Horizon Air

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Horizon Air
Horizon Air Logo.png
IATA ICAO Callsign
QX QXE HORIZON
Founded 1981
Commenced operations September 1, 1981
AOC # QXEA002A[1]
Hubs
Frequent-flyer program Mileage Plan
Fleet size 62
Destinations 45
Company slogan Wings of the Great Northwest
Parent company Alaska Air Group
Headquarters SeaTac, Washington, USA
Key people David L. Campbell (President)[3]
Website alaskaair.com

Horizon Air Industries, Inc., operating as Horizon Air, is a regional airline based in SeaTac, Washington, United States. 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 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 it shifted to the current capacity purchase agreement business model.

History[edit]

Horizon Air was formed in May 1981 by Milt Kuolt, and started operations on September 1, 1981, with three Fairchild F-27 aircraft.[4] Its headquarters were in an area that is now within SeaTac, Washington.[5]

Horizon Air's first route was from Yakima to Seattle and one week later, Pasco to Seattle.[6] 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.[7] Horizon agreed to purchase Transwestern Airlines of Utah in September 1983, once again to try to reduce operating deficit of the airline.[8]

A single Fokker F28 Fellowship twin jet, purchased in July 1984 from an African carrier, was the first jet owned by Horizon Air (however, the first jet operated by Horizon was a wet leased Douglas DC-9-10).[9][10]

An initial public offering occurred in 1985 to secure operating capital, which after only one profitable year since founding, was needed to keep the airline afloat.[11]

In the summer of 1985, Horizon entered into its first codeshare agreement with United Airlines.[12] Later that year, 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 Dash 8-100 twin turboprop.[13][14]

Late in 1985 Horizon entered into an agreement to purchase their chief competitor in Washington, Cascade Airways,[15][16] but by early 1986 were released from the agreement.[17]

In January 1986, the airline became an international carrier when it began service to Calgary, Alberta, in association with Cascade Airways.[18]

Alaska Airlines struck a deal to acquire Horizon Air in November 1986.[19] The year before, Alaska had underwent a major corporate restructuring with the airline now being owned by the Alaska Air Group, an airline holding company. Under the agreement, the Alaska Air Group became the owner of Horizon Air after approval by the Transportation Department in late December.[20][21] The Alaska Air Group continued to operate Horizon as a separately branded airline, with a codesharing agreement with its new sister airline, Alaska.

In 1988, Horizon signed a code share agreement with Northwest Airlines.

International service was expanded in May 1989 with flights to Vancouver and Victoria in British Columbia, using both Dash 8-100s and Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner turboprop aircraft.

Horizon was the launch customer for the Dornier 328 turboprop, intending to replace the Metroliners with this new aircraft which promised speed and comfort on par with jetliners. In recognition of the order, Dornier painted its second prototype of the 328 in Horizon colors. Twelve aircraft were delivered between November 1993 and November 1995, but they were quickly phased out in 1997 in favor of fleet standardization to the Dash 8 series of turboprops.

A Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 in Alaska Airlines' livery, reflecting the retirement of the Horizon Air brand

In late 2010, Horizon's parent company, the Alaska Air Group, made the decision to no longer operate Horizon as a separate regional airline.[22] Starting on January 1 2011, Horizon shifted to a capacity purchase agreement (CPA) business model, which had by that time become the regional airline industry standard. Under the CPA, Horizon operates and maintains its aircraft, while Alaska Airlines is responsible for scheduling, marketing and pricing all flights.[22][23] As part of the change to the new business model, the Horizon Air brand was retired and all Horizon planes were repainted with a co-branded "Alaska Horizon" livery.[24][23]

Alaska Airlines entered into a similar capacity purchase agreement with SkyWest Airlines in May 2011. As part of the agreement, Alaska Air Group managers agreed to sell Horizon's fleet of five Bombardier CRJ-700 regional jet aircraft to SkyWest, which used the aircraft to operate six West Coast routes as "Alaska SkyWest".[25] The move left Horizon with a fleet consisting of a single type of aircraft; the Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 turboprop.

Horizon announced in April 2016 that it would expand its fleet and once again operate regional jets, placing an order for 30 Embraer 175 airplanes.[26] The order is the largest in the airline's history and was later expanded to 33 jets.

In the summer of 2017, amid unprecedented growth (spurred by the addition of the new aircraft) Horizon experienced a severe pilot shortage, forcing the airline to cancel hundreds of flights and delay delivery of new aircraft.[27] In response, Alaska shifted some of its flights from Horizon to its other regional partner, SkyWest.[28]

Destinations[edit]

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

Fleet[edit]

The Horizon Air fleet comprises the following aircraft (as of August 2017):

Horizon Air Fleet[29][30][31]
Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
F Y+ Y Total
Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 50 2[32] 76 76 13 aircraft to be retired by 2018.
Embraer 175 10 23 12 12 52 76
Total 60 25

Horizon Air currently operates two types of aircraft, the Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 turboprop and the Embraer 175 regional jet.

