Horizon Air says it can no longer fly to Colorado Springs from Seattle because it doesn’t have enough pilots. The airline, cancelled 6 percent of its flights in June because of its pilot shortage but this might be the first time a route has been abandoned because of it. Horizon says it faces a pilot shortage for at least another year, according to a news release from the Colorado Springs Airport.The release quoted airline officials as saying shortages “are expected to continue for some time.”
Meanwhile, while Horizon is a subsidiary of Alaska, the parent company is shifting some of its regional capacity to Skywest Airlines and essentially allowing the independent regional carrier to compete with its own company. Skywest flies 20 new Embraer E175 jets for Alaska and while Horizon has ordered 30 similar aircraft, it only has two in the air and recently deferred delivery of six of the Brazilian airliners. Horizon flies mainly well-used Bombardier Q400 turboprops. Skywest has ordered five more E175s to use on Alaska routes and Horizon’s pilot union filed a lawsuit disputing Horizon’s deferral of its E175 delivery.