Horizon Air’s pilots ratify the new agreement

Horizon Air’s more than 700 pilots, who are represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), voted to ratify a new agreement aimed at supporting the company’s pilots and retaining talent as mainline airlines continue hiring pilots away from regional airlines at record levels. The agreement includes important pay increases and enhancements to retirement benefits. Additional improvements involve commuter policies and instructor benefits.

More than 91% of Horizon pilots voted, and the agreement passed by 99%.

Horizon Air pilot

A tentative agreement was reached with the IBT on Sept. 2 and is effective immediately upon today’s ratification.

The pilot shortage and the transition to a single fleet of Embraer 175 aircraft has resulted in a temporary reduction of Horizon’s scheduled flying. Nonetheless, Horizon continues to fly to every community we serve. Regional air service provides essential support for economic development and strong local communities. We’re committed to ensuring this service remains strong into the future.

The new agreement with Horizon pilots complements other company efforts that are expanding and diversifying the pilot pipeline through investments in the Ascend Pilot Academy and the Pilot Development Program. This is a priority, as Alaska and Horizon estimate the need to hire 500 pilots each year through 2025.

With bases in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska, Horizon serves more than 45 cities throughout the Pacific Northwest, California, the Midwest, and British Columbia and Alberta in Canada. Horizon maintains pilot crew bases in Anchorage, Boise, Everett, Medford, Portland, Seattle and Spokane.

Horizon Air was formed in response to the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978. One of the results of this act was that many larger airlines abandoned routes within the Northwest. To fill this gap in the market, entrepreneur Milt Kuolt and a group of venture capitalists founded Horizon in Seattle in September 1981. Horizon brought together 36 enthusiastic employees and a fleet consisting of two leased Fairchild F-27 turboprop aircraft to begin service between Yakima, Pasco, and Seattle.

In the early 1980s, Horizon grew rapidly and in 1982, Horizon acquired Air Oregon, which had served the state of Oregon for a number of years. In 1983, Horizon acquired Utah-based Transwestern Airlines, which served the intermountain West, including Boise. Both these acquisitions expanded Horizon’s system map considerably.

In early 1984, Horizon became a public company with an initial stock offering of 750,000 shares. The stock sale was an immediate success and was used to retire debt and provide funding for future aircraft acquisition.

By 1986 the company’s proven track record attracted the attention of larger airlines. In the end Horizon was acquired by Seattle-based Alaska Air Group, Inc., a holding company that includes us, Alaska Airlines. While remaining independently managed, Horizon gained the competitive advantage of connections with us, her sister carrier, and partnership in our Mileage Plan frequent flier program. Along with Alaska, Horizon also code-shares with a wide range of other airline partners.

On Jan. 1, 2011, Horizon shifted to a capacity purchase agreement (CPA) business model, which is the regional airline industry standard. Under this arrangement, Horizon operates and maintains its aircraft while Alaska is responsible for scheduling, marketing and pricing all flights. The change also included the rebranding of all Horizon aircraft to feature the Alaska brand.

Today, Horizon Air maintains an operational fleet of 52 Bombardier Q400 aircraft with an average age of 10 years. In 2016, the airline announced the purchase of 33 Embraer E175 aircraft, the first of which was delivered in spring 2017.

Horizon is about 4,000 employees strong and serves more than 45 cities in Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Alberta and British Columbia, Canada.

The airline has a general office in Seattle and a primary maintenance base in Portland, Oregon, with additional maintenance facilities in Boise, Idaho; Seattle, Washington; Medford, Oregon; Redmond/Bend, Oregon, and Spokane, Washington.

Alaska Horizon aircraft photo gallery:

Horizon Air aircraft photo gallery (historic):