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Doubling down on the MAX: Alaska Airlines orders 52 more 737 aircraft

Oct. 26, 2022
3 min read
Doubling down on the MAX: Alaska Airlines orders 52 more 737 aircraft
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Alaska Airlines has staked its future on the Boeing 737 MAX — and on Wednesday, placed a large order for more of the jets.

In fact, the Seattle-based carrier said that the order, for 52 Boeing 737 MAX 9 and 10s, is the largest Boeing order in the company's history. The company currently operates 35 737 MAX aircraft and expects to take delivery of 43 more between now and the end of 2023. The deal includes purchase rights for 105 additional aircraft beyond the 52 firm orders.

With the new order, Alaska could have 250 737 MAXs in its fleet by 2030, though the airline noted that it has some flexibility with this deal to "match our deliveries with economic conditions while saving our place in the production line."

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"This investment secures aircraft to optimize our growth through the next decade, which we know will be a formidable competitive advantage,” Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci said in a statement. “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 order is for 42 737 MAX 10s and 10 737 MAX 9s, and the company noted that it has the flexibility to change that distribution moving forward to adapt to market conditions. The 737 MAX 10 faces a crucial end-of-year certification deadline that Boeing is all but certain to miss.

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At issue is the lack of a crew alerting system on the 737 MAX and a federal law that requires aircraft certified after the end of this year to include one. With Boeing likely to miss this deadline, the company likely needs Congress to pass a law exempting the 737 MAX from the deadline. Minicucci last week came out in support of an exemption.

"I do think the -10 will get certified," he told CNBC.

As Boeing builds its 737 MAX 10 order book, especially with orders from U.S. carriers — Delta Air Lines this summer also ordered the largest MAX variant and United Airlines has 250 on order — the company is likely ratcheting up political pressure on Congress for the exemption.

More: Boeing blockbuster: Delta signs deal for 100 737 MAX 10 aircraft

Alaska has long been a 737 operator and has operated all four generations of the venerable Boeing jet. The airline also currently operates a diminishing fleet of Airbus aircraft that it acquired through its 2016 merger with Virgin America but plans to retire its final A320s by January and its A321neos by the end of next year. Alaska's 737s have "proudly all Boeing" painted on the forward fuselage — a moniker that will once again be fully true.

Featured image by JUSTIN SULLIVAN/GETTY IMAGES
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
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Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
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    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees