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Alaska steps up Airbus phase-out with new MAX orders

written by Hannah Dowling | December 23, 2020

Alaska Airlines has come to an agreement with Boeing to restructure the airline’s order to now receive a total of 68 Boeing 737-9 MAX aircraft with options for an additional 52 planes.


This restructured agreement with Boeing incorporates Alaska’s announcement last month to lease 13 737-9 aircraft.

Alaska is scheduled to receive 13 planes in 2021; 30 in 2022; 13 in 2023; and 12 in 2024. Alaska’s 52 aircraft options are for deliveries between 2023 to 2026.

The agreement with Boeing also includes mechanisms to adjust the timing of deliveries to meet economic conditions, giving the airline “substantial flexibility” to manage its fleet in step with network demand.

With the announcement, Alaska has also re-committed itself to the Boeing brand over Airbus.

The delivery schedule will work to largely replace Alaska’s Airbus fleet, as the airline moves towards reclaiming its title as an ‘all Boeing’ carrier.

Citing its attempt to manage costs and liquidity, the airline has decided to exit 61 expensive, short-term leases for its Airbus fleet, all of which were inherited during its acquisition of Virgin America.


The airline specified that compared to the A320, it feels the MAX provides better fuel efficiency, lower emissions, and lower maintenance costs.

The 737 MAX 9 will replace all A319 and A320 aircraft in Alaska’s fleet.
With this plan, Alaska will reduce its Airbus fleet to 10 A321neos by the summer of 2023.

“We are extremely proud to be announcing this transformative agreement with Boeing,” said Brad Tilden, CEO of Alaska Air Group.

“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.

“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.”

Meanwhile, Stan Deal, president and CEO Boeing Commercial Airplanes said: “Alaska Airlines has done a tremendous job of weathering the impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic and is well-positioned to return to its growth trajectory and strengthen its standing as one of the top US airlines.

“With Alaska’s industry-leading reputation for safety, sustainability, and customer service, we are honored that the airline has chosen to invest in its future with a significant purchase of additional Boeing 737 airplanes,” said Deal.

“We are grateful for Alaska’s trust and partnership. Our team is focused on delivering their first 737 MAX jets and helping ensure a safe and seamless entry into service.”

Additional reporting by Airlinerwatch.


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