Horizon Air places largest aircraft order in its history, adding 30 Embraer E175 Regional Jets to fleet

Courtesy: Embraer.

Courtesy: Embraer.

Horizon Air today announced it will grow its fleet with the purchase of 30 new three-class Embraer E175 jets, which will fly exclusively for Alaska Airlines. The order, which also includes 33 options, will be delivered over three years starting next year, and is valued at $2.8 billion at Embraer’s current list price and represents the largest order since the airline was founded in 1981. The jets will supplement the Portland-based carrier’s fleet of Bombardier Q400 turboprops.

Embraer’s E175 will allow the carrier to fly ‘long, thin routes’ – destinations that are too distant for a turboprop, but currently don’t have enough customer demand to fill a mainline jet. The E175 offers a comfortable cabin that boasts large overhead bins, ample cargo capacity and a forward and rear lavatory.

“The E175s position Horizon for growth beyond our current West Coast destinations while providing better customer utility in the growing Alaska Airlines network,” said Horizon Air President David Campbell. “The spacious E175 offers a passenger experience, that’s on par with much larger jets. This aircraft opens up tremendous new opportunities to fly to new places that would not have been feasible with our existing aircraft.”

Horizon plans to begin flying the jets exclusively for Alaska Airlines under a capacity purchase agreement (CPA) beginning in Spring 2017 on select longer routes originating from the Pacific Northwest. Over time, the jets will replace 15 of the airline’s leased Q400s, due for return in 2018.

Horizon Air will fly both the E175 and the Q400 for the foreseeable future. The Embraer jet is not new for Alaska customers, who may have flown on the regional aircraft in 16 markets operated by CPA partner SkyWest Airlines.

“To be chosen by Horizon to expand their fleet with the E175, is a great honor for Embraer.  It recognizes the great economics that this aircraft offers,” said Paulo Cesar Silva, Embraer Commercial Aviation president and CEO. “The Alaska Airlines brand is known for its high-standards of service, having received many awards for their superior customer services, which brings us even greater responsibility to deliver a state-of-the-art product, with the best cabin for passengers in the 76-seat jet segment.”

The 76-seat E175 jet will feature 12 seats in first class, 16 in premium class and 48 in the main cabin. Onboard amenities include Wi-Fi Internet access, and Alaska Beyond Entertainment, which includes free and premium entertainment direct to customer devices and power outlets throughout the cabin. Depending on length of flight, food and beverage will include fresh meals for purchase in addition to locally-sourced craft beers and premium wines.

Embraer E175 Facts:

  • Seat pitch will be 31 inches in the main cabin, 34 inches in premium class and between 36 and 38 inches in first class.
  • All customers flying on the E175 will enjoy a window or aisle seat.
  • The regional jet is equipped with large overhead bins.
  • Maximum cruising altitude: 41,000 feet
  • Typical cruising speed: 494 mph

Horizon Air is a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group, Inc. and flies to 39 cities across the United States and Canada.

Source: Alaska Air Group.

Alaska Airlines and Icelandair announce codeshare and Frequent Flier partnership agreement

Courtesy: Icelandair.

Courtesy: Icelandair.

Alaska Airlines and Icelandair have entered into a codeshare agreement and frequent flier partnership, which will give customers easier connections and more ways to earn benefits when flying between the U.S. and Europe.

With the new codeshare agreement, to take effect Nov. 1 pending government approval, customers flying on Alaska Airlines and Icelandair will enjoy seamless reservations and ticketing, one-stop check-in, baggage checked to its final destination, coordinated flight schedules, the ability to earn miles and/or points on the reciprocal airline and consistent passenger service standards.

Elite-level members of each airline’s frequent flier program also will receive reciprocal club lounge benefits.

“This new partnership with Icelandair is another example of how Alaska is raising the bar to allow its Mileage Plan members to travel and earn miles to all corners of the globe through a diverse network of international carriers,” said Andrew Harrison, Alaska Airlines’ executive vice president and chief commercial officer. “Icelandair offers our frequent fliers a unique option for flying and earning miles to Europe from our Seattle, Portland and Anchorage gateways.”