The Bombardier Dash 8 Q400, a high speed, high-wing turboprop and is operated in a single class configuration with 76 all leather, non-reclining seats.[33] Each row on the aircraft has two seats on either side of the aisle and no middle seats.

The Embraer 175 regional jet is currently being delivered to Horizon and is operated in a three class configuration (first class, premium class, and main cabin) with a total of 76 all leather, reclining seats. Each row in the premium class/main cabin section of the aircraft has two seats on either side of the aisle and no middle seats. The first class section is configured with a single seat on one side of the aisle and two seats on the other side.

Fleet history[edit]

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

Livery[edit]

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.

Services[edit]

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 meals and beverages[edit]

Flight time permitting, passengers in the main cabin are offered a complimentary small snack (cookie, nuts or a snack mix) and a beverage.

Horizon, like its parent airline, Alaska focuses on offering items produced by companies in the Northwest.[41][42] Coffee from fellow Seattle company Starbucks is served on all flights. Horizon Air was the first airline in the world to serve Starbucks coffee onboard its flights, beginning to pour the iconic brew on February 1, 1990. Horizon's parent company, Alaska began serving Starbucks on February 1, 2012.[43]

Horizon has set itself apart from its sister company and other airlines by offering, to passengers of age, free beer and wine from Northwest breweries and wineries.[44] Liquors, many from Northwest distilleries, are also available for purchase.

On flights longer than one hour, passengers in the main cabin can purchase various "Picnic Packs" (several snack items boxed together) or individual snack items.[45]

Embraer 175 regional jets are equipped with a First Class cabin and Premium Class cabin and offer a similar onboard experience to that of Alaska, with complimentary meals in First Class, complimentary snacks in Premium Class and complimentary alcoholic beverages in both classes.

On-board Internet access[edit]

Horizon's Embraer 175 regional jets are equipped with an in-flight Wi-Fi and streaming entertainment system. None of Horizon's Q400 aircraft are equipped with such a system.

Alaska and Horizon use Gogo Inflight Internet, a land-based internet service, covering all routes served by the airline. The service is fee-based for all passengers, depending on the length of the flight.[46][47]

Lounge[edit]

