Alaska Airlines is retiring its final Airbus A320 aircraft, with the aircraft scheduled to leave Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) at 1:00 PM local time (GMT -8) to be stored in Victorville Southern California Logistics Airport (VCV).
The jet, registered as N849VA, will be joining 11 other A320s phased out by Alaska Airlines in January 2023. Overall, the airline retired 52 aircraft of the type between October 2019 and January 2023, excluding a final A320 still assigned to the Seattle Tacoma International Airport (SEA)-based airline, according to planespotters.net. The airline also retired 10 Airbus A319s in February and March 2020.
As the airline looks to move on the aircraft, which previously belonged to Virginia America, only 10 Airbus A321neos remain in the carrier’s fleet. Following the merger of Alaska Airlines and Virgin America in April 2016, the former’s brand survived, absorbing the latter’s fleet and network, which included the Airbus aircraft. Prior to the merger, Alaska Airlines did not operate any jets built by the European plane maker.
In March 2022, the Alaskan airline announced that it would fast-track the retirement of its Airbus aircraft, as well as the retirement of its De Havilland Dash 8 Q400 regional fleet. At the end of 2021, it had 40 A320s and 32 Q400s, according to the company’s Investor Day presentation on March 24, 2022. The presentation also outlined that the benefits of simplifying its fleet would be greater revenue opportunities, more premium revenue, lower cost per seat, and a better environmental profile.
Currently, Alaska Airlines has 204 Boeing 737s of various types, counting 38 737 MAX-9s. Its regional partners operate a fleet of 11 De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400 and 75 Embraer E170 aircraft, flying regional and other smaller routes from and to the carrier’s hubs, including Anchorage Ted Stevens International Airport (ANC) in Alaska.
In October 2022, the company placed a firm order for 52 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, with options to add 105 more aircraft to the deal. Deliveries have been scheduled to begin in 2024 and be completed by 2027.