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737 Max

With 737 MAX Ungrounding, Alaska Adds More to Fleet

With 737 MAX Ungrounding, Alaska Adds More to Fleet
Joe Cortez

Now that the Boeing 737 MAX has a new airworthiness directive, Alaska Airlines is opting to add more of them to their fleet, exchanging them for the Airbus A320 family of aircraft they inherited from their merger with Virgin America. The new aircraft will join the Alaska fleet starting in the end of 2021.

Alaska Airlines is moving back towards a majority Boeing fleet, as they continue to replace their grounded Airbus A320 aircraft. In a press release, the company announced they would add 13 Boeing 737 MAX 9 airframes, while selling 10 Airbus A320s.

Set of New Boeing 737 MAX 9 to Enter Fleet Starting Winter 2021

Still surrounded by controversy among flyers, the Boeing 737 MAX was recently ungrounded by the Federal Aviation Administration with a new airworthiness directive. Although the aircraft can technically carry passengers today, the aircraft must meet new requirements before it can be introduced for commercial operations.

Only days removed from the announcement, Alaska is ready to add additional aircraft to their fleet. Striking a deal with Air Lease Corporation, Alaska will lease 13 new 737 MAX 9 airframes, while selling the company 10 of their Airbus A320 aircraft. The Airbus aircraft were part of the legacy fleet operated by Virgin America, and inherited by Alaska once the merger was complete.

The 13 leases will be in addition to the 32 MAX airframes which are currently on order with Boeing. The Seattle-based airline plans to fly the first five MAX aircraft in the summer of 2021, while the leases are expected to be delivered to Alaska by winter 2021.

While Alaska permanently parked all of the Airbus A320 family aircraft due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company will still harbor a number of idle aircraft. Once the sale is complete, Alaska will still have 39 A320 family aircraft in their possession, including 10 Airbus A321neo airframes.

With New Airworthiness Directive, Alaska Set to Fly 737 MAX by March 2021

The announcement comes as airlines across the United States are determining how they plan to re-introduce the Boeing 737 MAX to their fleets, and once again encourage customers to travel aboard the aircraft. While American Airlines is expected to be the first to operate test flights on one East Coast route, Southwest Airlines does not anticipate they will re-integrate the 737 MAX until the spring of 2021. United Airlines has not announced when they will start booking passengers aboard their fleet of aircraft.

Feature image courtesy: Alaska Airlines

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737 Max

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