Alaska Airlines has upped its Boeing 737 MAX order for up to 120 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. The airline today revealed that it would be taking 23 more 737-9s. The 120 aircraft is made up of firm orders and options and builds on another order placed last month.
The Boeing 737 MAX was finally ungrounded in November following a 20-month long program of recertification. Ryanair wasted no time in ordering a further 75 737 MAX aircraft earlier this month. Before its ungrounding, the 737 MAX had received just two orders since the start of 2020.
120 orders and options
With today’s order, Alaska Airlines now has a total of 120 orders and options for the Boeing 737-9. The airline initially placed a firm order for 32 of the type back in October 2012. Last month, the airline signed a separate lease agreement for 13 more aircraft with U.S lessor Air Lease Corp. As part of the agreement for 13 new MAXs with ALC, the airline agreed to sell 10 Airbus A320 aircraft to the lessor.
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Today’s order for 23 more aircraft means that the airline is now expecting 68 Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft. Alongside the October 2012 order, the airline placed options for 37 aircraft. Today another 15 options were added. With 52 total options, Alaska Airlines could operate up to 120 737 MAX aircraft. The order comes as the carrier looks to transition to an all Boeing carrier.
Commenting on the order, Brad Tilden, CEO of Alaska Air Group, shared the following in an announcement today:
“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.”
Boeing sticks by the 737 MAX name
There has been some speculation as to whether Boeing would be ditching the MAX name following its association with two fatal crashes and the aircraft’s grounding. Throughout the aircraft’s grounding, new builds were occasionally spotted without the MAX name. US President Donald Trump even suggested renaming the aircraft.
However, while announcing Ryanair’s order earlier this month, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun said that the aircraft would not be renamed. This became apparent in today’s press release from Boeing, where the MAX name was used throughout.
The MAX returns to service
Airlines around the world have gradually been returning the 737 MAX to service. First was GOL in Brazil, followed by Aeromexico. COPA has been flying its 737 MAX aircraft without passengers, indicating that it could soon resume Panama flights. American Airlines is set to resume flights in a week. When Alaska Airlines receives its first 737 MAX, it will be able to fly it, as the FAA was the first to unground the type.
What do you make of Alaska Airline’s renewed commitment to the 737 MAX? Let us know what you think and why in the comments.