Icelandair operates flights from 16 cities in North America to Iceland with connections to more than 20 destinations in Europe, including Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, London and Paris. Travelers can also enjoy an Icelandair stop-over to visit the city of Reykjavik and tour surrounding areas for up to seven nights at no additional airfare charge.

“With today’s announcement of our Alaska Airlines partnership, Icelandair continues to expand its network, including more flights, more gateways and more destinations,” said Helgi Mar Bjorgvinsson, Icelandair’s senior vice president of sales and marketing. “Our codeshare flights and mileage partnership will make travel seamless from the West Coast, reward frequent travelers on both Icelandair and Alaska Airlines, and offer our passengers even more options when traveling to Iceland and beyond.”

As an added benefit, starting Oct. 1 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan MVP Gold and Gold 75K members will receive complimentary access to Icelandair’s Saga Lounge at Keflavik International Airport in Reykjavik and Icelandair Saga Gold and Silver members will enjoy complimentary access to Alaska Board Room lounges in Seattle, Portland, Anchorage and Los Angeles.

Members of Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan can begin earning miles on Icelandair starting Oct. 1, and through Dec. 15, 2015 the airline is offering double miles.* Miles flown will count toward elite status in Alaska’s Mileage Plan. Members of Icelandair’s Saga Club can begin earning Saga Points for flights on Alaska starting Oct. 1. Redemption for award travel will start later this year.

Icelandair has a long history of providing flights from the United States to Europe. The airline offers onboard Wi-Fi access, personal inflight entertainment, three cabins of service and two free checked bags for customers. Icelandair Saga Club, Icelandair´s frequent flier program, offers members multiple options to redeem their Saga Points, whether it is a flight with Icelandair, onboard refreshments and duty free items, hotel accommodations around the world or gift certificates at various retailers in U.S. and Canada. The most frequent fliers with Saga Gold and Silver status enjoy excellent benefits, such as upgrades, lounge access and extra baggage allowance.

Over the last few years Alaska has grown its codeshare and frequent flier partnerships with the world’s best airlines to provide customers with convenient service to most every point on the globe. In July, Alaska added China-based carrier Hainan Airlines as a Mileage Plan partner. Mileage Plan was ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Airline Loyalty Rewards Programs, Two Years in a Row” in the J.D. Power Airline Loyalty/Rewards Program Satisfaction Report.

Source: Alaska Airlines.

Alaska Airlines begins nonstop service from Seattle to New York city

Courtesy: Alaska Airlines.

Courtesy: Alaska Airlines.

Alaska Airlines inaugurates new service from Seattle to New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport tonight, offering double miles* for Alaska Airline Mileage Plan™ members for a limited time. Customers must travel between Sept. 16 and Oct. 28, 2015, to take advantage of the double miles offer.

“Our new non-stop service to JFK from Seattle provides our Pacific Northwest customers another travel option to the Big Apple,” said John Kirby, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of capacity planning. “JFK is the country’s busiest international gateway, and is a prime jumping off point for customers traveling to Europe and beyond with Alaska’s global Mileage Plan.”

Alaska has served the New York metropolitan area since 2002 and currently offers twice-daily flights to Newark Liberty International Airport from Seattle.

Start date City pair Departs Arrives Frequency
Sept. 16 Seattle – New York City (JFK) 9:35 p.m. 6:00 a.m. Daily
Sept. 17 New York City (JFK) – Seattle 7:15 a.m. 10:30 a.m. Daily

Flight times based on local times zones.

The airline is offering members of its Mileage Plan double miles on the new route from through Oct. 28, 2015. To qualify, travelers must be members of Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan and register at www.alaskaair.com/doublemiles. Customers who have not yet joined Mileage Plan can enroll at no cost online.

Alaska is operating the new flights with fuel-efficient, next generation Boeing 737 aircraft. Customers can enjoy free entertainment on their own devices and power at every seat, as well as Northwest-inspired food and beverages, such as Beecher’s Flagship cheese and exclusively blended Canoe Ridge wine.

