Alaska Airlines would have ordered more MAX-10s if it had the chance, according to an executive in charge of fleet at the airline.
“If the -10 had existed when we placed the order, I would have made it 90% of our order,” Nat Pieper, senior vice president of Fleet, Finance, and Alliances at Alaska Airlines told The Air Current at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Istanbul, Turkey.
Pieper joined Alaska Airlines in August 2019.
According to Boeing’s Orders and Deliveries data, Alaska Airlines has ordered the 737 MAX on several occasions. The airline has signed deals with Boeing five times – once in 2012, three time in 2021, and again in 2022 for a total of 146 aircraft. Some of the orders may have been made earlier as a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) or Letter of Intent (LoI), with the deal being finalized at a later date.
Its latest order in October 2022 was for 52 aircraft of the type, with MAX-8, MAX-9, and MAX-10 as the ordered variants.
“We have full flexibility to shift between 737 MAX models as appropriate,” the airline said in a statement issued at the time.
Alaska Airlines also secured 105 options for 737 MAXs through 20230, “ensuring access to sufficient aircraft for fleet replacement and growth”. This became the airline’s largest order in history.
In December 2020, the Seattle Tacoma International Airport (SEA)-based airline restructured its order book with Boeing, opting to take 68 737 MAX-9s, with options for an additional 52 aircraft, which the airline exercised in October 2022.
However, unlike the 737 MAX-8 and MAX-9, neither the MAX-7 nor MAX-10 are certified by the United States (US) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Boeing plans for the two aircraft to be certified in 2023 and 2024, respectively.
Alaska Airlines currently operates 47 Boeing 737 MAX-9 aircraft, according to ch-aviation.com data. It also has eight Airbus A320 (all stored), 10 Airbus A321neo, and 173 various variants of the Boeing 737 NextGeneration (NG) aircraft family, ranging from the 737-700 to the 737-900ER.
The airline inherited the Airbus aircraft during its merger with Virgin America in 2018. It plans to retire the last remnants of the merger in Q3 2023.