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Alaska Takes Delivery of First Boeing 737 MAX 8

The Seattle-based airline is set to operate its longest route yet with the new aircraft.

Alaska’s new 737 MAX 8 (Photo: Alaska Airlines)

Alaska Airlines has historically operated an all-boeing fleet of aircraft. The minor blip of Virgin America aircraft aside, the airline has been proudly Boeing, and more specifically proudly all Boeing 737s of some variant, for decades.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that as Alaska continues to grow, it continues to keep buying more Boeing 737 aircraft. The airline has 80 737 MAX aircraft on order with options and purchase rights for another 105.

The airline already operates over 60 Boeing 737 MAX 9 variants that are quite popular with the airline. The carrier states that the variant has done very well with guest satisfaction, fuel efficiency, and economics.

Arrival of the MAX 8

The airline this week announced delivery of the first MAX 8 variant of which the airline has 15 on order. These aircraft have lower seating capacity than the MAX 9 aircraft and will primarily be used to fly longer nonstop routes with fewer passengers.

The longer range of the MAX 8 allows for the airline to introduce routes that it was previously unable to such as nonstop flights from Anchorage to New York’s JFK. The airline will be launching this route on June 13 of this year and will become the longest flight the airline operates at 3,386 miles.

Alaska has taken an interesting approach when it comes to the configuration of these aircraft. The first five aircraft will have 159 seats, 12 first class and 147 economy seats. After those initial five aircraft, the rest of the aircraft will come with 16 first class seats and 145 economy seats. At some point in the future, the airline will then reconfigure the first five aircraft to have the same seating as the later delivered aircraft.

It’s unclear as to why the airline went with this plan, although it is possible that supply chain issues may have played a part in this odd configuration plan.

The 737 MAX 8 aircraft have the longest range but the smallest capacity; these aircraft will service longer haul routes between medium-sized markets. The MAX 9 aircraft that are already in service will operate routes of high demand within range limitations of the aircraft which are quite impressive as well. The MAX 10 is still being certified by Boeing but it’s expected the airline will start taking deliveries in 2025. This aircraft will have the largest capacity of any MAX variant.

Hemal Gosai
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  • Hemal Gosai

    Hemal took his first flight at four years old and has been an avgeek since then. When he isn't working as an analyst he's frequently found outside watching planes fly overhead or flying in them. His favorite plane is the 747-8i which Lufthansa thankfully flies to EWR allowing for some great spotting. He firmly believes that the best way to fly between JFK and BOS is via DFW and is always willing to go for that extra elite qualifying mile.

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