Horizon Air cancels 113 flights to inspect planes
Seattle Times staff reporters
About 6,000 passengers had their travel plans disrupted today after Horizon Air canceled 113 flights, including 31 out of Seattle, to inspect 19 turboprop planes.
The inspections come on the heels of two landing-gear failures involving similar turboprop Bombardier Q400 planes in Europe, the airline said.
The regional airline maintains the inspections are a precaution and will include only aircraft with higher flight hours.
Horizon, Seattle's major regional carrier, has a fleet of 76 planes. Thirty-three are Q400s, said Horizon spokeswoman Laurie Hohisel.
The cancellations affected about 25 percent of Horizon's 480 daily flights. Major routes affected were Seattle/Portland, Seattle/Boise and Seattle/Spokane. Flights were also canceled between Seattle and Calgary, Canada; Bozeman, Mont.; and Medford and Eugene, Ore.
The airline, part of the Alaska Air Group, said it would make a decision Wednesday afternoon on cancellations for Thursday.
Hohisel said Horizon is waiting to see what type of inspections will be required, and at this time there is no schedule for when the inspections will be completed.
Meanwhile, Horizon is advising those with reservations to check the status of flights on its Web site at www.alaskaair.com or call an airline representative at 800-252-7522.
Thirteen Alaska Airline flights were added today to accommodate some passengers. The airline is offering refunds and, on some routes, seats on other carriers.
Seattle travelers have several other options for getting to and from some of the major cities where Horizon flies. United flies non-stop to Portland, Spokane and Calgary, and makes a connection through San Francisco to Boise. Delta makes a connection through Salt Lake City to Boise. Air Canada flies non-stop to Calgary.
Part of the landing gear on a Scandinavian Airlines Q400 plane collapsed on touchdown in Lithuania earlier today, according to Bombardier. Three days earlier, a landing-gear glitch involving another Scandinavian Airlines aircraft caused a crash landing in Denmark. There were no injuries in today's incident, but five were slightly injured on Sunday, the Montreal-based aircraft maker said.
Bombardier and its landing-gear manufacturer Goodrich today recommended that Q400 aircraft with more than 10,000 landing-gear cycles — one takeoff and one landing — be grounded until the landing gear is inspected.
"We realize — and greatly regret — that this proactive measure will result in inconvenience to many of our customers, as flights are canceled to allow for these unplanned inspections," Jeff Pinneo, Horizon president and CEO, said in a statement released this morning. "Safety is, of course, our foremost consideration."
A large number of international carriers also operate the Q400 on shorter routes. SAS, for example, has had to cancel at least 100 flights within Europe today, according to a report e-mailed today by Joe Brancatelli, who publishes an online newsletter for business travelers.
Horizon, a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group, serves 48 cities throughout California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and British Columbia and Alberta.
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