LONDON – As revealed by RoutesOnline, Alaska Airlines has outlined the start of its Boeing 737 MAX 9 network operations, scheduled to begin in July 2019.
It is understood that the flights will operate under a two-class configuration, offering 12 seats in First Class and 162 seats in Economy.
The carrier converted 15 of its 737 MAX 8s it had on order to the larger MAX 9 variant back in May 2018, bringing the total commitment to 32.
Deliveries are to commence this year through to 2023, according to Boeing and Alaska Airlines.
As noted through RoutesOnline, July 15 seems to be the date of operations, although this will be subject to any changes or delays.
The Seattle-Los Angeles will be the first of two routes to operate that day, with the flight going daily for one month under the AS310/465 rotations then going two
Seattle-San Jose will be the second route, operating once daily under the AS344/319 rotations also.
A month later, on August 15 will see Seattle-San Diego under the AS482/539 flight numbers, launching on a once daily basis also.
For now, it seems like the MAX 9s will stay relatively close to Seattle on the West Coast and it will eventually branch out into central areas of the U.S. and beyond as time goes on.
Ultimately, this will be the beginning of fleet renewal on some of the older 737s that are in the fleet.
For example, the 14 737-700s in its fleet has an average age of 18.7 years, with the 61 -800s having 10.9 years on average.
Although the carrier has an average fleet age of 7.5 years collectively, as of February 2018, replacing some of the older aircraft for newer will definitely see that number reduce down a little further.
Even then, 7.5 years average fleet age for an airline with 330 aircraft is still a significant feat for most of the American carriers.
That being said, whichever other destinations will be launched with the MAX 9 remains unclear, but it seems that Alaska has started thinking more about the operations closer to delivery day.