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An Alaska Airlines E-175 operated by Horizon Air at Paine Field. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Katie Bailey)

Embraer ERJ-175 Makes Long Awaited Appearance in Alaska

While many disappointing fleet announcements have been issued during the COVID-19 epidemic, the people of Alaska finally get some good news. The state’s namesake airline has decided to introduce the Embraer ERJ-175 to the state’s route map. Services will be operated by regional arm Horizon Air.

Horizon Air’s fleet of Embraer ERJ-175 stands at 30 aircraft strong and configured in a 12 first class, 12 premium economy and 52 economy seat main cabin. All aircraft include wifi and Alaska Beyond Entertainment, the airline’s mobile streaming service, for passengers.

Horizon is not new to Alaska nor operating the jet. Deliveries to the regional branch began in 2017 and have been instrumental in the carrier’s expansions into the Midwest as well as linking the west coast, specifically the launch of the Everett focus city. Horizon has also served Alaska using Bombardier Dash 8 propeller planes and previously used the now discarded Bombardier CRJ-700s in the 49th state. The ERJ-175 will mark the first Horizon Air with first-class seats with the previous models having all-economy configurations.

“Alaskans who have flown the E175 jet in the Lower 48 have frequently asked when they might see the plane in the state, and we’re thrilled the time has come,” said Marilyn Romano, regional vice president.

Alaskans can expect the aircraft to remain in Anchorage with flights to Seattle, Fairbanks and Dillingham continuing to King Salmon. The aircraft also brings in another mid-sized aircraft to the Alaskan market. The airline had retired its Boeing 737-400Combis in 2017 as the carrier moved to newer models. The result was less 737s in Alaska as regional jets become the new mainstay. However, Alaska says that this change is not permanent and that the missing 737s will likely return to Alaska when the market allows it.

Romano said that the jet adds flexibility to the return to service saying, “This jet gives us the flexibility to increase daily frequency between Anchorage and Fairbanks up to seven times a day, and to provide year-round service to King Salmon and Dillingham. In time, the new mix of aircraft will unlock other markets in the state for future service.”

“This has been an especially challenging time for Alaskans with the pandemic and reduction of air service hitting residents hard,” Romano added. “We’ve served the unique needs of the Great Land for 88 years and introducing a new aircraft to our in-state fleet supports additional flying and keeps Alaskans connected within the state and beyond.”

Inside the continental United States, the Embraer ERJ-175 has become a mainstay for the airline’s regional jet fleet. Alaska has operations on the Brazilian made jet by two operators including SkyWest and Horizon Air.

Ian McMurtry
Ian McMurtry
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