Alaska Airlines Places Huge Boeing 737 MAX Order

Alaska Airlines Places Huge Boeing 737 MAX Order

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Alaska Airlines has today announced a Boeing 737 MAX order, which is being labeled as the carrier’s biggest-ever aircraft order. This will also see the company become an all-Boeing airline by the end of 2023.

Alaska orders 52 Boeing 737 MAXs

Alaska Airlines is exercising options to purchase 52 additional Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, which will be delivered between 2024 and 2027. This grows the carrier’s confirmed 737 MAX fleet from 94 to 146 jets.

On top of that, Alaska has secured rights for 105 additional Boeing 737 MAXs through 2030, intended to ensure the airline has access to sufficient aircraft for fleet replacement and growth. With this, Alaska has access to a fleet of more than 250 Boeing 737 MAXs.

This agreement represents the largest commitment for future aircraft in the carrier’s history. For context, Alaska Airlines has an all-Boeing 737 mainline fleet. The airline primarily flies the non-MAX versions of the jet, but is increasing the size of its Boeing 737 MAX fleet. The 737 MAX is significantly more fuel efficient and longer range than the previous generation 737.

Alaska already has a fleet of 35 Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft, and over time the airline will take delivery of the 737 MAX 8, 737 MAX 9, and 737 MAX 10. Alaska has quite a bit of flexibility to switch around models for the 737 MAX options.

Here’s how Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci describes this order:

This investment secures aircraft to optimize our growth through the next decade, which we know will be a formidable competitive advantage. We’re proud of the strong financial foundation that uniquely positions Alaska to make this commitment to our future, and of the fantastic partnership we share with our hometown aircraft manufacturer at Boeing.”

Alaska Airlines has increased its Boeing 737 MAX order

Alaska will retire Airbus jets by end of 2023

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but Alaska Airlines intends to retire its entire Airbus fleet by the end of 2023, once again making Alaska an all-Boeing airline. This comes as Alaska Airlines plans to take delivery of another 43 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft between now and the end of 2023.

It’s not surprising that Alaska has historically been an all-Boeing airline, given that the company is based in Seattle. However, when Alaska Airlines acquired Virgin America in 2018, the airline also inherited Virgin America’s all-Airbus fleet.

The airline has progressively been retiring former Virgin America plans. As it stands, Alaska flies 30 Airbus A320s and 10 Airbus A321neos. These are all expected to be retired by the end of 2023, in the name of having a more streamlined fleet.

Alaska Airlines is retiring its A320 fleet by 2023

Bottom line

Alaska Airlines has placed its single biggest aircraft order in history, as the airline has committed to a firm order for 52 additional Boeing 737 MAXs, plus options for an additional 105 aircraft through 2030. By the end of 2023, Alaska will be an all-Boeing airline, and the carrier could be flying over 250 Boeing 737 MAXs by 2030.

What do you make of Alaska Airlines’ Boeing 737 MAX order?

Conversations (17)
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  1. Billy Ladd Guest

    I won't be flying Alaska with 737 MAXs

  2. Anthony Joseph Guest

    A little "short sighted" given the commitment to have only single aisle fleet for the next 10 years. Given that Hawaii is a very big destination and also the desire of Alaska to focus more on flights more than 3 hours including transcontinental, it would make more sense for them to bring in 2-aisle plane and provide a first class service to match the ridiculous fares they charge for standard recliner seats. What a waste...

    A little "short sighted" given the commitment to have only single aisle fleet for the next 10 years. Given that Hawaii is a very big destination and also the desire of Alaska to focus more on flights more than 3 hours including transcontinental, it would make more sense for them to bring in 2-aisle plane and provide a first class service to match the ridiculous fares they charge for standard recliner seats. What a waste that they squandered everything they could have learned from Virgin America on service and execution.

  3. Michael Guest

    Put the TV screens back on the seats! Much appreciated.

  4. Aviator Guest

    Just flew AS 1st class to/from Portland/JFK and it was very disappointing. The JFK lounge is a beaten up old thing and the food choices were horrible. Ditto on the Portland end--the lounge has not been refurbished in years and years, and the staff had zero interest in cleaning anything. The flight was good, but again the food and service were not 1st class quality.

  5. Mike Guest

    Until the 737 "Max" is deemed safe, by time, I will fly another airline.

  6. Darren C Diamond

    AS needs planes that can fly nonstop from IAH to Alaska so oil and gas company employees don't have to connect through SEA or PHX.

    I rotate among AA, AS, and UA from IAH to ANC and FAI. The AA A321neo is better than any 737.

    Agreed, that AS F is really premium economy on most other airlines.

