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Skywest to fly for Alaska

Old 01-25-2011, 07:02 AM
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Default Skywest to fly for Alaska

SkyWest acquiring Horizonís last 5 RJs;
Q400s may start flying in state of Alaska

Alaska Air Group announced today that Alaska Airlines has reached an initial agreement for SkyWest Airlines to acquire the five remaining CRJ-700s in Horizon Airís fleet and operate them under a capacity purchase agreement. Alaska also announced it is considering the deployment of Horizon Q400s on some state of Alaska routes.

Andrew Harrison, vice president of planning and revenue management, and Joe Sprague, vice president of marketing, answer questions related to these two moves.

Why is Alaska entering into a CPA with SkyWest?
Harrison: Horizonís financial success depends on its transition to an all-Q400 fleet so it can reap benefits equivalent to what Alaska gained from its own transition to the Boeing 737. That leaves a few longer routes that, for competitive and economic reasons, we need to keep serving with regional jets. SkyWest will fill that need.

What routes will SkyWest be flying?
Harrison: Weíre still evaluating that and expect to have an answer in the next month or so. As always with major market changes, weíll let employees, vendors and airport authorities in these cities know before we announce publicly. What I can say at this point is that SkyWest will primarily be flying the CRJ-700s on some of our longer-haul West Coast routes currently served with the aircraft, but not all of them. Those others will be served by Horizon with the Q400.

Why not have Alaska fly its own jets on these routes?
Harrison: Weíve found that larger jets donít work well on these routes.

Why is SkyWest flying these routes instead of Horizon?
Sprague: Horizon will not be able to capture the economies of a single fleet until all of its CRJ-700s are gone. In addition, with hundreds of regional jets in its fleet contracted to fly for numerous other customers in similar CPA arrangements, SkyWest has economies of scale that Horizon cannot match.

When will the last five CRJ-700s begin leaving Horizonís fleet?
Harrison: The current plan is for the last five Horizon CRJ-700s to transition out of Horizonís fleet starting in April. All current Horizon CRJ-700 flying will either be flown for Alaska with a Horizon Q400 or with a SkyWest CRJ-700 by summer. In order to get the SkyWest CRJ-700s painted in their new livery, some of the flights may need to be temporarily operated with SkyWest 50-seat regional jets until all the CRJ-700s are repainted.

What will be the livery on the SkyWest CRJ-700s flown for Alaska?
Sprague: These SkyWest CRJ-700s will likely sport a version of the Alaska livery. A final decision on this is expected shortly.

Many of our competitors offer a first class cabin on their regional airline partners. Will there be a first class on these SkyWest-operated Alaska flights?
Sprague: Some the majors offer first class on their regional partners as a way to attract very lucrative international business and first class passenger connections. The vast majority of our customers on these SkyWest-operated routes are traveling domestic point-to-point and are very price sensitive. Our experience is that relatively few customers purchase first class seats on our short routes. We believe weíll gain more revenue by having more seats in a single-class configuration, lowering our per-seat cost and allowing us to remain competitive with the likes of single-class competitors like Southwest and JetBlue.

Will SkyWest offer complimentary Northwest wines and microbrews like Horizon?
Sprague: Yes. This enhances the inflight experience for all customers, including those who would have preferred a first class cabin had it been available.

Why would we want to operate Horizon flights in the state of Alaska?
Harrison: In looking at the average demand for air travel on some intra-Alaska routes, we see in many cases that demand could be accommodated with a 76-seat Q400 and at a lower cost. Replacing Alaska mainline flying with the Q400 would allow us to reduce costs and lower fares on the routes and give us the opportunity to re-deploy 737s on other routes where they can be more profitable. Our commitment to air cargo in the state of Alaska remains unchanged, and that service will continue to be provided primarily by Alaska Airlines, due to the size and quantity of cargo involved.

When could we see the first Horizon Q400s in the state of Alaska and where would they operate?
Harrison: Itís too early to tell, because itís not a done deal yet. Scheduling people in my group and operations folks at Horizon and Alaska are working up possible scenarios. Should we decide to proceed, it would likely involve two or three Q400s and would not take place before the end of this year. Once we arrive at any decisions, weíll get the word out.
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Old 01-25-2011, 07:56 AM
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That's disappointing to hear for Horizon.
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Old 01-25-2011, 08:01 AM
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I wonder if Skywest will open a PDX or Sea Crj domicile.
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Old 01-25-2011, 08:17 AM
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Doesn't SKW already have a PDX pilot base for the Bro?
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Old 01-25-2011, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by FlyAK
I wonder if Skywest will open a PDX or Sea Crj domicile.
If they do, I am sure it will go extremely senior for all crew members.
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Old 01-25-2011, 08:22 AM
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Yes, SKW has a PDX brasilia base and a PDX or SEA jet base will go very senior. On the bright side for Horizon I'm sure you have guys who would love to go to Alaska.
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Old 01-25-2011, 08:33 AM
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So what's going to happen to the guys that just got recalled and the 6 new hires at Horizon?
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Old 01-25-2011, 08:39 AM
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No announcement of any kind to the employees of SKW yet.
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Old 01-25-2011, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by ehaeckercfi
No announcement of any kind to the employees of SKW yet.
It's up now, but it doesn't say much more than the Alaska/Horizon FAQ.
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:02 AM
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The announcement implies that QX will continue to operate the Q400's.
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