Alaskaairlines
Topic Author
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Horizon In Alaska?

Wed Feb 06, 2002 5:19 am

Hello all.

I would like to know why Alaska Airlines does not use there regional/commuter airline Horizon in the state of Alaska. Instead they use Era Aviation and/or Pen Air.

Your comment......

-Dmitry
 
searpqx
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RE: Horizon In Alaska?

Wed Feb 06, 2002 5:31 am

This is strictly my guess/opinion, but for what its worth, I'd say because of the cost of establishing an entire operation in Anchorage, plus the demand just isn't there. Except for a few flights to Kenai, Kodiak, etc., ERA and the other commuters meet the demand with 1 or 2 flights a day, using small (3-10 pax) planes. Horizon would need to buy a completely new fleet, set up new maintenance, hire airport staff, etc., all of which would be out of synch with what they do in the Pac. NW.

"The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity"
 
woodsboy
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RE: Searpqx

Wed Feb 06, 2002 5:54 am

Apparantly you have never been to Alaska, and if you have then you didnt take very good notes on ERA Aviation and Pen Air. Alaska has more commuter and general aviation traffic per capita than any other state in the US.

Era operates ALL Alaska Airlines codeshare flights into places like Valdez, Homer and Kenai as well as sharing destinations like Kodiak, King Slamon, Dutch Harbour, Cordova and Deadhorse with Alaska Airlines jet service.

ERA operates not a single aircraft (except helicopters) that would fall into your 3-10 pax catagory. Their fleet consists of 50 pax Convair 580s, Twin Otter 200/300s and 37 pax Dash 8s. The destinations they serve are high frequency cities such as Kenai with up to 15 flights per day and Valdez with up to 6 flights per day. Other destinations such as Homer also get upwards of 10 flights per day.

PenAir has a more mixed fleet with aircraft ranging in size from Cessna Caravans and 207s to Saab 340s and Swerengin Metroliners. They serve many small communities as well as the larger towns like Dutch Harbour, Bethel, Dillingham, Cold Bay and King Salmon.

To say that there isnt "demand" would tell me that you have no idea how much Alaska relies on air taxis, scheduled jet service, regional commuter airlines and smaller on demand charter and scheduled passenger service. Town the size of Bethel (about 2500 people) can see up to 3 daily Alaska Airlines 737 combis in addition to upwards of 100 commuter and air taxi movements.

Alaska Airlines doesnt need Horizon here in Alaska to compete with itself. AS jet service to the smaller bush communities is an essential freight, passenger and mail carrying service that smaller aircraft could not effectively deliver. For every 25-50 passengers going to Barrow (that a Dash 8 could carry) you also have 20,000 lbs of cargo and mail.

I would like to see what thinks of this post!
 
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RE: Horizon In Alaska?

Wed Feb 06, 2002 7:35 am

Are you sure Era flies to/from Deadhorse? I've never seen any of their planes there, nor are they scheduled.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
woodsboy
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RE: Horizon In Alaska?

Wed Feb 06, 2002 7:45 am

ERA's Deadhorse service is not scheduled and I am not sure on who's behalf they do the trips, but on some days we will have 4-5 CV 580s come through FAI on the way to Deadhorse. Usually Alaska Airlines handles the BP flights but when ERA comes in they are handled by Omni so I dont know what the scoop is. Perhaps they are going to Badami or some other strip besides SCC??

I would also like to know who they are operating for since when one of the BP 732s is out of service for MX or something, they usually sub in an Alaska 732.

Last Friday there were 3 Deadhorse bound CV580s that stopped in FAI and picked up pax......thats the last ones I saw.
 
searpqx
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RE: Horizon In Alaska?

Wed Feb 06, 2002 8:38 am

Woodsboy, besides thinking that you need to lay off the caffiene, I appreciate your input. I have no problem saying that you obviously have a more current perspective. I'll stand by my statement that the cost of setting up a duplicate operation in Anchorage doesn't make sense for Horizon. And while I (badly)misstated the aircraft size on the flights, the constant year round demand that Horizon would count on doesn't exist. Most markets are highly seasonal, and ERA and PenAir's operations are adapted to shifting capacity as needed, not so Horizon. Additionaly, ERA and PenAir rely heavily on cargo and charter/FBO, again not Horizon's main strength (and before someone else yells at me, yes I know Horizon carries a great deal of cargo, but only as it fits on pax flights). Even AS's combi service fluctuates greatly.

Bottom line what I'm getting at, and was trying to say in my first post, is that QX operations are geared to markets that on average have a higher year round demand, and that to operate in Alaska, they would need to come up w/ a new fleet structure, new maint., new training, new airport operations, etc., etc. None of which would be in common w/ their current operations in the Pacific Northwest.

And finally, I grew up in Southeast, AK, worked in Anchorage, Kenai, Soldotna, Homer and Prudhoe for TravelCenter, and worked in res at both QX and AS. I based my statements on that background. I respect your comments and knowledge, especially since your experience is more current than mine, but have the common decency to respect others.
"The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity"
 
woodsboy
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RE: Searpqx

Wed Feb 06, 2002 8:49 am

Maybe I do need to lay off the caffeine! I know what you are saying and you are totally right, Horizon's business is much more based on consistant markets rather than the very seasonal aspect of markets here in Alaska. Although the flow of air freight is pretty much the same all year round, passenger demand in definitely higher in the summer. One thing I wonder about though is why Alaska Airlines doesnt add more capacity in the summer time when you cant get a seat between FAI-ANC or ANC-SEA to save your life! Then there is all the seasonal charter traffic that ERA handles and that Reeve use to do as well. ERA will fly 4 at a time CV-580s into FAI from ANC with Princess Tours pax every day all summer, sometimes twice a day with 2-4 airplanes each time!

I guess it boils down to the seasonal nature of Alaska's pasenger air service and the necessity for freight carrying capability in either combi aircraft or freighters, neither of which Horizon a/c could address.

Maybe Delta/SkyWest can get a couple of RJs doing the FAI-ANC-JNU routes to connect with their ANC-SEA/SLC/ATL service now that DL doesnt fly to either FAI or JNU anymore, thats what I would like to see.
 
searpqx
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RE: Horizon In Alaska?

Wed Feb 06, 2002 8:58 am

AS is trying to address part of the summer capacity issue w/ the 737-900. However, like you said, they won't come anywhere near covering the demand. I think it boils down to the fact that there is such a huge spike in the summer, that to meet it you'd end up buying/leasing planes and then end up with tons of idle capacity in the winter.

As a kid I remember seeing 727/737 pulling into Juneau in the summer that AS had on short term lease. They'd still be in UA or CO (the two I remember) colors, but have a little Alaska decal over the front cabin door.

I'm with you on Delta/Skywest (or anybody!) going back into Juneau.
"The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity"
 
Alaskaairlines
Topic Author
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RE: Horizon In Alaska?

Wed Feb 06, 2002 10:17 am

I wish DAL brought up skywest. That would be great.

-Dmitry
 
flashmeister
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RE: Horizon In Alaska?

Wed Feb 06, 2002 10:33 am

Also, now isn't the time for growth at QX. While Alaska Air Group is making money, QX is itself losing money, and quite a bit of it. Horizon is a great airline, and it has some pretty impressive and important service, but it's bleeding money post-9/11, and it needs to be corrected before any major expansion can even be considered.

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