Monday, 25 January 2021

Alaska Airlines pushing for 1st March operational date for its first Boeing 737 MAX 9 that arrived over the weekend.

The Seattle based U.S carrier Alaska Air has taken delivery of its first Boeing 737-9 MAX aircraft which it plans to put into commercial operations from 1st March. 

The aircraft was flown from Boeing's Delivery Center at Boeing Field in Seattle to the company's hangar at Sea-Tac International Airport by the airlines own pilots and with a small group of Alaska's top leadership on board on 24th January.

"We've eagerly waited for this day. It was a proud moment to board our newest 737 aircraft and fly it home," said Alaska Airlines President Ben Minicucci. "This plane is a significant part of our future. We believe in it, we believe in Boeing and we believe in our employees who will spend the next five weeks in training to ensure we're ready to safely fly our guests."

The Boeing 737 MAX aircraft have been grounded for nearly two years over a series of safety flaws and issues after two deadly crashes involving the model claimed the lives of over 320 people.

Alaska Airlines will put this 737 MAX 9 on to scheduled passenger flights from 1st March with daily roundtrip flights between Seattle and San Diego, and Seattle and Los Angeles. However,  you might not know if you are flying on the jet,  in stark contrast to their previous policy of being open and transparent about the 737 MAX integration. The airline is now just referring to the aircraft as "737-9", no doubt designed to obfuscate and disassociate its self from the two crashes and reduce the number of moves and cancellations from passengers worried about flying on the aircraft.

The carrier is now pushing staff to be ready on time to bring the jet into service:

Maintenance technicians will undergo training to become acquainted with the new aircraft. They will receive at least 40 hours of "differences training," which distinguishes the variations between the new MAX and the airline's existing 737 NG fleet. Certain technicians will receive up to 40 additional hours of specialized training focused on the plane's engines and avionics systems.
Alaska's pilots will operate more than 50 flight hours and roughly 19,000 miles around the country, including to Alaska and Hawaii. These "proving flights" are conducted to confirm our safety assessments and those of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and to ensure a full understanding of the plane's capabilities in different climates and terrain.
Alaska's pilots will receive eight hours of MAX-specific, computer-based training prior to flying the aircraft over the course of two days, which includes at least two hours of training in Alaska's own certified MAX flight simulator. 
John Ladner, vice president of flight operations at Alaska believes the carrier's pilots are better trained than at any other U.S airline  "Our pilots are the best trained in the industry. With the 737-9, we're going above and beyond with our training program, even more than what the FAA is requesting, - We have high confidence in this aircraft. It's a tremendous addition to our fleet, and we're ready to start flying it in March."

Deliveries of Alaska's 737-9 aircraft by Boeing will be flown with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), which helps the aviation industry reduce CO2 emissions on a life-cycle basis. The SAF will be used on all MAX aircraft deliveries and will be supplied by Epic Fuels.

Alaska's second delivery of a MAX 9 from Boeing will be in March this year and then the airline will be taking delivery of a further 13 this year. 30 of the jets will arrive in 2022, 13 in 2023 and 12 in 2024. 

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