Downsizing or upgrading?

So I’m about to start next month at horizon on the ERJ 175 and news has recently come out that the company is planning on retiring all of the q400’s by end of 2023, 50% of the fleet! For those who are in the company or who have seen this before, is this a good sign or bad? And as I try to gain seniority within the company am I going to keep getting knocked down by more senior Q400 pilots moving into the 175?
As always thanks in advance!

Cameron,

Tory would know much more about what’s going on at Horizon, but I can tell you what I know. Whenever a fleet disappears, those pilots are “displaced” and have the ability to move to any fleet or base their seniority can hold. I would speculate they’ll be growing the 175 fleet (or adding another type) but until they do that will most likely slow hiring and others with higher seniority who are on the 175 will push you down. That may also motivate some senior pilots who are waiting to leave to step it up.

Adam

1 Like

Cameron,

I would argue that the Q400 pilots would not be “pushing you down” as you are a new hire pilot with no seniority as it is. Your seniority in the company is already set, it cannot change. Now you might be stuck at the bottom of the E175 list for a bit, but I think a company getting rid of turbo props is a good thing.

Chris

1 Like

Cameron,

I am currently an FO on the Q400 at Horizon Air and just saw that announcement as well earlier this morning.

A single-aircraft fleet will likely be beneficial in making the training departments for both pilots and mechanics more efficient. Also, while there are some Q400 pilots at the company who love the plane and wouldn’t want to fly anything else, many of the pilots would rather be on the E175 because it is easier to operate and the schedules are “better,” but I would argue that last part is a bit subjective.

As far as seniority, a lot of that will probably have to do with what they decide to do with bases. Currently the E175 bases are SEA, PAE, and ANC while the Q400 bases are SEA, PDX, GEG, BOI, and MFR. If all the Q400 pilots have to go to one of the current E175 bases, that maybe could affect your ability to get a particular base or a line, but if they make some of the current Q400 bases E175 bases, you might not notice much difference.

Kyle

1 Like

Cameron,

This isn’t the first time that QX has been down this path. It happened before when QX operated the Q and the CRJ.

There are many questions still left unanswered by management. This announcement was just made today I believe and it has many wondering what the plan is for the Q bases and routes.

To answer your question, you will probably experience a little bit of both. There will be Q pilots that will transition over to the ERJ, but there is also a large number of pilots that are moving on to other airlines.

The movement in the industry is happening everywhere. Horizon isn’t the only airline that is being affected by the current wave of hiring. So, I think it is safe to say that no matter where you are every regional is experiencing some sort of a staffing challenge.

All I know at the moment is that QX currently has 30 ERJs. They have 9 firm orders to be delivered end of 2023 and 5 more by 2025. That is still a significant reduction compared to the current fleet size of 62, but management is claiming that this decision was made to “better position the company for the future.”

My personal opinion, QX management has to be careful about the amount of information that is shared which is frustrating for everyone waiting to find out if their lives are about to become more complicated. I would expect to see more announcements in the near future after everyone has had time to cool down after today’s announcement.

I still think that you are in a good position. Horizon is still very much an important component to Alaska’s operation. Horizon’s fleet will shrink for now, but their pilot pool is shrinking as well. So from a consolidation perspective I understand the need to do this.

Alaska on the other hand from what I hear is doing very well financially and has plans of expanding their fleet so you should still hang on to your faith in Air Group as a whole.

Tory

2 Likes

Tory,

A SKW guy mentioned Horizon has some 175s leased from OO. Do you know if that’s true?
If so I could see them leasing more from OO to increase the 175 fleet.
OO makes money off the lease & helps deals with their own staffing issues along with CRJ EAS route battle.

Interesting times,
Chris

I’ve never heard of that and I doubt it. SkyWest buys a different cabin configuration than Horizon does.

I’m not an expert on how leasing works, but also I am not sure they use the same FMC software. Plus, QX is RNP 0.1 and CAT III capable and has an increased MTOW of 89000lbs. With that I find it hard to believe that a lease would even work?

I do know, However, that a few 175s that QX was supposed to get went to OO instead, but I have never heard of OO leasing 175s to QX.

If you’ve ever flown an ERJ at OO with two galleys, you know you’re on one that QX ordered.

Tory

Thanks Tory,

Ok, I just looked through OO earnings report and no 175 leases. They do lease almost 40 CRJs though. Mostly to GoJet in the 550 configuration.

Chris F

1 Like

Is it possible that OO leased CRJs to QX in the past?

I’m not sure without digging into past reports, and gotta study for Spirit Gate check tomorrow haha.

If OO is confident they will make money, they’ll do it. I know they reconfigured planes to lease to GoJet. They also lease engines.

OO even relaxed contract payment obligations during Covid to Majors and lease deals. My understanding is they could of pulled the rug out from GoJet & crippled them but didn’t.

Chris F

Good luck tomorrow! :facepunch:t2:

Hey Tory wanted to update that training at horizon is going well! Almost finished with atp course and although hiring has slowed there is movement from below on the seniority list with new hires which is great. Few more months of training and I’ll be all set on the line!

1 Like

Good news, Cameron!

Enjoy and trust the process. New hire training can feel overwhelming at times. Horizon has an outstanding training department though. Ask questions and get set up with a Mentor if you haven’t already.

Thanks for checking in!

Tory

1 Like