Alaska Air Group is pulling its regional carrier Horizon Air out of the state of Alaska and closing its base in Anchorage. Alaska Airlines will take over those Horizon routes in March.
Seattle Times aerospace reporter
Alaska Air Group is pulling its regional carrier Horizon Air out of the state of Alaska and closing its base in Anchorage, saying the operation is too costly.
Horizon’s 51 Anchorage-based flight attendants and pilots will be offered relocation to bases in the lower 48 states.
Since 2014, Horizon has flown three 76-seat Bombardier Q400 turboprops on a commuter route between Anchorage and Fairbanks, as well as flights serving mainly oil company employees on to Deadhorse on Prudhoe Bay.
Effective March 10, Alaska Airlines will take over those routes, flying a much larger Boeing 737 jet with fewer daily frequencies.
On an internal message to employees, Horizon chief executive Dave Campbell acknowledged that it was bad news for his Alaska-based staff.
But he said the carrier has struggled to operate reliably and cost-effectively in Alaska’s difficult and remote environment. “Operating our Q400s in Alaska was just too expensive, and we couldn’t make it work,” said Campbell.
He said that while the closure is not directly related to Horizon’s recent operational problems — an acute pilot shortage has caused hundreds of canceled flights every month for most of this year — maintaining the three Q400s in Alaska is too costly when those resources are needed on more critical routes in the lower 48.
“Putting that aircraft and resources in our core regional markets, will help us recover faster,” Campbell said in the internal message.