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Wed, Jan 13, 2021

Alaska Airlines Stays Loyal To 737 MAX

Will Acquire A Total Of 68 737-9 MAX Aircraft With Options For Another 52

Alaska Airlines has completed an agreement, in principle, with Boeing to restructure the airline's order to receive a total of 68 Boeing 737-9 MAX aircraft with options for an additional 52 planes.

Alaska is scheduled to receive 13 planes in 2021; 30 in 2022; 13 in 2023; and 12 in 2024. The delivery schedule will largely replace Alaska's Airbus fleet and moves the airline substantially toward a single, mainline fleet that's more efficient, profitable and environmentally friendly, and that will enhance the guest experience and support the company's growth. This restructured agreement with Boeing incorporates Alaska's announcement last month to lease 13 737-9 aircraft.
 
The agreement enables two major Pacific Northwest employers – Alaska and Boeing – to continue to support and revive jobs as the region and nation recover from the devastating impacts of the pandemic, fueling economic opportunity and growth in the coming decade.

"We are extremely proud to be announcing this transformative agreement with Boeing," said Brad Tilden, CEO of Alaska Air Group. "We believe in this airplane, we believe in our strong partnership with Boeing, and we believe in the future of Alaska Airlines and the incredible opportunities ahead as we climb our way out of this pandemic. We could not ask for a better partner than Boeing and we are delighted to be standing side by side with them as we work together to get our economy back on its feet."

"Alaska Airlines has done a tremendous job of weathering the impacts from the Covid-19 pandemic and is well positioned to return to its growth trajectory and strengthen its standing as one of the top U.S. airlines. With Alaska's industry-leading reputation for safety, sustainability and customer service, we are honored that the airline has chosen to invest in its future with a significant purchase of additional Boeing 737 airplanes," said Stan Deal, president and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "We are grateful for Alaska's trust and partnership. Our team is focused on delivering their first 737 MAX jets and helping ensure a safe and seamless entry into service."

After significant work to manage costs and liquidity through the pandemic, support employees and jobs, and to ensure the safety of both employees and guests, Alaska's priority is to establish strong recovery and growth in the decade ahead. Alaska also prefers to own aircraft when it makes the best financial sense for the company. This decision enables the company to exit 61 expensive, short-term leases for its Airbus fleet that were inherited by Alaska through its acquisition of Virgin America. Furthermore, compared to the Airbus A320, the 737-9 has more seats, better fuel efficiency, lower emissions and lower maintenance costs.

The agreement includes mechanisms to adjust the timing of deliveries to meet economic conditions, giving the airline substantial flexibility to manage its fleet in step with network demand. Alaska's 52 aircraft options are for deliveries between 2023 to 2026.

The 737-9 will replace all A319 and A320 aircraft in Alaska's fleet to improve the airline's overall operational, financial and environmental performance. With this plan, Alaska will reduce its Airbus fleet to 10 A321neos by the summer of 2023. The 737-9 is 20% more fuel efficient and generates approximately 20% less carbon emissions per seat than the A320. Its larger engines fly significantly quieter, and can also fly up to 600 miles farther, which opens the possibility of new nonstop routes and destinations.

Alaska plans to begin revenue service with its first 737-9 in March 2021, with five additional aircraft expected to begin flying by summer 2021.

FMI: www.alaskaair.com/737MAX

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