FAIRBANKS - Horizon Air and its Bombardier turboprop Q400 aircraft will be phased out of Alaska in March and replaced with Boeing 737s.
Horizon Air is a component of Alaska Air Group, which includes Alaska Airlines.
"Horizon started flying in Alaska in 2014, and since that time has struggled to operate cost-effectively in such a remote environment with limited resources," Alaska Airlines Regional Vice President Marilyn Romano said in a Tuesday email to the News-Miner.
"Horizon Air has made the decision to close the Anchorage base on March 10, 2018," Romano said in the email. "Employees have been notified of the closure, and resources are available for those employees who will be impacted by this decision. Horizon’s 51 Anchorage-based employees have provided great service to our guests and have been offered opportunities to relocate to other Horizon bases in the Lower 48."
Romano said the Q400 was primarily used in the Anchorage-Fairbanks and Anchorage-Deadhorse routes. She said the real change that will be noticed by Fairbanks residents is the jet size. The Boeing 737 seats at least 144 people depending on the jet's size, compared to the Q400's 76 seats. The 737 also offers first-class seating.
An Alaska Airlines official said in late 2013, when the company announced the switch to the Q400, that use of the turboprops instead of the jets on the Anchorage-Fairbanks route would reduce the cost per departure by 30 percent and increase the flight frequency to eight per day.
Horizon uses the Q400s widely on its Pacific Northwest routes.
Contact staff writer Kevin Baird at 459-7575. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMcity.