In the 48 hours leading up to Thanksgiving Day, Horizon Air experienced seven incidents involving the safety of its operations. According to a memo sent by vice president of flight operations Captain John Hornibrook, these issues occurred due to a lax safety culture within his airline.
A series of events
One Mile at a Time reports on the message sent out by Hornibrook to his staff. The email indicated that the VP was absolutely furious with what occurred within his company. He had listed six separate incidents that could have had a detrimental impact on its passengers and operations.
The email said that one plane exceeded its maximum operations speeds. Meanwhile, another exceeded the maximum speeds allowed with its flaps deployed. Furthermore, a plane flew into troubling turbulence near the Californian resort city of Palm Springs. Two further planes were hit by lightning in other weather-related incidents.
Additionally, pilots on one of Horizon’s aircraft experienced “stick shakers”. This is an issue that occurs when a plane is close to stalling. Finally, there was a plane that had a 4.5-ton discrepancy in weight, which only realized after the plane took off. Hornibrook was thankful as it was underweight and not the other way around.
As a former pilot at Horizon’s parent, Alaska Airlines, Hornibrook was ashamed with what his firm went through. He called on his staff to take action and to make sure that events like these don’t happen again.
“We should be very uncomfortable with what has happened over the past two days. If we sit back and do nothing, we will have an accident. Nothing good can come of the trajectory we are currently on,” he said according to the memo, as reported by One Mile at a Time.
“We do need to use the past 48 hours as a (wake-up) call before we have a more serious event. The leadership team needs to get the pilots’ heads in the game before we have an accident.”
The carrier may have been unable to cope with the Thanksgiving rush. An estimated 31.6 million passengers were expected to be flying during the season. Additionally, severe weather had been reported around the United States last week, causing major disruption to operations. Nonetheless, Hornibrook has now downplayed the seriousness of the memo.
He said that the message was merely a response to the spike in irregular events over a short period of time. Ultimately, he wanted his staff to take a pause and get back to putting safety first. Thankfully, there are no reported injuries from these events.
Simple Flying reached out to Horizon Air for comment on the incident. We will update the article with any further announcements.
What do you think of the memo that was sent out? Let us know your thoughts on the incidents in the comment section.