Primarily known as the worst-kept secret, the confirmation came as Alaska Airlines reported its third-quarter results.
Alaska Airlines says that the aircraft sales began in the fourth quarter of 2023 as part of this agreement.
The Airbus A321neo Retirement
Alaska Airlines said goodbye to its Airbus A321neo in the last few weeks.
Operating as ASA1126 and flown by N921VA, the last flight flew from Seattle to Los Angeles. A flight that ended Alaska’s reliance on Airbus-produced aircraft.
Retiring Airbus aircraft has been a long time in the making, being announced initially during the height of the global pandemic.
Alaska quoted at that point its goal to remove all Airbus aircraft, including A320s and A321s, from its fleets by the end of 2023. As a result, it would move towards Boeing again.
An acquisition and merger with Virgin America resulted in Alaska taking onboard Virgin’s Airbus-powered aircraft. However, it seemingly never genuinely aligned with the direction Alaska wished to head.
A removal was viewed as part of fleet simplification efforts, a strategy widely adopted during the lows the industry felt during 2020.
American Airlines Reliance On The A321
American Airlines acquiring ten Airbus A321neos, relatively new from Alaska Airlines to many, hardly comes as a shock.
The major U.S.-based carrier heavily relies on the A321 program for its domestic operations.
The company currently flies a fleet of 70 Airbus A321neos alongside 217 A321-200s with commitments for further units in the future.
American Airlines has also committed to the Airbus A321XLR as part of future fleet plans.
Looking Ahead For Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines will move towards Boeing-produced aircraft for most of its mainline operations, relying heavily on the 737 series.
Alaska Airlines currently has 57 737-9s, part of the MAX series operational alongside a host of 737NGs. This includes 58 737-800s, the backbone of the domestic fleet.
Additionally, the carrier has 737-900s, 737- 900ERs, and more operational units, such as the 737-700.
Looking ahead, however, Alaska has commitments towards more variants of the 737 MAX, including the 737-10, which is the largest member of the series.
However, Alaska Airlines will have to wait a little longer to deliver this variant as the jet remains uncertified.