The 737 MAX 9 ordered by Samoa Airways in January 2019 and canceled less than three months later has found a new home. The aircraft, which has been sitting at Boeing’s Seattle facilities since then, will join the ever-growing Alaska Airlines 737 MAX fleet.
Two years ago, the state-owned flag carrier of Samoa, Samoa Airways, was meant to upgrade its offering with an all-new and shiny 737 MAX 9. The airline signed a Memorandum of Understanding with American lessor Aircraft Leasing Corporation (ALC) for the lease of the aircraft in January 2019. Had it been delivered, Samoa Airways would have been the first carrier in the South Pacific, including Australia and New Zealand, to operate the 737 MAX 9.
However, due to the 737 MAX’s grounding on the back of the second deadly crash within six months, Samoa Airways went cold on the idea of operating the type and canceled the order only two months later. Meanwhile, the orphaned jet has now found a new home. It has been spotted about by World Airline News with a partially re-painted tail – wearing a hint of Alaska Airlines’ livery.
The plane was initially meant to be delivered to Samoa Airways in March 2019 with registration number DQ-TFL. The airline had even scheduled services with the new aircraft from April that same year from Apia to Auckland, Brisbane, and Sydney. Currently, the aircraft is still registered with Boeing Capital as N235BE.
Samoa Airway’s first 737 Max 9, DQ-TFL, was doing Boeing tests today as BOE201 BFI-PAE-BFI. It’s hard to be my normal excited self today as I know all our minds are on Ethiopian 💚💛❤️. #737max9 #samoaairways #dqtfl pic.twitter.com/ZKQ5ygcbHO
— Katie Bailey (@KPAE_Spotter) March 11, 2019
Joining a larger crew
While the aircraft would have made a significant difference to petite Samoa Airways and its current fleet of three DHC-6s, its arrival may go slightly more unnoticed where Alaska is concerned. Alaska Airlines has an order for a total of 93 Boeing 737 MAX 9s. Five of these have been delivered thus far, the very first arriving in January this year.
A different 737 on its way
Meanwhile, Samoa Airways is set to receive a new-ish 737-800 instead. The 6.8-year-old aircraft is leased from BBAM and has previously been operated by Vistara and Jet Airways. Before Samoa declared its interest, the jet was meant to go to El Al but was never taken up. As reported by ch-aviation, the plane has already been delivered to the airline. However, it is yet to be registered and certified by the Samoan authorities.
Samoa Airways operates out of its hub at Faleolo International Airport of the capital of Apia on Upolu, Samoa’s second-largest island. From there, it flies to domestic interisland destination Maota, and under more usual circumstances also internationally to destinations in American Samoa, Australia, and New Zealand. The carrier is wholly state-owned and commenced life as ‘Polynesian Airlines’ in 1959.
Have you ever flown with Samoa Airways? What was your experience? Would you like to have seen it operate the MAX? Leave a comment below and let us know.