Alaska Airlines is currently in the process of removing all its Airbus aircraft from the operation. A decision comes following several of these being ex-Virgin America aircraft that Alaska acquired following a merger in 2016.
Having said goodbye to the A320, they’re now removing their A321s from the operation and instead moving ahead with Boeing for narrowbody jets. In turn, becoming a single operator.
According to executives, the company is looking for a new home for these planes. Alaska Airlines believes buyers are out there for their A321neos; it’s just a process of understanding how to receive the maximum value.
As several of the A321neos are already on leases, the company wants to understand how to structure deals, potentially including buying the aircraft out of leases per Cirium. It becomes a more complicated process than one may imagine and results from a merger. Further highlighting some of the downsides to companies coming together.
The aircraft came to Alaska Airlines during the merger with Virgin America, so technically, an order was never placed directly with Airbus. As such, while they’ve been in the Alaska Airlines fleet for over half a decade, there’s now no longer a place in their fleet for Alaska.
Removing the A321neos alongside the A320s is a big decision for the airline. They describe the decision to move towards a single fleet as hugely important to their long-term goals.
The 737 MAX will play a pivotal role in Alaska’s long-term future. The airline will eventually fly the 737-8, 737-9 and 737-10 with commitments for all. It’s the latter that currently has a rather grey cloud surrounding it. Boeing has yet to be able to certify the 737-10, and as such, it cannot fly with customers such as Alaska.