In a further boost for Boeing, Alaska Airlines has expanded its 737 MAX order
Seattle-based Alaska Airlines is set to acquire 23 more Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, building on its original order and an agreement last month to acquire new jets through a separate lease deal.
The deal – which was signed on December 22 – brings the carrier’s total orders and options for the type to 120.
“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.”
The agreement comes after Ryanair upped its commitment for the newly recertified jet by signing for an additional 75 aircraft at the beginning of December.
Alaska Airlines, a long-time 737 operator, placed an order for 32 737-9 jets in 2012 as part of its fleet modernisation programme. Last month, the firm announced it is expanding its commitment to the 737 MAX program by leasing 13 new 737-9s while selling some Airbus 320 jets it had taken on through its acquisition of Virgin America.
The new contract will add 23 firm orders for the 737-9 and more options for future purchases. In all, Alaska will have 52 options which, if fully exercised, would take the carrier to as many as 120 737 MAXs. The airline said the deal moves it toward a more efficient, all-Boeing mainline fleet that will “enhance the guest experience, improve operational performance and support the company's growth.”
“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 honoured they have chosen to invest in their future with a significant purchase of additional Boeing 737 airplanes," said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “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.”
Alaska Airlines and its regional partners serve more than 115 destinations across the United States and North America. Its fleet currently totals 328 aircraft, the majority of which are Boeing examples.