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Alaska Airlines goes all-in on Boeing, accelerating plans to retire A320-family aircraft

March 24, 2022
2 min read
Alaska Airlines goes all-in on Boeing, accelerating plans to retire A320-family aircraft
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Alaska Airlines said Thursday that it was accelerating its plans to simplify its fleet, becoming an all-Boeing operator at the mainline level by the end of 2023 and sticking entirely with Embraer E-175 jets at regional subsidiary Horizon Air.

The update came ahead of an investor conference the airline planned to hold in New York City.

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"As the fleet grows to 400 aircraft by mid-decade, these [changes] will [result in] operational simplicity, flexibility and scalability, better fuel efficiency and reduced maintenance costs," the airline wrote in the update.

Alaska currently operates 40 Airbus A320-family aircraft, according to Airfleets.net, including 30 Airbus A320ceos and 10 A321neos — about 20% of its fleet. Alaska Airlines acquired the planes via its 2016 acquisition of Virgin America.

The new timeline would shave several years off Alaska's plan to shift the entirety of its mainline operation to Boeing's 737 narrow-body platform. The airline had previously planned to phase out the A320ceos by the end of 2023, although it had not announced its intentions for the leased A321neo fleet.

The airline has outstanding orders for 71 Boeing 737 Max aircraft, according to Boeing, including the -8, -9, and -10 variants.

Horizon, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alaska Air Group, currently has 32 De Havilland Canada Dash 8-Q400 propeller aircraft, in addition to its fleet of 30 E-175s, according to Airfleets.

Read more: Take a look at the new Alaska Airlines 737 MAX that Boeing is using as a flying laboratory

As part of the investor event curtain-raiser, Alaska also said that it would convert two of its older 737-800 passenger aircraft into freighters, seeking to capitalize on the surge in air cargo demand that began during the pandemic. The airline currently has three smaller 737-700 freighters.

The airline also noted that it planned to expand its network, growing 4% to 8% per year through 2025.

Featured image by David Slotnick/The Points Guy
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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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

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  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases