Alaska Airlines celebrated the delivery of its first Boeing 737 MAX 9 on Monday. The Seattle-based airline has a total order of 68 jets, expanded at the end of last year.
According to the company, 13 planes will be delivered in 2021, 30 in 2022; 13 in 2023; and 12 in 2024, including 13 aircraft that will be received through leasing.
“We’ve eagerly waited for this day. It was a proud moment to board our newest 737 aircraft and fly it home,” said Alaska Airlines President Ben Minicucci. “This plane is a significant part of our future. We believe in it, we believe in Boeing and we believe in our employees who will spend the next five weeks in training to ensure we’re ready to safely fly our guests.”
Alaska’s first 737 MAX 9 will enter service on March 1 on the Seattle-San Diego and Seattle-Los Angeles routes. Until then, the airline will conduct five weeks of training with its employees in preparation for their debut. According to Alaska, its pilots “will put the 737-9 through its paces, flying it more than 50 flight hours and roughly 19,000 miles around the country, including to Alaska and Hawaii.”
Alaska had announced a restructuring of the agreement with Boeing in December, which boosted the order by 23 aircraft, reaching a total of 120 737 MAX, including 52 options.
These aircraft will replace the A320 fleet that was inherited from the acquisition of Virgin America. Alaska’s 737 MAX 9 will be configured with 178 seats in three classes.