Source: Alaska Airlines.

SkyWest adds eight Embraer E175s to fleet, replacing older regional jets for Alaska Airlines flying

Courtesy: Alaska Airlines.

Courtesy: Alaska Airlines.

SkyWest Airlines announced today that they will purchase eight new, dual-class Embraer E175 jets to fly for Alaska Airlines. The new planes, to be delivered in 2016, will replace eight older regional jets SkyWest currently flies for the Seattle-based carrier.

The announcement comes the same month SkyWest takes ownership of the first of seven E175s purchased last fall to be flown for Alaska under a capacity purchase agreement (CPA). The regional carrier will begin flying the planes for Alaska on July 1 with the start of new service from Seattle to both Milwaukee and Oklahoma City, and between Portland, Oregon and St. Louis.

“We’re pleased to enhance our Alaska Airlines partnership with these new aircraft,” said SkyWest, Inc. President Chip Childs. “Our first E175 flights for Alaska will launch next month, and we look forward to continually improving the product we provide to our partner and their customers with eight additional E175 aircraft next year.”

The 76-seat E175 jet will feature 12 seats in first class and 64 in coach. Onboard amenities include Alaska Beyond Entertainment featuring free short subject videos and movies and TV shows for purchase direct to customer devices. Inflight Internet access is also available, as well as Alaska Beyond Delicious which offers Pacific Northwest-inspired food and beverages. Additionally, customers seated in first class will enjoy 110 volt power in every seat.

“The E175 is an excellent regional aircraft that offers customers comforts similar to our mainline jets,” said Andrew Harrison, executive vice president and chief revenue officer for Alaska Airlines. “The spacious E175 is particularly well-suited for long, thin routes that are too far for our existing regional aircraft.”

SkyWest expects to retire its current regional jet fleet flying for Alaska by fall of 2016.

Source: Alaska Airlines.

Alaska Airlines announces order for six Boeing Next-Generation 737-900ERs

Courtesy: Alaska Airlines.

Courtesy: Alaska Airlines.

Alaska Airlines’ fleet of fuel-efficient Boeing airplanes is growing again. Seattle’s hometown airline is purchasing six more Boeing 737-900 Extended Range aircraft, valued at $594 million, Boeing’s current list price. The new planes, four scheduled for delivery in 2016 and two in 2017, bring Alaska’s total of locally manufactured jets on order to 79.

“We’re delighted Boeing is able to expedite delivery of four of these new 737-900ERs, increasing the number of planes we’ll receive next year to 19,” said Andrew Harrison, Alaska Airlines executive vice president and chief revenue officer. “These comfortable and highly efficient jets will expand and strengthen our already leading Pacific Northwest network.”

Alaska operates one of the youngest fleets in North America. The airline is transitioning to Boeing’s most modern and efficient 737 “next generation” models. Over the next few years, Alaska’s remaining 737-400s will be replaced with 737-900ERs, which transport 25 percent more passengers on the same amount of fuel.

“Alaska’s confidence in the 737-900ER is something that everyone at Boeing takes great pride in,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner. “As hometown partners, Alaska and Boeing have a shared vision to put the most innovative and fuel-efficient airplanes in the skies. The 737-900ER is a testament to that vision.”

Starting later this year, all of Alaska’s new 737-900ERs will feature Boeing’s innovative Space Bins. The larger overhead bins have a similar look and feel to Alaska’s current pivot bins, yet will hold 48 percent more bags than the current bins. When open, the bin’s bottom edge hangs about 2 inches lower, which means customers don’t have to lift their bags as high to load them. The deeper bins allow more bags to be stowed, and let customers load bags with less struggle.

Source: Alaska Airlines.

Alaska Airlines to offer free inflight entertainment through March

Courtesy: Alaska Airlines (H. Knigge).

Courtesy: Alaska Airlines (H. Knigge).

Alaska Airlines today announced it will continue to offer free premium inflight entertainment directly to customers’ personal electronic devices for two more months, in addition to the more than 100 titles of free content that are available all the time, to all passengers, as part of the new Alaska Beyond™ experience.

