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Alaska Airlines to lease new 737 MAX jets, offload Airbus A320s

written by Hannah Dowling | November 24, 2020

Alaska Air Group confirmed on Monday it will lease 13 new Boeing 737 MAX 9 planes from US aircraft lessor Air Lease Corp, less than a week after the jet was approved to re-enter commercial service.

The airline also disclosed plans to sell 10 Airbus A320s to Air Lease, which were taken over with the acquisition of Virgin America. 

The move hopes to see the carrier begin to revert back to a “proudly all Boeing” airline. Prior to any sale, the airline currently holds 68 Airbus aircraft in its fleet.

The announcement is a huge win for embattled US planemaker Boeing, just days following the official US regulatory approval it required to return the 737 MAX to the skies, following a lengthy 20-month grounding order.

Alaska Airlines expects to begin taking delivery of the 13 737 MAX jets from the fourth quarter of 2021, and on throughout 2022. 

The 13 newly leased 737 MAX aircraft will join the airline’s 32 MAX jets currently on order with Boeing.

The deal is seen as Boeing’s opening shot together with an influential lessor in a campaign to rehabilitate the 737 MAX, which was grounded for 20 months following two fatal accidents. 


The US planemaker is trying to secure eye-catching deals with other major carriers to sell the 737 MAX at heavily discounted prices to help rebuild what was once its fastest-selling product, industry sources said.

Boeing has identified Alaska Airlines as one of its key customers to back the 737 MAX jet with new purchases, along with Southwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and Ryanair.  

In an interview with the Financial Times on Sunday, Delta Air Lines chief executive Ed Bastian hinted at the possibility of purchasing 737 MAX planes in the future, another potentially massive win for Boeing.

Delta currently does not have any MAX aircraft in its fleet.

World of Aviation reported back in October that Boeing was in discussions to sell an undisclosed number of 737 MAX jets to Alaska Airlines following its return to service.

All eyes are now on Boeing to see the outcome of future sales deals, following mass order delays and cancellations, as new orders could be a well-needed lifeline for the embattled planemaker.

Boeing has been struck by both crisis and controversy, following the two fatal 737 MAX crashes and subsequent investigations and recertification efforts, coupled with its recent Dreamliner manufacturing flaws, and the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

While the US Federal Aviation Administration signed off on lifting the grounding order imposed on the MAX, its European counterpart has now delayed its decision until January, while Chinese regulators continue to stay silent on when they will return the jet to commercial service.

Additional reporting by Airlinerwatch

Alaska Airlines to lease new 737 MAX jets, offload Airbus A320s Comment

  • Rob


    It’ll be interesting to see if there’s any customer resistance to the return of the 737 MAX. It’d be a brave airline to order more
    MAX’s in this current situation.

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