Alaska Airlines is exercising an option to add 12 Boeing 737 MAX 9 planes to its fleet to be added in 2023 and 2024. This brings the total of new 737 orders by Alaska to 93 aircraft.
Alaska announced a restructured agreement with Boeing in December of 2020 to acquire 68 737 MAX 9 aircraft between 2021 to 2024, with options for another 52 deliveries between 2023 and 2026.
This year, the airline has exercised 25 of the options, including 13 planes in May. As part of this transaction, Alaska will add 25 options to backfill the ones that have been exercised.
"We are excited to accelerate Alaska's growth, building on our solid financial foundation that enabled us to weather the pandemic," said Nat Pieper, Alaska Airlines senior vice president of fleet, finance and alliances. "These aircraft are a prudent, long-term investment in our business that we can make while simultaneously maintaining our strong balance sheet."
"Boeing continues to be a terrific partner for Alaska. We began flying our first 737-9s this past spring, and we're extremely pleased with the operational, financial and environmental performance of the aircraft," said Pieper. "The planes are exceeding our expectations – from how quiet the engines run to the greater range they provide – and our guests love them."
Alaska's 737-9s are configured to carry 178 guests with 16 First Class seats and 24 Premium Class seats, which provide the most premium legroom of any other U.S. airline.
Alaska Only Referred to the New Planes as '737-9' Aircraft, Not 'MAX'
Interestingly, Alaska has omitted references to 'MAX' in its press release. One has to assume that the carrier (and possibly Boeing) is distancing itself from that designation because of the 2 crashes involving the MAX and several other mechanical woes that have dogged the jet.
[Source (in part): Alaska Airlines]