All content, including premium movies and TV shows, will be complimentary through March 31, 2015. Starting April 1, customers can still enjoy free access to a wide selection of complimentary custom curated content and purchase premium movies and TV shows starting at $1.99.

The new entertainment service is available today on more than half of Alaska’s mainline aircraft and will be equipped on nearly all of Alaska’s all-Boeing fleet by April 2015.

Additionally, beginning Feb. 1, Alaska will also introduce new Inflight Entertainment tablets powered by Microsoft. The tablets will be available to rent on long-haul flights for $8-10 and will feature movies, TV, XBOX games, music, digital magazines, and easy Internet access on WiFi-equipped flights. The rentable tablets will continue to be offered at no charge to First Class customers and MVP Gold75Ks.

“Our customers tell us they love our new, free, inflight entertainment service, and we’re listening. We’re excited to continue offering our premium content – like mainstream movies and TV to reward customers for trying out Alaska Beyond Entertainment,” said Halle Hutchison, Alaska’s managing director of brand marketing.

Last month, Alaska debuted its new flight experience, ‘Alaska Beyond.’ In addition to the new, free inflight entertainment offerings, Alaska Beyond features delicious, locally sourced food and beverages, comfortable Recaro leather seats and personal power at every seat.

Source: Alaska Airlines.

Alaska Air Group purchases two more Bombardier Q400 NextGen aircraft

Courtesy: Bombardier.

Courtesy: Bombardier.

Bombardier Commercial Aircraft announced today that Seattle-based Horizon Air Industries, Inc. (“Horizon Air”) has converted two of seven previously acquired Q400 NextGen aircraft options to firm orders. The airline retains its options on another five Q400 NextGen aircraft. Horizon Air and its sister carrier, Alaska Airlines are subsidiaries of Alaska Air Group.

Based on the list price of the Q400 NextGen aircraft, the purchase agreement is valued at approximately $70.1 million US.

“As we grow our operations, we continue to rely on the Q400 aircraft’s versatility, speed and comfort to provide a satisfying experience for our customers,” said David Campbell, President and Chief Operations Officer, Horizon Air. “In 2014, Horizon Air ventured into the Alaskan frontier, successfully launching the Q400 NextGen aircraft on new routes between Anchorage and Fairbanks, and Anchorage and Kodiak.”

“Horizon Air is one of the most successful North American regional carriers and a marquee customer that continues to showcase the operational flexibility and performance capability of the Q400 aircraft,” said Steve Young, Regional Vice President, Sales, North America, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “The Q400 aircraft has long been the backbone of Horizon Air’s network success and continues to be the airline’s choice as it increases its fleet to 54 aircraft. We are delighted that the Q400 aircraft retains its status as North America’s preferred turboprop.”

Horizon Air’s Q400 aircraft are equipped with Head-up Guidance Systems (HGS) for all-weather operations, Wide Area Augmentation Systems (WAAS) with approach guidance (LPV) for ILS-like landing minima at remote runways and RNP AR 0.1 to fly curved approaches to airports in difficult terrain. The unmatched capability to land and take off on challenging runways in unsettled weather is another benefit of the Q400 aircraft.

Established in 1981, Horizon Air was acquired in 1986 by Alaska Air Group, Inc., the parent company of Alaska Airlines. At its start, the airline operated two aircraft and served three destinations in Washington state. Today, Horizon flies its 76-seat Q400 aircraft on behalf of Alaska Airlines and serves 43 cities in the western United States, Canada and Mexico. Horizon Air, which is also a codeshare partner of American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, operates both the longest (Seattle to Fresno, 748 miles/1,204 km) and shortest (Pullman to Lewiston, 26 miles/42 km) turboprop routes currently being served by regional carriers in the U.S.

In 2014, Bombardier and Horizon Air signed a five-year heavy maintenance agreement whereby Bombardier will perform heavy maintenance tasks for the airline’s fleet of Q400 aircraft at Bombardier’s service centre in Tuscon, Arizona.

Source: Bombardier.