Gone with the Wind: Alaska Airlines Phases out Its A320s
Airbus Airlines

Gone with the Wind: Alaska Airlines Phases out Its A320s

DALLAS – Seattle-based Alaska Airlines (AS) retired its Airbus A320ceo family aircraft fleet with N849VA completing the last revenue flight on Monday.

The final flight went from Seattle (SEA) to Los Angeles (LAX) as AS1196, which departed at 20:37 local and landed at 22:58, thus marking the end of the type within the AS fleet. 

Subsequently, N849VA was flown to Victorville (VCV) on Tuesday afternoon as AS9800. Brandon Farris, Airways Director of Photography, was on hand at SeaTac Airport on Monday morning, managing to capture the sendoff of two of the A320s to storage.

N849VA Completing one of the last AS A320 flights on Monday morning. Photo: Brandon Farris/Airways

Alaska’s Airbus’

Alaska acquired its Airbus A320s from the merger with Virgin America (VX) in 2016, which included a mix of A321neos, A320s and A319s, with the latter retired in 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before that, however, AS had never previously operated or owned any Airbus aircraft. In total, Alaska received 73 Airbus aircraft from the merger, the bulk of them being A320s.

AS Boeing 737-9. Photo: Brandon Farris/Airways.

Winner Winner, “Proudly All Boeing”

Besides the A320 family aircraft fleet, AS also inherited from Virgin America an order for 30 additional Airbus A320neos. After several deferments, the carrier opted to cancel the order in the third quarter of 2021 after announcing its future flight plans, relying on the Boeing 737 MAX family aircraft instead.

According to information from planespotters.net, AS took delivery of 26 Boeing 737-9 in 2022, including nine aircraft originally built for other airlines but not taken up. As of the publishing date of this story, AS mainline fleet comprises 214 aircraft, of which 204 are Boeing 737s.

Alaska Airlines plans to operate a small fleet of Airbus A321neos, which also came from the merger with Virgin America, and are expected to remain in the fleet until January 2024, as leasing terms expire.

The announcement of this phase-out took place at the March 2022 investor conference, when the airline also announced plans to retire its Bombardier Dash 8 Q400s, expected to leave the AS fleet later this month.

Featured Image: N637VA taxiis out of Seattle one last time in AS Colors, heading for VCV for retirement. Photo: Brandon Farris/Airways

Photography Editor
Aviation photojournalist having started with aviation photography with the 747-8F first flight and 787 flight test program. I'm usually around Boeing Field and Renton getting the latest MAX off the flight line along with the latest Boeing test flight programs. Based in Seattle, WA. United States.

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