Boeing has extended its sales run of 737 Max jets as Alaska Air Group boosted a 68-jet order deal and announced plans to revert to a one-type fleet.
The airline will return its Airbus Aircraft of the A320 family, from which he shotbuy virgin americafour years ago, as their leases expire, Alaska CEO Brad Tilden said ahead of Tuesday’s announcement. Prior to the deal with Virgin America, the Seattle-based airline had a long history as an all-Boeing operator and corporate neighbor to the aircraft manufacturer’s factories.
Alaska order bolsters Boeing effort to sell Max despite worst aviation downturn on record and longest grounding in U.S. history, as airlines demand discounts and brace to a possible rebound in travel. With the deal, Boeing has continued to increase sales of its single-aisle jets since U.S. officials cleared the Max to resume flight last month, including a 75-jet aircraft.orderby Irishman Ryanair Holdings Plc.
“There is a huge benefit to a simple and unique fleet structure,” Tilden said Monday in a video interview, citing lower costs of ownership related to maintenance, training and other expenses.
The carrier increased its Max 9 order from a previous deal to 32 it placed in 2012. The jets will carry 178 seats, the same as Alaska’s existing fleet of 737-900 and 737-900ER jets. .
The Alaska order includes nine so-called “white tails” – the industry term for new jets without buyers – which Boeing will rework for the airline. The manufacturer is looking for new takers for around 100 of the 450 planes it has built but never delivered in the 20-month stranding. Aviation regulators grounded the Max in March 2019 following two crashes that killed 346 people.
The deal with Alaska also includes 13 of Boeing’s Max 9 jets it will lease to Air Lease, under a deal announced last month. Air Lease has agreed to purchase 10 A320 aircraft from Alaska.
Alaska will take 13 Max 9 planes next year, with the first delivery in January and commercial service starting two months later. These planes will be followed by 30 in 2022, 13 in 2023 and 12 in 2024. The company will abandon its last Airbus planes by returning six in 2024 and the last three the following year, according to a regulation.deposit.
The carrier will also have options for an additional 52 Max aircraft, with rights for both larger and smaller versions.
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