Alaska Airlines announced plans today to broaden our mainline fleet by adjusting our current 737-9 aircraft order with Boeing to include the bigger 737-10 and longer-range 737-8, which are all part of the 737 MAX family of planes. These additional 737 models will enhance Alaska's ability to meet specific market requirements with optimal aircraft size and capability.
"We're excited to add these new 737 models to our fleet and continue our upgauging strategy, which maximizes our revenue opportunity with more seats while reducing unit costs," said Nat Pieper, senior vice president of fleet, finance and alliances at Alaska Airlines. "This announcement is a further step in our drive toward a single fleet featuring Boeing aircraft and CFM engines – we are very appreciative of their partnerships."
Prior to today's announcement, Alaska's contractual 737 order featured 145 firm orders and options for 737-9 aircraft for delivery between 2021-2026. There are currently 14 737-9s in Alaska's fleet. Of the remaining 131 aircraft, 79 are firm orders and 52 are options. We now envision a mix of 70 737-9s, 60 737-10s and 15 737-8s for the 145 planes.
"The 737 MAX family can meet a broad range of missions, while reducing fuel use, cutting emissions and offering commonality for passengers and crews alike. We look forward to supporting Alaska as they diversify their 737 MAX family with the 737-8 and 737-10," said Brad McMullen, vice president of North America Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
Alaska expects to take delivery of our first 737-8 airplanes in the second half of 2023 and our first 737-10s in early 2024. They will build on the success of the 737-9 which offers 20% better fuel efficiency and generates 20% less carbon emissions per seat than the Airbus A320 they're replacing. The three 737 MAX models offer several key common features, such as the same cockpit, same engines, and similar aircraft and engine components.
On board our planes, we have seat pitch that's worth talking about. We're the only U.S. airline with an average of 40" pitch in First Class and 35" in Premium Class across our mainline fleet – giving our guests plenty more room to stretch out. Our guests will also soon enjoy refreshed updates to all 61 of our 737-800 aircraft as we invest $20 million to brighten, refurbish and add conveniences to those cabins with modifications scheduled to begin in August.
Alaska is a member of theoneworld global alliance. With oneworld and our additional airline partners, our guests can earn and redeem miles with our highly-acclaimed Mileage Plan program to fly on more than 20 oneworld and partner airlines all around the globe.
Alaska remains committed to Next-Level Care for its guests and employees by implementing more than 100 ways to maintain the highest standard of safety – from clean planes to clean air in the cabin with hospital-grade air filtration systems. For everyone's safety on board, Alaska continues to enforce the federally mandated mask policy, even for those who are fully vaccinated.