Alaska Airlines confirmed on Wednesday that it would exercise options to purchase 52 Boeing 737MAX aircraft and has secured rights to buy as many as 105 more 737MAX jets within the next eight years.
The Seattle-based carrier said the deal represented the largest ever aircraft order in the airline’s 90-year history.
The bulk of the confirmed order will be Boeing’s stretched 737MAX-10 jet which has a capacity for 204 passengers in a standard two-class configuration that Alaska is likely to adopt.
The airline has committed to taking delivery of 42 of the MAX-10’s, as well as 10 of the slightly shorter MAX-9’s which Alaska configures to seat 178 passengers. The wider order also includes Boeing’s MAX-8 aircraft.
Alaska Airlines said that it hopes to take delivery of 43 new MAX aircraft between now and the end of 2023, at which point the airline will be operating a fleet of 78 MAX jets.
At the same time, Alaska will retire the last of its Airbus A320 series that it acquired with the acquisition of Virgin America, becoming an all Boeing operator within its mainline fleet once again.
“This investment secures aircraft to optimize our growth through the next decade, which we know will be a formidable competitive advantage,” commented chief executive Ben Minicucci on Wednesday.
During 2023, Alaska Airlines plans to take delivery of a new MAX jet approximately every 10 days.
Boeing claims its range of fuel-efficient MAX aircraft reduces emissions by as much as 20 per cent compared to older models of the 737. For passengers, the aircraft feature larger overhead bins, mood lighting, revamped interiors and power outlets at every seat.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.