My immediate and overwhelming feeling when I read that Alaska Airlines might order a fleet of Boeing 737 MAX jets was WHY?
I am sure these planes will eventually be safe in the sky, but at least for now, their reputation has been tarnished. I will not be rushing to fly on one, at least for now.
According to Fox News, the ongoing crisis at Boeing makes it more likely that Alaska will replace its fleet of Airbus A320 planes with a big order of Boeing 737 MAX.
I like the Airbus A320, I fly them all the time around Europe on British Airways, along with the A319 which BA also flies. But low-cost carriers try to focus on just one aircraft type, to simplify pilot training, crew scheduling, and maintenance.
Alaska Airlines recently took on Virgin America’s planes. Previously, Alaska flew only Boeing 737s, while Virgin America used Airbus planes. Now Alaska Airlines now has a mixed fleet of 159 Boeing 737s and 71 Airbus A319s, A320s, and A321neos. It has estimated that the incremental costs of operating two aircraft types as $20 million USD to $25 million USD a year.
Replacing A319 and A320 planes with Boeing 737 MAX aircraft would allow the airline to upgrade its fleet and, as the lease is running out on most of these Airbus planes, an all-Boeing fleet would be feasible by 2025 or 2026.
Alaska has already ordered 32 B737 MAX planes. Once the MAX is back in the sky, Boeing may heavily discount these planes to avoid order cancellations, making this plane a bargain and the perfect solution for Alaska. So this concept is not madness at all, just price driven.
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