MIAMI – Seattle-based Alaska Airlines (AS) is poised for recovery, which will require additional aircraft to fulfill capacity needs as travelers return to the skies. AS is optimistic that by the summer of 2022, travel will have returned to pre COVID levels.
In order to meet these demands, AS will add 17 new Embraer regional jets to its fleet from the Brazilian manufacturer. These aircraft will join the fleet in 2022, and 2023.
Nine of these jets will be operated by Horizon, while the remaining eight will be operated by SkyWest (OO). The airline has also exercised options for the Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft, with deliveries starting in 2023, concluding in 2024.
The regional group of AS will grow their fleet to 111 planes. Horizon’s fleet will consist of 71 planes, while OO will operate 40 planes for AS. Horizon is slated to receive five of the E175 jets in 2022, and the remaining four in 2023. OO will receive all eight aircraft in AS colors in 2022.
In December 2020, AS announced an agreement with Boeing, the manufacturer of the 737 MAX 9, to acquire 68 aircraft between 2021 and 2024, with options for an additional 52 planes to be delivered between 2023 and 2026.
Nat Pieper, the senior vice president of AS’ fleet, finances, and alliances stated that regional jets were a huge part of Alaska’s growing network. He added, ” As our network expands, regional aircraft connect smaller communities to our larger hubs providing critical feed to assist in the development of new markets.”
“We are excited to exercise options for more 737-9’s just months after committing to 68 firm deliveries. It’s another indication that we’re ready for growth,” added Pieper.
Nonstop to Belize
Alaska also announced it would start new nonstop flights to Belize City, Belize in Central America. This will be the fourth country AS will fly from its west coast hubs. Belize City also joins Costa Rica, Mexico, and Canada as international countries the carrier is currently flying to.
Routes and schedules have not been announced as of yet. AS plans to make this announcement when ticket sales begin in early June.
Brett Catlin, AS vice president of network and alliances, stated that the airline’s guests are eager for more eco-friendly leisure destinations. He added, “Belize offers an unbeatable mix of sensational beaches, iconic cayes and rich heritage.”
Alaska is a member of the oneworld global alliance. With the carrier’s Mileage Plan program, and Alaska’s airline partners, guests earn miles, and can choose from up to 1,000 destinations around the world.
Featured image: ALASKA AIRLINES BOEING 737-9 MAX (SEA tower). photo: Brandon Farris/Airways