. ^ Endicott 2001, p. 230
  22. ^ Salquist, Bill (August 2, 1985). "Cascade Airways bought by competitor, Horizon". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 1. 
  23. ^ Thorpe, Norman (January 5, 1986). "Cascade Airways casts thin shadow". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. D1. 
  24. ^ Bartel, Frank (March 8, 1986). "Horizon released from agreement to buy Cascade". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. A1. 
  25. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Jan. 5, 1986 Horizon Air route map
  26. ^ "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. April 3, 2007. p. 91. 
  27. ^ "Horizon Air Changes Business Model". Aviation Week. 23 August 2010. Retrieved 26 August 2010. 
  28. ^ http://travel.usatoday.com/flights/story/2011/02/Alaska-Airlines-signs-flying-deal-with-SkyWest/44166418/1 Alaska Airlines signs flying deal with SkyWest
  29. ^ "Global Airline Guide 2016 (Part Two)". Airliner World (November 2016): 39. 
  30. ^ "Fleet". Horizon Air Company Facts. Alaska Air Group. September 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  31. ^ a b "Bombardier Q400 Aircraft Information". Retrieved 2011-06-18. 
  32. ^ a b "CH-Aviation Fleet Lists". Retrieved 2009-09-19. 
  33. ^ "ATW Daily News". Air Transport World. 2008-07-01. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  34. ^ Endres, Günter G. (2001). The illustrated directory of modern commercial aircraft. Osceola, WI: MBI Pub. Co. p. 299. ISBN 978-0-7603-1125-7. 
  35. ^ Gorlick, Arthur C. (1988-04-16). "Horizon Air Began Flying in '81". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2008-10-11. 
  36. ^ a b Endicott 2001, p. 94
  37. ^ Guillen, Tomas (1990-06-12). "Faa: Window Trouble On Fairchild Planes Ongoing". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2008-10-11. 
  38. ^ Song, Kyung M. (1999-09-27). "An Airline Divided -- Horizon Air Is No Longer Tiny, And It's No Longer One Big, Happy Family, Either". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  39. ^ Horizon Air to add more college logos to planes Puget Sound Business Journal
  40. ^ "Idaho Vandals Get Horizon Plane". aUIalumni. 2010-10-05. Retrieved 2010-10-07. 
  41. ^ "Alaska Airlines Unveils New "SDSU" Plane". XETV. May 31, 2012. Retrieved May 31, 2012. 
  42. ^ "Horizon Air Flying Q400 with University of Washington Colors" (Press release). Alaska Air Group. 2009-02-03. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  43. ^ "Horizon Air to Fly Boise State Colors, Honoring Its 25-Year Service to City". Office of Communications and Marketing. Boise State University. 2008-12-18. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  44. ^ Herrmann, Julie (March 8, 2014). "Alaska Airlines unveils UAF-themed plane". Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  45. ^ Anchorage, University of Alaska (11 December 2013). "Alaska Airlines to honor Alaska's two largest universities with Nanook and Seawolf planes - Green & Gold News". 
  46. ^ "Starbucks In Flight". The Seattle Times. 1990-05-17. Retrieved 2008-10-11. 
  47. ^ "Horizon Air and SkyWest Food Service - Alaska Airlines". Alaskaair.com. Retrieved 2012-05-17. 
  48. ^ Goldsmith, Philip (2008). Northern California Wine Country (2nd ed.). Moon Handbooks. p. 402. ISBN 978-1-59880-078-4. 
  49. ^ "Inflight Wi-Fi". Alaska Air Group. Retrieved 2009-10-07. 
  50. ^ "Alaska Air makes Japan Airlines its 17th frequent-flier partner". 
  51. ^ "Alaska Airlines and Aeromexico Partner to Make Travel Easier to the United States". AlaskaAir.com. December 20, 2012. Retrieved May 15, 2013. 
  52. ^ "Mileage Plan Airline Partners". Alaska Air Group. Retrieved September 14, 2009. 
  53. ^ "Other Mileage Plan Information". Alaska Air Group. Retrieved September 14, 2009. 
  54. ^ "Mileage Plan Program Benefits". Alaska Air Group. Retrieved September 14, 2009. 
  55. ^ a b c "MVP & MVP Gold Qualification Levels and Benefits". Alaska Air Group. Retrieved September 14, 2009. 
  56. ^ "Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan – Announcing MVP Gold 75K Elite Benefits". Alaskaair.com. Retrieved August 22, 2011. [dead link]
  57. ^ "Board Room Membership Fees". Alaska Air Group. Retrieved 2009-09-14. 
  58. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Jan. 6, 1986 Horizon Air route map
  59. ^ Endicott 2001, pg. 191-194
  60. ^ "DCA88MA052". National Transportation Safety Board. 1990-04-24. Retrieved 2008-10-11. 
  61. ^ "18 Injured in Seattle Plane Crash". The New York Times. AP. 1988-04-16. Retrieved 2008-10-11. 
  62. ^ Tomas, Guillen; Corr, O. Casey; Birkland, Dave; Lane, Polly; Whitely, Peyton (1990-05-23). "Passenger Nearly Sucked Out Of Horizon Airliner". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2008-10-11. 
  63. ^ "NTSB Incident Report". Retrieved 2009-11-12. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Horizon Air at Wikimedia Commons