Alaska Airlines expands Boeing 737 MAX fleet with 'biggest order' in its 90-year history

WASHINGTON, D.C. - APRIL 24, 2018: An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 jet taxis to a gate after landing at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

Alaska Airlines bought 52 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft for its fleet and secured rights for 105 more in the coming decade—the airline's largest Boeing purchase in its 90-year history.

According to the airline, the 52 new planes will be delivered between 2024 and 2027, expanding their existing fleet from 94 to 146. The rights for another 105 have been secured through 2030.

"This investment secures aircraft to optimize our growth through the next decade, which we know will be a formidable competitive advantage," said Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci. "We’re proud of the strong financial foundation that uniquely positions Alaska to make this commitment to our future, and of the fantastic partnership we share with our hometown aircraft manufacturer at Boeing."

The goal is a mainline fleet solely of Boeing aircraft, the airline said, as their current fleet of Boeing 737-9s have "exceeded expectations" for economics, fuel efficiency and guest satisfaction.

"As Alaska Airlines sustainably grows its fleet, the 737 MAX family offers environmental performance and flexibility to expand service across its route network," said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "Built in our Renton factory near Alaska’s headquarters in Washington state, these airplanes will carry passengers to destinations for years to come."

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By 2030, Alaska Airlines aims to operate more than 250 737-MAX aircraft. The airline says in 2024, a new 737 MAX will be delivered around every 10 days. The company plans to sunset the Airbus aircraft by the end of 2023.