Thursday, January 4, 2024

First long-range Boeing 737-8 for Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines welcomed the company’s first Boeing 737-8 aircraft into their fleet recently.

“We proudly fly the youngest fleet of all U.S. airlines, and from 2024 through 2027, we are on track to add 15-25 new Boeing aircraft each year,” the company said in a press release Thursday. “We currently have firm orders for 80 more 737 MAX aircraft, and options and purchase rights for another 105. Our first 737-10 is scheduled for delivery in 2025.”

Referencing the addition of the 737-8, and eventually the 737-10, Alaska Airlines Senior Vice President of Fleet, Finance and Alliances Nat Pieper said the new aircraft will create “new opportunities for us to fly longer nonstop routes and maximize our revenue potential.” Pieper added, “We have achieved terrific results with the 737-9 in guest satisfaction, economics, and fuel efficiency, and we are excited for our future with the other 737 models."

In March 2022, Alaska adjusted its existing 737-9 aircraft order with Boeing to include the bigger 737-10 and longer-range 737-8.

The airline will add a new nonstop Anchorage to New York seasonal route with the 737-8, launching June 13. Anchorage to JFK (at 3,386 miles) will become the longest flight Alaska operates.

Alaska is scheduled to take delivery of seven more 737-8s in 2024, with the next four slotted to enter the fleet in March. The 737-8, -9, and -10 all offer a common cockpit, common engines, and similar components.

Alaska's regional carrier, Horizon Air, also continues to grow its fleet of jets.

Over the next three years, Horizon will add nine new Embraer E175s, bringing its total to 50 by the end of 2026. 

Alaska's regional partner SkyWest also operates 42 E175s on the airline's behalf. Our combined fleet size of mainline and regional jets is currently 310.

“Our guests will soon enjoy refreshed updates to our 737-800 aircraft,” Alaska said. “With modifications beginning in late 2024, we are investing $130 million to overhaul those cabins.”

“The updates we're making to our older Boeing aircraft will provide a more consistent guest experience on our Boeing fleet by making the cabins look and feel more like our 737-9 and 737-8 aircraft," said Todd Traynor-Corey, managing director of guest products at Alaska Airlines.

The enhancements to the -800s include a move to a 161-seat configuration with 16 seats in First Class and new seats in Premium Class and the main cabin.

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