QX leaves AK

Old Mar 11, 2018, 9:47 am
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QX leaves AK

Yesterday was the last day of service for QX in AK. N452QX ferried ANC-PDX yesterday and 450 scheduled for today. Although I look forward to more reliable winter operations, I thank all of the QX employees who were in state and hope they were able to find employment with AS or QX elsewhere.
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Old Mar 11, 2018, 1:29 pm
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AS seemed to have grand plans for the Q400 in AK that just didn’t pan out. In reality about the only route it made sense for was ANC-FAI, and then the question became whether or not it was worth it to orphan three Q400’s in Alaska that were completely isolated from the rest of the network. I think we now know the answer.

I still would not be surprised, once the VX integration is complete and the QX issues (hopefully) quiet down to see the E175 take over some of the intra-Alaska flying. The 737’s are just too much capacity for some of those routes, especially in winter.

I know a lot of people won’t miss the Q400’s up there. AS received a ton of blowback, especially in FAI, when they made the switch that I don’t think they were expecting. I doubt it factored into their decision to take Horizon out of the state, but the return of the jets was definitely welcomed.
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Old Mar 11, 2018, 1:33 pm
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I'm not sure if we'll see the E175's up here or not, as their cold weather performance is sub par IIRC. And that was a primary issue with the Q400 as well. Size wise, they are better suited. Also cargo is restricted on these aircraft compared to 737's.
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Old Mar 11, 2018, 2:14 pm
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Originally Posted by beckoa
I'm not sure if we'll see the E175's up here or not, as their cold weather performance is sub par IIRC. And that was a primary issue with the Q400 as well. Size wise, they are better suited. Also cargo is restricted on these aircraft compared to 737's.
As I recall, the E175 isnt certified to operate below something like -36 Fahrenheit. For that reason I doubt wed ever see it in FAI (DL ran the E175 up there for a couple winters and had to cancel whenever there was a cold snap; I think its one of the reasons they now send a A319 in the offseason) or doing any of the Arctic flying (SCC, BRW, OTZ, OME). But, I could definitely see it doing ADQ and the smaller towns in SE (CDV, YAK, PSG, WRG), and maybe even BET. The other benefit is it has the range and comfort level to easily do SEA-ANC, which would make rotations through the system easier.

Time will tell, but something tells me the current 73G/73H strategy on all of the intra-Alaska stuff is a stopgap.
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Old Mar 11, 2018, 2:31 pm
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Old Mar 11, 2018, 4:28 pm
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QX 9990 showing 5h39m ANC-PDX. That is a long time in a Q400. Wonder if they somehow add aux fuel tanks?
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Old Mar 11, 2018, 4:57 pm
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Originally Posted by Chugach
As I recall, the E175 isnt certified to operate below something like -36 Fahrenheit.
Dumb question: does that only apply to ground operations? I assume it's cold up there at 36k ft
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Old Mar 11, 2018, 7:42 pm
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Originally Posted by beaver
QX 9990 showing 5h39m ANC-PDX. That is a long time in a Q400. Wonder if they somehow add aux fuel tanks?
They're not doing it with a fuel load of passengers and cargo.

Surely it would be easier to stop in Juneau and/or Vancouver vs. adding aux tanks.
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Old Mar 11, 2018, 8:21 pm
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Originally Posted by beaver
QX 9990 showing 5h39m ANC-PDX. That is a long time in a Q400. Wonder if they somehow add aux fuel tanks?
No passengers or cargo, and usually a tailwind flying south.
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Old Mar 11, 2018, 8:22 pm
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Originally Posted by notquiteaff
Dumb question: does that only apply to ground operations? I assume it's cold up there at 36k ft
I would think so. I seem to remember it being something to do with the APU.
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Old Mar 12, 2018, 12:12 pm
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My eye auto-corrected "AK" for "AS" which as you imagine gave me a jolt in my seat. E175 routinely operate out of MN. So now I am curious as to the reason for not going up to AK.
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Old Mar 12, 2018, 12:34 pm
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Originally Posted by agurg
My eye auto-corrected "AK" for "AS" which as you imagine gave me a jolt in my seat. E175 routinely operate out of MN. So now I am curious as to the reason for not going up to AK.
Per above post, E175s are not certified to operate below -36. It's almost never that cold in Minneapolis so it's probably not really an issue there. Whereas in Fairbanks, at least historically, that's not a very unusual temperature in winter. May be less of an issue going forward given how quickly the climate is changing up there.
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Old Mar 12, 2018, 1:38 pm
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Originally Posted by agurg
My eye auto-corrected "AK" for "AS" which as you imagine gave me a jolt in my seat. E175 routinely operate out of MN. So now I am curious as to the reason for not going up to AK.
Minneapolis is more on par with Anchorage in winter than Fairbanks.

My post (pure conjecture, by the way) suggested we might see the E175 in the more temperate parts of Alaska due to operational issues in extreme cold.
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Old Mar 12, 2018, 3:14 pm
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Originally Posted by agurg
My eye auto-corrected "AK" for "AS" which as you imagine gave me a jolt in my seat. E175 routinely operate out of MN. So now I am curious as to the reason for not going up to AK.
Fairbanks is much colder than MN. MN can get very low wind chills, but wind chill doesn't matter to the airplane. -36 ambient temperatures can occur in MN, but they are very rare. In normal winters FAI can have almost whole months where the temperature gets that cold.

There is no problem operating in ANC or JNU.

During cold snaps E175 flights are canceled in YYC and YEG too, but this happens much less frequently than FAI.
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