Alaska Airlines Banking on 737 MAX Return

Alaska Airlines is growing and is looking to maintain that growth and momentum over the next decade with the purchase of 200 new planes.

That includes the beleaguered Boeing 737 MAX.

Alaska issued an internal memo to pilots this week, obtained by The Seattle Times, noting it purchased two 737 MAX simulators for training. One will be operational by the end of June and the second by year-end.

“While we don’t yet know the exact makeup of our future fleet, we do know the 737 MAX will be a significant part of it,” the pilots were told.

The 737 MAX has been grounded globally since March of 2019 after two separate, fatal crashes resulted in the deaths of 346 passengers and crew.

But a series of problems has plagued Boeing and constantly pushed back the date when the plane can be re-certified for flight by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Times reported that Alaska’s Vice President of Flight Operations, John Ladner, told pilots the airline may choose to keep a number of the large Airbus A321 jets and, if so, “they will likely be deployed primarily in our Seattle hub.”

The paper also reported that Alaska ordered 37 Boeing 737 MAX planes in 2012 and was supposed to have three of the model by now, but has none yet.

Boeing is hoping to have the MAX approved for flight by mid-summer. It will take another month after that for airlines to re-train their pilots and be up in the air.

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