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      Even 737NGs can fly IAH-ANC. It's not that they can't make the route, it's that whatever demand there is for a nonstop is cornered by UA, so AS retains higher yield by using a 1stop in its SEA hub.

  7. Robh Guest

    this decision is probably wise for them as i would imagine if they keep to just one brand of airplane and even just one model and its variants, then it would seem all their pilots would be able to fly any airplane in their fleet. since that 737 will be available with different variants, it seems they are making a good choice with that 737 max. from a customers point of view, and from a...

    this decision is probably wise for them as i would imagine if they keep to just one brand of airplane and even just one model and its variants, then it would seem all their pilots would be able to fly any airplane in their fleet. since that 737 will be available with different variants, it seems they are making a good choice with that 737 max. from a customers point of view, and from a person who hates to fly, i prefer that 737 as boarding and deplaning is faster than on one of the more huge planes. ditto for waiting for baggage. If the plane is a huge plane, it normally takes a lot longer to get all those bags off the larger plane. seems like Alaska is following what Southwest is doing by only using 737 planes. And for the most part, Southwest in another carrier that appears to be well run and not universally hated by the traveling public. Alaska also has live people answer the phone if you need to call them!! Incredible. If all else is the same, i chose Alaska airline if have to travel.

  8. Christopher Bryant Guest

    I don't know why they don't upgrade to AB A200-300. Seems like they'd get more bang for the buck

  9. PL Guest

    I love AS but their 1st Class does feel a bit less than truly First Class. The service provided by the flight attendants is the best in the business, but those seats should all have retractable footrests and a wee bit more "oomph" to them considering the price we pay for relatively short hops.

    1. Azamaraal Diamond

      Their "first class" is premium economy on any other international airline (or AC for that matter).

      Made a mistake one time by upgrading a flight from PVR-YVR using Avios. Quoted initially as a one class upgrade (appropriate for Y-J) but was then switched to two class (Y-C) as the front of the airplane was actually called "Real First Class" by BA. Screwed when we actually flew the flight!

  10. Willem Guest

    The 10 A321neos are the best aircraft in their fleet, and primarily staff the "Prestige Routes" to JFK from SEA, PDX and SFO. They'll definitely be missed by me

    (If only they could put flat beds on their 737 MAX aircraft...)

    1. eponymous coward Guest

      For most of their route network, flat beds would be a bad joke in terms of the revenue premium they would earn vs. the costs they would incur (weight penalty, repairs). Who on earth needs a flat bed for SEA-LAX or PDX-PHX?

      Alaska's small footprint on California-NYC transcons (which are basically the only places where you can get revenue premiums, even Jet Blue doesn't run Mint on routes like SEA-FLL) means even a dedicated subfleet...

      For most of their route network, flat beds would be a bad joke in terms of the revenue premium they would earn vs. the costs they would incur (weight penalty, repairs). Who on earth needs a flat bed for SEA-LAX or PDX-PHX?

      Alaska's small footprint on California-NYC transcons (which are basically the only places where you can get revenue premiums, even Jet Blue doesn't run Mint on routes like SEA-FLL) means even a dedicated subfleet just doesn't work out financially, let alone across their entire network.

    2. S_LEE Member

      Agree. AS certainly lacks premium hard product, but they compensate it with complimentary lounge access to First Class passengers and with great service. The lounges are also better than most Admirals Club or United Club.
      They save the opertaing cost by simplifying their fleet, and invest more on ground service.

    3. Sam Guest

      B6 flys mint from SEA to BOS & JFK once per day red eye west to east. Anecdotally, they are full or near full every time I look or fly the routes. I'm not suggesting (nor will) AS install 1x1 lie flats but there certainly is a market, even without MS, Amazon, SBux, Boeing, ext. at full biz travel.

  11. Sharon Guest

    Alaska is a well-managed airline. Operationally, they are very reliable and have proven to be the most profitable airline since the covid pandemic recovery.

    Their management knows what they are doing and it looks like they are on a tactile plan for growth, doubling down on their core competencies.

    It is refreshing to see an airline execute well with a clear vision

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PL Guest

I love AS but their 1st Class does feel a bit less than truly First Class. The service provided by the flight attendants is the best in the business, but those seats should all have retractable footrests and a wee bit more "oomph" to them considering the price we pay for relatively short hops.

2
Michael Guest

Put the TV screens back on the seats! Much appreciated.

1
Darren C Diamond

AS needs planes that can fly nonstop from IAH to Alaska so oil and gas company employees don't have to connect through SEA or PHX. I rotate among AA, AS, and UA from IAH to ANC and FAI. The AA A321neo is better than any 737. Agreed, that AS F is really premium economy on most other airlines.

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