Alaska Airlines announced a deal to buy 23 more Boeing 737-9 Max airliners, bringing the carrier’s total 737 MAX order and options to 120 airplanes. Alaska Airlines, a longtime Boeing 737 operator, placed an order for 32 737-9 jets in 2012 as part of its fleet modernization program.

As reported in Business Traveler USA, last month the airline announced it is expanding its commitment to the 737 MAX program by leasing 13 new 737-9s while selling some A320 jets it had taken on through its acquisition of Virgin America.

The latest agreement will add a further 23 firm orders for the 737-9 and more options for future purchases. In all, Alaska will have 52 options which, if fully exercised, would take the carrier to as many as 120 737 MAX airplanes.

Alaska Air’s announcement comes as American Airlines began regularly scheduled operations with the aircraft on flights between Miami and New York LaGuardia at the end of December.

Meanwhile budget airline Ryanair has also upped its order for 737 Max 200s, adding 75 more aircraft bringing the total size of its Max fleet to 210.

"We are extremely proud to be announcing this transformative agreement with Boeing," said Brad Tilden, CEO of Alaska Air Group. "We believe in this airplane, we believe in our strong partnership with Boeing, and we believe in the future of Alaska Airlines and the incredible opportunities ahead as we climb our way out of this pandemic."

The new deal will give the fifth largest US carrier “the scale, efficiency, and flexibility to expand” as air travel recovers.

Alaska Airlines says the 737 Max – equipped with new, more fuel-efficient engines and improved aerodynamics – will use 20 percent less fuel and reduce emissions by 20 percent per seat compared to airplanes it replaces.

The plane can fly 3,550 nautical miles, about 600 miles further than its predecessor. This additional capability will allow airlines to offer new and more direct routes to passengers.

The airline will outfit the jet with 178 seats in a three-class configuration. Every airplane will feature the new Boeing Sky Interior, highlighted by modern sculpted sidewalls and window reveals, LED lighting that enhances the sense of spaciousness and larger pivoting overhead storage bins.

alaskaair.com,  boeing.com