Horizon Air sees growth in the state of Alaska and elsewhere in the Alaska Airlines system, as its parent continues to shift its fleet towards larger Boeing 737 aircraft.
The Seattle-based regional airline will begin its first operations in Alaska in March 2014 when it begins a "shuttle service" between Anchorage and Fairbanks, the carrier's president Glenn Johnson said at the Paris Air Show today. Horizon will replace the majority of its parent's flights on the route and take over one of two daily nonstops between Anchorage and Kodiak next year.
"We'll see what opens itself up in the state of Alaska as time goes on," says Johnson.
Horizon converted three Bombardier Q400 options to firm orders today. These aircraft, to be delivered in the third quarter, will be used to operate the new service.
The new Q400s will come equipped with required navigation performance AR 0.3, head-up guidance systems, wide area augmentation systems and approach guidance to aid with operations in Alaska.
Johnson says that there are "natural growth opportunities" for Horizon throughout the Alaska Airlines system - including in Alaska, California and the Pacific Northwest - as its parent takes delivery of larger Boeing 737-800s and -900ERs and removes from its fleet the smaller 737-400s and 737-700s.
He cites San Diego as an example of Horizon's growth outside its traditional base in the Pacific Northwest. The airline launched flights between the southern California city and Fresno, Monterey and Santa Rosa in June 2012.
The San Diego routes are part of a larger expansion by Alaska Airlines in San Diego, where it has added 10 new destinations during the past two years.
Johnson declines to comment on the performance of the San Diego routes.