It’s the end of an era as Alaska Airlines retired its final Airbus A320. N849VA departed for Victorville from Los Angeles on January 10th, where it’ll now be stored.
The airline had already retired its fleet of Airbus A319s at the emergence of the pandemic in early 2020. However, the retirement of the last Airbus A320 put a nail in the coffin of these ageing aircraft types. Now, only 10 Airbus aircraft remain in its operations per Cirium data, those being the A321neos.
However, how Alaska Airlines acquired the A321neos may not have been ideal. The carrier received the A321neos from Virgin America in 2016 following a merger. As a result, the Virgin America brand disappeared, and Alaska Airlines took on the role of its fleet and network. In turn, leaving them with Airbus aircraft. Now they have mostly been phased out.
Alaska Airlines, however, is only going to continue plans to rapidly accelerate the retirement of aircraft and move towards more efficient types as they’ll say goodbye to the De Havilland Dash 8 Q400. Operating as part of Horizon, the carrier still has 12 Dash 8s, with 20 in storage. However, given the rapid retirement of the A320s, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine these regional planes won’t be around for much longer.
In 2022 the airline put pen to paper on a mammoth deal for the 737 MAX series. With 111 737 MAXs on order per Cirium data, spread across 52 737 MAX 9’s, 48 737 MAX 10’s and 10 remaining 737 MAX 8’s. The 737 MAX will continue to be the backbone of its narrowbody operations for decades through the commitment from the carrier.