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Alaska Prepares for Boeing 737 MAX to Join Fleet, First Passenger Flights Expected in March

Nov 18, 2020 | Monitor, Transportation

One of Alaska’s 737-9 MAX at Boeing Field in Seattle.

Alaska Airlines

This March, Alaska Airlines is scheduled to start welcoming guests on its first Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Currently, Alaska Airlines does not have a MAX in its fleet, but expects delivery of the first plane in January, followed by several more throughout 2021.

On November 18, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified the MAX, giving the approval to all airlines to begin the process of bringing the aircraft back into service. After Alaska Airlines has tested and verified all required and necessary processes to prepare the aircraft for passenger service, its guests will fly solely on MAX aircraft.

The company has high expectations that Boeing has made the required changes and necessary improvements to the MAX.

Once the first MAX is delivered, Alaska Airlines will begin two months of testing and verifying all the necessary processes to prepare the aircraft for passenger service, which is scheduled to begin in March. Teams will put the plane through its paces, which includes flying it more than 19,000 miles and more than 50 flight hours all over the country, including Alaska and Hawaii.

In the coming weeks, pilots will also begin the required eight hours of flight simulator and computer-based training that focuses on the operation of the MAX. Alaska Airlines’ pilot training program for the MAX is more extensive than what’s required by the FAA and all maintenance technicians undergo a minimum 40 hours of training on the variations between the MAX and the existing 737 NG fleet, with certain technicians receiving additional specialized training.

More information about the training programs for the MAX can be found at alaskaair.com/737MAX.

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