Alaska Airlines Will Take A 737 MAX Canceled By Samoa Airways

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.

Alaska Airlines Will Take A 737 MAX Canceled By Samoa Airways
Samoa Airways will not fly the MAX it ordered in 2019. The plane will instead go to the US and Alaska Airlines. Photo: Samoa Airways

Speedy reconsideration

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.

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.

Alaska MAX
Alaska is set to become one of the largest 737 MAX operators with an order for 93 of the jets. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

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.

Polynesian Airlines 737
Samoa Airways used to be known as Polynesian Airlines and operated two 737-300s. Photo: Aero Icarus via Flickr

Samoa Airways

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.