Alaska Airlines’ regional affiliate Horizon Air has ordered 30 new Embraer E175 jets, parent company Alaska Air Group announced Tuesday.
Horizon billed the order as the largest in the company’s history. The order – which includes options for 33 additional E175s –would be valued at $2.8 billion at list prices, though airlines typically receive significant discounts on such large-scale deals.
The deal by Alaska Air Group follows last week's news that the company intends to buy San Francisco-based Virgin America.
The new E175s will complement Horizon's current fleet of 52 Bombardier Q400 turboprops.
The company said its new E175s – set to begin arriving in 2017 – will allow Alaska Air’s Horizon unit “to fly ‘long, thin routes’ – destinations that are too distant for a turboprop, but currently don't have enough customer demand to fill a mainline jet.”
Horizon’s E175s will seat 76 passengers, including 12 seats in first-class and 64 in coach. Of the coach seats, 16 will be Alaska Air’s new extra-legroom “Premium Class” seats the company announced in late 2015.
“The E175s position Horizon for growth beyond our current West Coast destinations while providing better customer utility in the growing Alaska Airlines network,” Horizon Air President David Campbell says in a statement. “The spacious E175 offers a passenger experience, that’s on par with much larger jets. This aircraft opens up tremendous new opportunities to fly to new places that would not have been feasible with our existing aircraft.”
Horizon Air added its new E175s will debut in the spring of 2017 “on select longer routes originating from the Pacific Northwest. Over time, the jets will replace 15 of the airline’s leased Q400s, due for return in 2018.”
Still, Horizon Air said it intends to operate both the E175 and the Q400 “for the foreseeable future.” Alaska Air’s website projects Horizon’s Q400 fleet to drop from 52 currently to 37 by the end of 2018.
There already are some E175s already flying in Alaska Air’s route network. Regional carrier SkyWest uses the jet to fly feeder flights for Alaska Airlines from about 16 destinations.