Key Points

  • Alaska Airlines bids farewell to its final 10 Airbus A321s, progressing towards an all-Boeing fleet.

  • Two Boeing 737-800s, converted for cargo, to be integrated into Alaska Air Cargo soon.

  • Details on the future home of the retired Airbus A321s to be revealed in the coming weeks.

Alaska Airlines Advances Towards a Solely Boeing Fleet with Airbus A321 Departure

SEATTLE —Alaska Airlines has recently ushered out its last 10 Airbus A321 aircraft from revenue service, concretizing its progression towards an exclusively Boeing-dominated fleet. The Washington-based airline communicated that the final commercial flight operated by an A321 was executed on 30 September, with Flight 1126 transitioning smoothly from Seattle to Los Angeles. A spokesperson revealed that the A321s are nearing a new domicile, with announcements on their future location anticipated in the subsequent weeks following the finalization of contracts.

Upcoming Announcements Expected Regarding Relocation of A321 Aircraft

The steady phase-out of Airbus models underscores the carrier’s meticulous adherence to its plan, unfolded in March 2022, to retire its A320 and A321neos, along with De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400s, by the closure of 2023. This strategic move is part of a broader pivot towards concentrating its regional fleet on Embraer 175 jets while maintaining a balanced narrowbody operation with a blend of Boeing 737NGs and Max jets. Cirium fleet data illustrates that Alaska presently operates 163 737NGs and 56 737 Max aircraft, with its regional subsidiary Horizon Air utilizing 41 E175s.

Strengthening Alaska Air Cargo with Two Additional 737-800s

On 2 October, the airline unfolded plans to augment its cargo division, Alaska Air Cargo, with two converted Boeing 737-800s, one to be welcomed by the close of this year and its counterpart in the early stages of 2024. These additions aim to bolster freight-hauling activities within Alaska, particularly extending services to the Bristol Bay fishing locality of King Salmon. Upon their arrival, the cargo division will boast a total of five freighters – a combination of three 737-700s and the aforementioned 737-800s.

Enabling Non-Stop Freight Services from Remote Alaskan Communities

Pertinently, the airline emphasized that these freighters will acquire certification to undertake extensive overwater hauls, inclusive of non-stop flights from secluded areas like King Salmon straight to Seattle. While the airline actively shifts its fleet, its commitment to regional and remote services, particularly those within Alaska, remains steadfast, demonstrating a balanced approach to optimizing its operations across both passenger and cargo services amidst these pivotal transitions.