Alaska Airlines takes delivery of its first 737 MAX, marking a new chapter for the carrier

Jan 25, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Alaska Airlines is doubling down on its Seattle roots with its latest aircraft delivery.

The carrier took delivery of its first Boeing 737 MAX on Sunday, a move that follows a late 2020 announcement that it would restructure its overall fleet plan, boosting the number of MAXes the carrier would receive to 68.

The new 737 MAX 9, registered N913AK, flew from Boeing’s delivery center in Seattle to the airline’s hangar in Sea-Tac international airport, on a 53-minute flight, with some of Alaska’s top leadership onboard.

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!

“This plane is a significant part of our future. We believe in it, we believe in Boeing and we believe in our employees who will spend the next five weeks in training to ensure we’re ready to safely fly our guests,” said Alaska Airlines president Ben Minicucci.

Sunday’s delivery marks a new chapter for Alaska, as it begins to phase out the bulk of its legacy Airbus fleet in favor of brand-new MAXes, as it returns to a mostly Boeing 737 fleet.

The carrier plans to receive 68 new Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft in the next four years, with options for an additional 52 planes. Alaska will also lease 13 MAX 9s in exchange for 10 Airbus A320s.

Alaska’s confidence in the 737 MAX is a big boost for Boeing, which maintains presence in the Pacific Northwest — including the MAX assembly line in Renton. The beleaguered jet was grounded for more than 20 months following two fatal crashes in Indonesia in late 2018 and Ethiopia in March 2019, taking a combined 346 lives.

The plane was ungrounded by the Federal Aviation Administration in November, and American Airlines became the first domestic carrier to return the plane to the skies on Dec. 29, 2020.

As part of the recertification order, airlines must perform a software update to the flight control system, and pilots must undergo a comprehensive, eight-hour retraining regimen before flying the MAX.

Despite several other global authorities recertifying the MAX, some critics remain. Ed Pierson, a former senior manager for the Boeing 737 program, has reported that further investigation into electrical and product quality issues is needed before the plane returns to service.

Alaska’s first MAX is scheduled to enter service on March 1 with daily roundtrip flights between Seattle and San Diego, and Seattle and Los Angeles. The airline is then expected to take delivery of its second 737 MAX 9 later that month.

Featured photo courtesy of Alaska Airlines

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.