Tue, Jun 24, 2008
Will Spend $60 Million To Speed Exit From Fleet
In this age of sky-high fuel prices, many airlines can't get rid
of their least fuel-efficient aircraft fast enough. As a case in
point, consider that Pacific Northwest Alaska Air Group -- parent
company of Alaska Airlines -- plans to spend an extra $60 million
to hasten the planned exits of its aged McDonnell Douglas MD80s
from the carrier's fleet.
Alaska announced earlier this year it would dump 26 MD80s
from its fleet by the end of 2008... but the carrier has since
moved up the retirement date by four months. The carrier now plans
to complete retirements by August 25, instead of December 31.
The extra $60 million represents paying off existing leases on
four planes, The Seattle Times reports. Alaska will incur a $30
million hit this quarter, and another $30 million for Q3 2008.
Though Alaska plans to use some of those losses to trim
capacity, the carrier has also added more efficient Boeing 737s to
replace the MD80s.
Alaska is but the latest carrier to announce the grounding of
their gas-guzzlers. Midwest Airlines announced last week it, too,
would ground its MD80s, in favor of its newer Boeing 717/nee MD-95
airliners. And American Airlines -- by far the largest operator of
the type -- is also gradually replacing those aircraft with newer
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