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737 Max

Alaska Increases 737 MAX Bet, Increasing Order to 68 Airframes

Alaska Increases 737 MAX Bet, Increasing Order to 68 Airframes
Joe Cortez

As Alaska Airlines works to permanently retire their inherited Airbus fleet, the Seattle-based carrier is adding even more 737 MAX airframes. The company announced a firm order of 68 737 MAX-9 aircraft, with options for another 52.

Alaska Airlines is putting more faith into the troubled Boeing 737 MAX by adding an additional 23 aircraft to their current order with Boeing. In a press release, the Seattle-based airline announced their total order for 737 MAX-9 airframes will grow to 68, while increasing their options to 52.

Alaska Airlines CEO: “We Believe in this Airplane”

Under the new agreement with The Boeing Company, Alaska will take delivery of 13 737 MAX-9 aircraft in 2021, 30 in 2022 and 25 between 2023 and 2024. Including their announcement to lease 13 MAXs in November 2020, the airline now has a total of 68 orders, with options for 52 more to be delivered between 2023 and 2026.

“We believe in this airplane, we believe in our strong partnership with Boeing, and we believe in the future of Alaska Airlines and the incredible opportunities ahead as we climb our way out of this pandemic,” Alaska Air Group chief executive Brad Tilden said in a press release. “We could not ask for a better partner than Boeing and we are delighted to be standing side by side with them as we work together to get our economy back on its feet.”

Moreover, the airline says the new orders and deliveries allow them to get ahead of the aviation industry recovery in 2021 and beyond. Adding the aircraft orders will allow both Alaska and Boeing to add jobs and “fuel economic growth” in the days to come.

As part of the plan, Alaska will end 61 short-term leases for Airbus A320-family aircraft they assumed in their merger with Virgin America. Taking parting shots at the French manufacturer’s narrowbody aircraft, Alaska said the 737 MAX-9 “has more seats, better fuel efficiency, lower emissions and lower maintenance costs” compared to the A320s. By the summer of 2023, the airline plans to only hold onto 10 A321neo aircraft.

Questions and Hesitance Remains with Boeing 737 MAX

Although both Alaska and Boeing are celebrating the order as a victory, airlines are still being careful about re-introducing the troubled aircraft into their fleets. American Airlines will start flying passengers aboard the aircraft at the end of 2020 for evaluation purposes.

Furthermore, consumer advocacy groups still want more information about the re-certification of the 737 MAX. FlyersRights.org is taking the Federal Aviation Administration to court over a Freedom of Information Act request for documentation on the process.

Feature image courtesy: Alaska Airlines

View Comments (4)

4 Comments

  1. JonMST

    December 24, 2020 at 10:18 am

    Yikes, the MAX engine locations are an issue with the wings. Need an entirely new aircraft type certification and safety tests.

    Will not be flying Alaska Airlines anymore.

  2. edgewood49

    December 24, 2020 at 1:44 pm

    JonMST I am sure that AS will miss you I know we FF’s on AS will.

    Merry Christmas

  3. yoyash

    December 31, 2020 at 9:30 am

    Since I live in Hawaii, my option of flying to mainland is very limited. Alaska is the one I use most, but not anymore.

  4. AsiaTravel2019

    December 31, 2020 at 8:37 pm

    Safest airplane in the sky. There have been more tests, certifications, re-designs and fixes for the MCAS system on the Max. I can see more airlines buying Maxes and the future of the plane is bright.

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