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Alaska airlines phasing out A320 and Dash 8-400

Alaska airlines announced in an earnings call that it would be retiring it’s A320 series and Q400 aircraft. After the successful acquisiton of Virgin America by Alaska airlines the carrier was left with a mixed fleet. Alaska was previously an all Boeing 737 operator… ( More...

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DAL521 8
Sad about the Q400 😥

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

21voyageur 6
Straight forward business decision with the typical list of identified advantages. This will have been in their strat plan from the time of Virgin acquisition. IMHO, not so sure the dash-400 for Jungle-jet swap is as straightforward as the 737 for A320 one.
linbb 9
Reason for the deal is and was done for them by a good friend of mine that worked there many years ago. The best way to run an airline is to stick with one brand of aircraft makes maintaining on them much easier to do and costs less. So this was all in the mix when Alaska did the deal.
21voyageur 7
Yup. Surprised it took this long. Perhaps the cost to cancel leases was greater than maintaining 2 fleets.

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21voyageur 4
If that piece of shit makes stockholders happy, then unfortunately the answer is yes.
sparkie624 5
I can understand that... Both are old planes... I also know that the dash 8-400 has some wing spar cracking issues that get worse with time and a lot of carriers have already dropped this plane due to the maintenance cost for the repair.
linbb 4
No didnt want a mix of brands one brand of AC works much better. Study was done years ago at there request by a friend of mime who worked for them.
21voyageur 3
Interesting. Care to mention a few?
So What airports will Alaska Air leave because they can not land or take off from those airports. I got to believe the Dash 8-400 can get in and out of a lot of airfields that the E175 or 737 Max can not.
sparkie624 6
That was my thinking as well... Turbo Props have a distinct advantage of RJ's of any manufacture The Dash's and Saab's had a niche market... Biggest reason there are none is because very few are manufacturing them and many do not like the ride that props produce. I would love to see a Dash8-500 that was short like the 100's but power of the 300's... Like the 200's used to be... 200's could get in and out of anywhere in any weather and had the power to do it... I have worked on a few 200's. They are nice, but old... New a new one that has Strong Engines and a full glass panel and cabin modernized.
21voyageur 4
May not be relevant if the decision to get rid of the -400 does not apply to Horizon Air which handles most of its local/small market traffic.
Randy Barron 4
From the article: "Horizon Air who operates Alaska’s regional brand Alaska Horizon also announced it would be retiring its DeHavilland Canada Dash 8-400 (formerly the Bombardier Q400), it will be replaced by the Embraer E175. The E175 offers many advantages over the Dash 8, both for passengers and the airline. It offers wifi, larger seats and a quieter cabin; for the airline it has a larger capacity, is faster, has more range and offers more operational flexibility."
21voyageur 3
Thanks for the clarification. Well it then looks like no more turboprops as SkyWest, Alaska's other partner, is also a jungle equipped partner to Alaska
Derek Vaughn 4
The A321neos will be picked up quickly.
21voyageur 3
for sure considering they are in hot demand. But do they own them or are they (320s and 321neos) being returned to a leasing company?
For sure! A very hot commodity globally A321s. Airbus couldn't make them fast enough.
Alan Dahl 1
There is some confusion on this point, the linked article says the 321s will be retired in 2023 while it's been stated elsewhere that Alaska will hang onto them until the lease expires in 2030.
Tim Dyck 6
I hope the new planes can handle the bad weather like the Dash 8-400s did. Conditions in Alaska are differant then conditions in Florida.
Dan Pempel 9
Alaska Airlines doesn't operate Dash 8s in Alaska. It only flies to the larger cities with runways capable of handling 737s. The only Horizon flights in Alaska are on E175s and are between Anchorage and Fairbanks. The smaller Bush airports are serviced by other airlines.
21voyageur 7
I believe the vast majority of their flights these days do not involve Alaska. Name is from the time of birth.
Alan Dahl 2
True they fly more outside the state of Alaska than inside but they still serve around 20 destinations in Alaska or about 1/6th of their total cities served. But given that their main hubs are in Seattle and Portland and their HQ is in Seattle the name "Alaska" doesn't really represent them as accurately as it once did.
Squaker 2
The move to a single fleet has always been in the Air Group strategy. It reduces costs across the board: parts, certifications, all levels of maintenance, training, sims, the aircraft themselves, etc.) and simplifies the operation.

The VX decision is one that will bogle my mind. The Airbus fleet is only a part of an overall decision to wipe out something that Alaska inherently didn't have in their portfolio: an airline that was relatable to everyone outside the PNW. It also handed them California on very expense silver platter. They thought they knew better than VX in every aspect and systemically started disassembling. Alaska could have surely had a similar vibe with Boeing. If I remember correctly, they started putting music and mood lighting on the 737s after the acquisition.

The irony of that decision is that Air Group already has a separate fleet with a different name and employees: Horizon. While you could make the argument that Horizon is different because they fly regionally and not mainline, it's a blurry line. Either way, customers don't know the difference, they are want to get to their destination.
alex hidveghy 3
I just have to wonder if Richard Branson has sellers remorse?
VX was a good airline, very different than mainline and was doing reasonably well. I used to work for them once and wonder where I’d be now if I stayed the course and how that would have affected my seniority and career.

So glad to have gotten out of the airline game and obtained a very secure, alternative aviation career with a guaranteed pension and job security!

