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An Alaska Airlines 737MAX 9. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Katie Bailey)

Alaska Airlines to Introduce Boeing 737 MAX in March

Amid the recent ungrounding of the Boeing 737 MAX, many airlines have begun filing plans to integrate the Boeing 737 MAX into service.  Recently, Alaska Airlines has filed new plans to integrate its MAX fleet into service starting in March 2021.

Alaska’s Boeing 737 MAX Routes

Note that these filings are tentative and could be subject to change: 

On March 1, 2020, Alaska Airlines will fly the Boeing 737 MAX on three main routes: Seattle, Washington to Los Angeles, California;  Seattle, Washington to San Diego, California; and Portland, Oregon to Los Angeles, California.

The inaugural flight on the Boeing 737 MAX is tentatively scheduled as Alaska Airlines Flight 1041 from Seattle to Los Angeles with a 7:15 A.M. departure and a 10 A.M. arrival. The second flight of the day for the Boeing 737 MAX will be from Seattle to San Diego with an 8 A.M. departure and a 10:45 A.M. arrival. Below is a schedule of the routes the MAX will be operating on the first day: 

Flight Number Origin Destination Departure Time Arrival Time
AS1041 Seattle, WA Los Angeles, CA 7:15 A.M. 10 A.M.
AS1413 Los Angeles, CA Portland, OR 10:45 A.M. 1:14 P.M.
AS1391 Portland, OR Los Angeles, CA 2:10 P.M. 4:34 P.M.
AS1055 Los Angeles, CA Seattle, WA 5:40 P.M. 8:26 P.M.
AS398 Seattle, WA Los Angeles, CA 3:55 P.M. 6:36 P.M.
AS705 Los Angeles, CA Seattle, WA 7:45 P.M. 10:29 P.M.
AS482 Seattle, WA San Diego, CA 8 A.M. 10:45 A.M.
AS539 San Diego, CA Seattle, WA 11:45 A.M. 2:40 P.M.

In several months, Alaska Airlines expects itself to integrate the Boeing 737MAX on flights to the East Coast. Additionally, Alaska Airlines plans to fly the Boeing 737 MAX on flights to Hawaii via the usage of ETOPS.

Currently, Alaska Airlines plans to offer 178 seats on its Boeing 737 MAX 9 with 16 First Class seats, 24 Premium Economy Class seats, and 138 Economy Class seats.  

Integrating the 737 MAX Into its Fleet

Alaska Airlines will receive its first 737 MAX in January 2021. When doing so, the Seattle-based carrier plans to fly the aircraft more than 50 hours and 19,000 miles on “proving flights.” These flights will take place all over the United States, including the cold airports of Alaska and the warm airports of Hawaii, with FAA representatives on board to evaluate the safety of the aircraft. Also, these flights will allow pilots to validate the operational performance of the 737 MAX and its’ “required navigation performance.”

Alaska Airlines pilots will engage in eight hours of MAX-specific training before piloting the aircraft. Also, they will face two hours of training in Alaska’s 737MAX simulator. Meanwhile, Alaska Airlines maintenance technicians will undergo a minimum of 40 hours of training.

Alaska Airlines operates A320s and Boeing 737s with 68 Boeing 737 MAX 9’s on the way. Recently, the airline ordered 23 Boeing 737 MAX 9’s and traded 10 A320’s for 10 Boeing 737 MAX 9’s. The carrier has options for 52 more MAX jets.

In exchange for the influx of Boeing 737 MAX jets, Alaska Airlines will phase out its Airbus fleet. By the summer of 2023, the airline will have eliminated its A319 and A320 fleets, citing high short-term lease costs as the main reason for the fleet simplification. However, the carrier’s A321neo fleet will remain.

Alaska Airlines is following other North American carriers like American Airlines and United Airlines in reinstating Boeing 737 MAX service.  Recently, American Airlines restarted Boeing 737 MAX flights with an inaugural flight from Miami to New York. United Airlines will relaunch service in February from its hubs in Houston and Denver.

Winston Shek
Winston Shek
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