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Horizon Air

Horizon Air
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 1981
Commenced operations September 1, 1981
Frequent-flyer program Mileage Plan
Airport lounge Board Room
Fleet size 51
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]

Horizon Air Industries, Inc. operating as Horizon Air[3] is a Georgia.

Horizon Air and its sister carrier Alaska Airlines are subsidiaries of Alaska Air Group. All Horizon-operated scheduled flights are marketed and sold by Alaska. It is also a substantial codeshare partner of American Airlines and Delta Air Lines.


  • History 1
    • 1980s 1.1
    • 1990s 1.2
    • 2000s 1.3
    • 2010s 1.4
  • Destinations 2
  • Fleet 3
    • Fleet history 3.1
    • Livery 3.2
      • Special liveries 3.2.1
  • Services 4
    • Board Room 4.1
    • Mileage Plan 4.2
    • On board services 4.3
  • Destinations in 1986 5
  • Incidents and accidents 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9



Horizon Air was formed in May 1981 by Milt Kuolt, and started operations on September 1, 1981 with three Fairchild F-27 aircraft.[7] Its headquarters were in an area that is now within SeaTac, Washington.[8]

Horizon Air's first route was from Yakima to Seattle and one week later, Pasco to Seattle.[9] 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.[10] Horizon agreed to purchase Transwestern Airlines of Utah in September 1983, once again to try to reduce operating deficit of the airline.[11] 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.[12][13] 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.[14]

Horizon Air Fokker F28 at Oakland International Airport in 1995

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.[15][16] In the summer of 1985, Horizon entered into its first codeshare agreement with United Airlines,[17] which attracted the attention of Alaska Airlines, which struck a deal and acquired Horizon Air in November 1986,[18] approved by the Transportation Department in late December.[19][20] 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.[21] In January 1986, the airline became an international carrier when it began service to Calgary, Alberta in association with Cascade Airways.[22] In 1988 Horizon signed a code share agreement with Northwest Airlines. Horizon then expanded its international service with flights to Vancouver, BC and Victoria, BC 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. 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).[23]


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.[24] The Horizon Air brand was retired and all Horizon planes were repainted with Alaska Airlines' livery.[25]


Horizon's 42 destinations are located in the U.S. states of California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Baja California Sur (Mexico), Alberta and British Columbia (Canada). Codesharing with Alaska Airlines, American Airlines[26] 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.[27]


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

Horizon Air operates 51 narrow-body aircraft as of April 2015, with a single economy class service:[28][29]

Horizon Air Fleet[28]
Aircraft Total Orders Passengers
Bombardier Q400

The average Horizon Air fleet age is 8.9 years old as of October 2013.[30] 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 aircraft, only window or aisle. Horizon Air features all leather seating.[31]

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.[32]

Fleet history

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):

On May 31, 2011, Horizon Air phased out the last of its CRJ-700 regional jets and now operates only the Bombardier Dash 8 Q400[28][34] high speed regional propjet although SkyWest Airlines continues to operate CRJ-700 aircraft for Alaska Airlines. In January 2007, the Q200s were removed from Horizon Air service and were dry leased to CommutAir.[40]


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.

Special liveries

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

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.[41]

Many of the airline's other special liveries feature the colors and logos of universities located on the West Coast.[42] These include:

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. 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

Board Room is the Alaska Air Group airport lounge and are located in four west coast airports including: 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.[49][50]

Mileage Plan

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

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 and Delta Air Lines; as well as Fiji Airways, Ravn Alaska (formerly Era Aviation), Frontier Alaska, Mokulele Airlines and PenAir.[51] MVP and MVP Gold are Mileage Plan's top tiers for experienced travelers.[52]

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.[53]

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.[49]


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, 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.[49]

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.[49]

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.[49]

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.[54] Horizon has set itself apart from its sister company and other airlines by offering, to passengers of age, free Northwest beer and wine.[55] Other free beverages include Coca-Cola products, juices, and tea.[56] 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.[57]

Destinations in 1986

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.


  • Sacramento
  • San Francisco (SFO)


  • Boise - Hub
  • Idaho Falls
  • Lewiston (Clarkston, WA was also served via Lewiston)
  • Pocatello
  • Sun Valley
  • Twin Falls


  • Butte
  • Helena
  • Kalispell


  • Eugene
  • Klamath Falls
  • Medford - Hub
  • North Bend/Coos Bay
  • Pendleton
  • Portland - Hub
  • Redmond/Bend
  • Salem


  • Salt Lake City


  • Moses Lake/Ephrata
  • Olympia
  • Pasco/Kennewick/Richland
  • Pullman
  • Seattle - Hub
  • Spokane - Hub
  • Walla Walla
  • Wenatchee
  • Yakima

Alberta, Canada

  • Calgary

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.

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.[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 4 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


  • Endicott, Bill (2001). Williams, Dayna Spear, ed. Remember the Magic… The Story of Horizon Air.  
  1. ^ a b Horizon Air Company Facts
  2. ^
  3. ^ "IOSA Operational Safety Audit".  
  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. ^ Endicott 2001, p. 32
  8. ^ "World Airline Directory." Flight International. March 31, 1984. 844.
  9. ^ Endicott 2001, p. 52
  10. ^ Endicott 2001, pg. 119-125
  11. ^ "Horizon buys Utah airline".  
  12. ^ Endicott 2001, p. 141
  13. ^ a b Associated Press (1984-07-02). "Pasco to be served by jets". Spokane Chronicle (Google News Archives). Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  14. ^ AP (1995-05-30). "Horizon Air says it plans to issue stock".  
  15. ^ "Annual Report, 1985". Horizon Air. p. 1. 
  16. ^ "Horizon Air orders 10 planes". Spokane Chronicle (Google News Archives). 1985-09-04. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  17. ^ Endicott 2001, p. 220
  18. ^ Briggs, Wanda (November 20, 1986). "Alaska Airlines to buy Horizon". Tri-City Herald. p. A1. 
  19. ^ "Alaska Air Group gets approval to buy Horizon". Anchorage Daily News. Associated Press. December 24, 1986. p. d-7. 
  20. ^ Endicott 2001, p. 230
  21. ^ Bartel, Frank. "Horizon released from agreement to buy Cascade".  
  22. ^ Jan. 5, 1986 Horizon Air route map
  23. ^ "Directory: World Airlines".  
  24. ^ "Horizon Air Changes Business Model". Aviation Week. 23 August 2010. Retrieved 26 August 2010. 
  25. ^ Mutzabaugh, Ben (2011-01-26). "Horizon Air to 'retire its public brand' in favor of Alaska Air".  
  26. ^ "Codeshare Partners".  
  27. ^ "Horizon / Northwest Airlines will soon begin coordination of services".  
  28. ^ a b c "Fleet". Horizon Air Company Facts. Alaska Air Group. September 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  29. ^
  30. ^ "Airline fleet age - Horizon Air". Retrieved 2012-06-28. 
  31. ^ a b "Bombardier Q400 Aircraft Information". Retrieved 2011-06-18. 
  32. ^ Alaska Airlines signs flying deal with SkyWest
  33. ^ a b "CH-Aviation Fleet Lists". Retrieved 2009-09-19. 
  34. ^ a b "ATW Daily News".  
  35. ^ Endres, Günter G. (2001). The illustrated directory of modern commercial aircraft. Osceola, WI: MBI Pub. Co. p. 299.  
  36. ^ Gorlick, Arthur C. (1988-04-16). "Horizon Air Began Flying in '81".  
  37. ^ a b Endicott 2001, p. 94
  38. ^ Guillen, Tomas (1990-06-12). "Faa: Window Trouble On Fairchild Planes Ongoing".  
  39. ^ 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. 
  40. ^ "CommutAir/Continental Connection concludes transaction for larger aircraft" (PDF) (Press release).  
  41. ^ Horizon Air 25th Anniversary Q400 scrapped., retrieved 12 June 2013
  42. ^ Horizon Air to add more college logos to planes Puget Sound Business Journal
  43. ^ "Idaho Vandals Get Horizon Plane". aUIalumni. 2010-10-05. Retrieved 2010-10-07. 
  44. ^ "Alaska Airlines Unveils New "SDSU" Plane".  
  45. ^ "Horizon Air Flying Q400 with University of Washington Colors" (Press release). Alaska Air Group. 2009-02-03. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  46. ^ "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. 
  47. ^ Herrmann, Julie (March 8, 2014). "Alaska Airlines unveils UAF-themed plane". Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  48. ^
  49. ^ a b c d e "MVP & MVP Gold Qualification Levels and Benefits". Alaska Air Group. Retrieved 2009-09-14. 
  50. ^ "Board Room Membership Fees". Alaska Air Group. Retrieved 2009-09-14. 
  51. ^ "Mileage Plan Airline Partners". Alaska Air Group. Retrieved 2009-09-14. 
  52. ^ "Mileage Plan Program Benefits". Alaska Air Group. Retrieved 2009-09-14. 
  53. ^ "Other Mileage Plan Information". Alaska Air Group. Retrieved 2009-09-14. 
  54. ^ "Starbucks In Flight".  
  55. ^ Goldsmith, Philip (2008). Northern California Wine Country (2nd ed.). Moon Handbooks. p. 402.  
  56. ^ "Horizon Air and SkyWest Food Service - Alaska Airlines". Retrieved 2012-05-17. 
  57. ^ "Inflight Wi-Fi". Alaska Air Group. Retrieved 2009-10-07. 
  58. ^ Jan. 6, 1986 Horizon Air route map
  59. ^ Endicott 2001, pg. 191-194
  60. ^ "DCA88MA052".  
  61. ^ "18 Injured in Seattle Plane Crash".  
  62. ^ Tomas, Guillen; Corr, O. Casey; Birkland, Dave; Lane, Polly; Whitely, Peyton (1990-05-23). "Passenger Nearly Sucked Out Of Horizon Airliner".  
  63. ^ "NTSB Incident Report". Retrieved 2009-11-12. 

External links

  • Horizon Air
  • Horizon Air Magazine in-flight magazine
  • Horizon Airlines
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