I remember once being told furloughs and chap. 11 and ceasing operations builds character! If that were even true, how come it’s always for the plebs only and not the senior management with their golden parachutes?
Alan Perry 5
Domestic carriers are not allowed to be owned by foreign citizens. Branson had no say in it and has been very critical of pretty much every move Alaska has made with regards to Virgin America.
alex hidveghy 1
Let me enlighten you a bit since I worked for that airline from the start and also know the rules, OK?
You are correct in your first sentence but that is all.

First off, how do you think he ever got this off the ground after years of trying? It was his brand just as much as the many other Virgin companies. Any idea how many there are globally? You’d be surprised. The way he got around that was by having an all-American management team but a percentage stake in the company(I forget the exact amount) but he certainly put in quite a bit of cash to get it off the ground. When you do that, you also expect some kind of ROI after a period. All investors do.

Later, after I left, he sold his stake and that’s when AS leapt in. If he had not sold, we would not be having this conversation.

I hope that clarifies the situation on why he was able to make the statements he did, he was part owner! Hence sellers remorse……
Chris Bell 2
I’m going to miss flying on the Q400. I really enjoy my semi-regular flights between SEA and BOI. I won’t miss having to walk from the Terminal at SEA across the tarmac in the pouring rain to board though.
Michael Dendo 2
Like the decision and moreover, I trust management as thus airline has continued to fly newer and better aircraft and they make money.
Perry Ramsey 2
Just another example (like we needed one) that the purpose of mergers and acquisitions is not to improve the business. Why would you buy out another company, then discard their assets? Where are the operating synergies if all you do is shut down the takeover target and replace it with the old company?

The purposes of M&A are:
1. Generate fees for Wall Street
2. Create confusing accounting conditions, which allow management and their Wall Street advisors make it look like the company is worth more than it is, resulting in temporary stock price bumps
3. Generate bonuses for top management
4. Create justification for larger future pay and bonuses for management
5. Squeeze the customers, by reducing options and price competition
6. Squeeze the employees, by reducing options and price competition

Operational synergies? If they ever happen it's only by accident.
Given the anger @AlaskaAir by Sir. Richard Branson am not @ all surprise with mgmt decision to continue butching VA. He, Sir Richard B regretted selling his prize possession to AlaskaAir and rightfully so!
alex hidveghy 2
Yup, should never have happened!
Now you have to retrain all those Bus drivers and give them a new type rating. Saves money, doesn’t it?
mark archacki 1
Good riddance to those noisey Q400's flying low over neighborhoods around Seattle! I actually don't mind flying on them as it's kind of an old school flight experience. No question that the Embraer e185's are a huge step up and a far better plane in every way.
Rick Uram 1
I’ve been an Alaska/Horizon customer for over 40 years. I’ve flown on Metroliners, Dornier 328, Fokker F28, and every configuration of Dash 8’s that had the Horizon name on it. I’ve also been on every DC 8, 737, and even the “groovy” Virgin 320s with the white leather seats and crazy mood lighting. All that to say that these folks got me safely from point A to point B every time. Moving to a simplified fleet makes total sense….. just ask SWA. I will say that Alaska Air today isn’t what it was 8-10 years ago. They’ve had to make tough decisions to stay competitive. My concern now is that since they have joined the One World Alliance, will they be absorbed soon by American Airlines?
alex hidveghy 1
There is a strong possibility of that! Just look at the history. America West - Reno Air - US Airways- American Airlines. All absorbed by the biggest airline in the world. It’s the name of the game in aviation in the past decade. Why not continue?
Wall Street will do well as will the CEOs. The workers, not so much, especially when you try to integrate seniority. Always winners and losers and years of acrimony. What a racket!
Peter Fuller 2
Actually, America West acquired the then-bankrupt US Airways, kept the US Airways name for the two combined airlines. Lather, rinse, repeat: later US Airways acquired the then-bankrupt American Airlines, kept the American name. If they’d kept the name of the acquiring airline through all this, American would now be named America West. These combinations were two instances of David eating Goliath, with America West management ie Doug Parker retaining control.

The present American could acquire Alaska and combine airlines, but many of the benefits of a merger can be realized by an alliance through OneWorld, or something like the American-Jet Blue Northeast Alliance, without the headaches of actually merging the two companies.
Michael Dendo 3
That would be a tragedy. American is a business model of cutting costs to TRY and be profitable while Alaska increases share and customer satisfaction. Doug Parker was a horrible CEO and his business concepts and acumen pale in comparison to Mr Bob Crandall and the current CEO at United.
Chris Hann 1
No surprise on the A320s, Alaska has always been a 737 operator and they weren't going to give those up. Doesn't make me any more likely to want to fly with them. I wonder what real value they got from the Virgin acquisition, I really don't want to fly a MAX anywhere, so their MAX order fills me with nothing positive. It's a shame really, when I lived on the west coast I had good experiences with Alaska, once I forgave them for killing a plane full of people by not maintaining their MD-83 properly. Virgin was much better though, but a Wall Street man will sell anything for a short term profit.
Could not of said it better. They, AlaskaAir have a nice livery I must admit!
Max Jones 1
One day many years ago I was working in the tower at KBUR talking to an Alaska flight on frequency. After he acknowledged his instructions an unidentified voice asked him who was on their tail. He said it was an Aleut. The unidentified voice said he looked like their Chief Pilot. Someone else quickly keyed the mic and said "He's better looking than Our Chief Pilot!"

It's been a long time since I worked any traffic and even longer since I've flown an an airplane however, I have always liked ASA. They were always professional to work with and I never had any problems with them as a passenger.
anderson james -5
I refuse to board any MAX aircraft now or in the future and am an aviation enthusiast. But then again the crash last wk of CE B738 comes mind! Yikes!


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