Boeing and Alaska Airlines announced that the carrier is buying 23 more 737-9 aircraft based on its original order and an agreement last month to acquire new 737-9 aircraft through leasing. The new agreement brings Alaska Airlines’ total of 737 MAX orders and options to 120 aircraft, which will give the fifth-largest U.S. carrier the scope, efficiency and flexibility to expand when flights recover.
“We are very proud to announce this transformative agreement with Boeing,” said Brad Tilden, CEO of Alaska Air Group. “We believe in this aircraft, 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 out of this pandemic.”
Alaska Airlines, a longtime Boeing 737 operator, ordered 32,737-9 jets in 2012 as part of its fleet modernization program. The 737-9 is a member of the 737 MAX family designed to offer more fuel efficiency, reliability and flexibility in the single-seater aircraft market. Last month, Alaska Airlines announced it was expanding its commitment to the 737 MAX program by leasing 13 new 737-9s while selling some A320 jets it had acquired through its acquisition of Virgin America.
The new deal, announced today, adds 23 firm orders of 737-9 and more options for future purchases. In all, Alaska will have 52 options which, if fully exercised, would lead the carrier to as many as 120,737 MAX aircraft. The carrier said the deal moves it toward a more efficient, all-Boeing mainline fleet that “improves the guest experience, improves operational performance and supports the company’s growth.”
“We could not ask for a better partner than Boeing and we are happy to stand side by side with them as we work together to get our finances back on track,” said Tilden.
Alaska Airlines and Boeing executives announced the deal during a signing ceremony at Boeing’s Seattle delivery facility flanked by a new 737-9 that will be among the first such jets operated by Alaska Airlines. Adhering to COVID-19 restrictions, both companies limited the presence of the event and addressed the pandemic that has severely affected air travel, expressing confidence in the industry’s core strength and long-term passenger demand.
“Alaska Airlines has done an enormous amount of work to counter the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and is well positioned to return to its growth trajectory and strengthen its status as one of the largest US airlines. With Alaska’s industry-leading reputation for safety, sustainability and customer service, we are honored to have chosen to invest in their future with a significant acquisition of additional Boeing 737 aircraft, ”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 to ensure safe and trouble-free commissioning. ”
Alaska Airlines says the 737 – equipped with new, more fuel-efficient engines and improved aerodynamics – will use 20% less fuel and reduce emissions by 20% per second. Seat compared to aircraft it replaces. The airline configures the 178-seat beam in a three-class configuration. The aircraft can fly 3,550 nautical miles, about 600 miles more than its predecessor. This extra capacity allows airlines to offer new and more direct routes to passengers. Each aircraft features the new Boeing Sky Interior, highlighted by modern sculptural sidewalls and window covers, LED lighting that enhances the feeling of spaciousness and larger swivel overhead storage trays.