Alaska Lounge is the Alaska Air Group airport lounge and are located in four west coast airports: Anchorage, Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle. Memberships start at $45 for a single-day pass, up to $875 for a new three-year membership. MVP members receive a 50% discount on the initiation fee and MVP Gold members have their initiation fee waived. Both MVP and MVP Gold are still responsible for the actual annual membership fee.[48][49]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On May 2, 1986, a Fairchild Metroliner was hijacked over Oregon, between Eugene 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.[50][51]
  • 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 passengers and 3 crew members, crashed after attempting an emergency landing at Seattle–Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac). 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.[52][53][54]
  • 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.[55][56][57]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Federal Aviation Administration – Airline Certificate Information – Detail View". Av-info.faa.gov. Retrieved May 17, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "Horizon Air Company Facts". 
  3. ^ "David L. Campbell Named President of Horizon Air". 
  4. ^ Endicott 2001, p. 32
  5. ^ "World Airline Directory." Flight International. March 31, 1984. 844.
  6. ^ Endicott 2001, p. 52
  7. ^ Endicott 2001, pg. 119-125
  8. ^ "Horizon buys Utah airline". Spokane Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. September 21, 1983. p. C7. 
  9. ^ Endicott 2001, p. 141
  10. ^ a b Associated Press (1984-07-02). "Pasco to be served by jets". Spokane Chronicle. Google News Archives. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  11. ^ "Horizon Air says it plans to issue stock". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. May 30, 1995. p. 4B. 
  12. ^ Endicott 2001, p. 220
  13. ^ "Annual Report, 1985". Horizon Air. p. 1. 
  14. ^ "Horizon Air orders 10 planes". Spokane Chronicle. Google News Archives. 1985-09-04. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  15. ^ Salquist, Bill (August 2, 1985). "Cascade Airways bought by competitor, Horizon". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 1. 
  16. ^ Thorpe, Norman (January 5, 1986). "Cascade Airways casts thin shadow". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. D1. 
  17. ^ Bartel, Frank (March 8, 1986). "Horizon released from agreement to buy Cascade". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. A1. 
  18. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Jan. 5, 1986 Horizon Air route map
  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. ^ a b "Horizon Air Changes Business Model". Aviation Week. 23 August 2010. Retrieved 26 August 2010. 
  23. ^ a b "Horizon Air Retiring Its Public Brand And Adopting Alaska Airlines' Eskimo". Alaska Airlines. January 25, 2011. Retrieved November 18, 2017. 
  24. ^ Mutzabaugh, Ben (2011-01-26). "Horizon Air to 'retire its public brand' in favor of Alaska Air". USA Today. Retrieved 2011-12-13. 
  25. ^ http://travel.usatoday.com/flights/story/2011/02/Alaska-Airlines-signs-flying-deal-with-SkyWest/44166418/1 Alaska Airlines signs flying deal with SkyWest
  26. ^ Farley, Glenn (April 12, 2016). "Alaska Air's Horizon places big order for Embraer E175 jets". KING 5 News. Retrieved November 18, 2017. 
  27. ^ Gates, Dominic (June 29, 2017). "Horizon Air cutting hundreds of flights this summer due to pilot shortage". The Seattle Times. Retrieved November 18, 2017. 
  28. ^ Gates, Dominic (September 6, 2017). "SkyWest orders more jets it will fly for Alaska Air, reflecting Horizon's troubles". The Seattle Times. Retrieved November 18, 2017. 
  29. ^ "Fleet". Horizon Air Company Facts. Alaska Air Group. September 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  30. ^ "Alaska Air Group reports first quarter 2017 results". Alaska Airlines. April 26, 2017. Retrieved April 29, 2017. Took delivery of the first of 33 E175s to be flown by subsidiary Horizon Air. 
  31. ^ "Flyer Guide". Alaska Beyond Magazine. Paradigm Communications Group. May 2017. p. 203. Retrieved May 2, 2017. 
  32. ^ "Program Status Report - Q Series aircraft" (PDF). Bombardier Aerospace. September 30, 2017. p. 3. Retrieved November 2, 2017. 
  33. ^ "Bombardier Q400 Aircraft Information". Retrieved 2011-06-18. 
  34. ^ a b "CH-Aviation Fleet Lists". Retrieved 2009-09-19. 
  35. ^ "ATW Daily News". Air Transport World. 2008-07-01. Retrieved 2008-10-13. [permanent dead link]
  36. ^ Endres, Günter G. (2001). The illustrated directory of modern commercial aircraft. Osceola, WI: MBI Pub. Co. p. 299. ISBN 978-0-7603-1125-7. 
  37. ^ Gorlick, Arthur C. (1988-04-16). "Horizon Air Began Flying in '81". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2008-10-11. [permanent dead link]
  38. ^ a b Endicott 2001, p. 94
  39. ^ Guillen, Tomas (1990-06-12). "Faa: Window Trouble On Fairchild Planes Ongoing". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2008-10-11. 
  40. ^ 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. 
  41. ^ Group, Sinclair Broadcast. "Alaska Air, Tom Douglas and other big names launch Alaska Beyond". 
  42. ^ "Introducing Alaska Beyond - Alaska Airlines". 
  43. ^ "Alaska Airlines and Starbucks Team Up to Serve Freshly Brewed Coffee Onboard". Alaska Airlines. February 1, 2012. Archived from the original on September 16, 2012. Retrieved September 16, 2012. 
  44. ^ Goldsmith, Philip (2008). Northern California Wine Country (2nd ed.). Moon Handbooks. p. 402. ISBN 978-1-59880-078-4. 
  45. ^ "Picnic Packs". Main Cabin Food and Beverage Service. Alaska Airlines. Retrieved September 17, 2012. 
  46. ^ "Alaska Airlines In-flight Wi-Fi". Alaskaair.com. Retrieved August 22, 2011. 
  47. ^ "Alaska Airlines In-flight Wi-Fi Available On Most Every Aircraft". Alaska Airlines. June 2, 2011. Archived from the original on September 16, 2012. Retrieved September 16, 2012. 
  48. ^ "MVP & MVP Gold Qualification Levels and Benefits". Alaska Air Group. Retrieved September 14, 2009. 
  49. ^ "Board Room Membership Fees". Alaska Air Group. Retrieved September 14, 2009. 
  50. ^ "Portland flight hijacked". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. May 3, 1986. p. A1. 
  51. ^ Endicott 2001, pg. 191-194
  52. ^ "Plane Crash at Sea-Tac injures 19". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. April 16, 1988. p. A1. 
  53. ^ "DCA88MA052". National Transportation Safety Board. 1990-04-24. Retrieved 2008-10-11. 
  54. ^ "18 Injured in Seattle Plane Crash". The New York Times. AP. 1988-04-16. Retrieved 2008-10-11. 
  55. ^ "Man pulled partway through plane window". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. May 24, 1990. p. B1. 
  56. ^ 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. 
  57. ^ "NTSB Incident Report". Retrieved 2009-11-12. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Horizon Air at Wikimedia Commons