U.S. carrier Alaska exercises options to buy 52 more MAX jets from Boeing

An Alaska Airlines aircraft lands at Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia

(Reuters) – Alaska Airlines will exercise options to purchase 52 more 737 MAX jets from U.S. planemaker Boeing Co as the carrier phases out Airbus SE aircraft from its fleet, the company said on Wednesday.

The multi-billion dollar deal for the jets, which are due to be delivered between 2024 and 2027, will expand Alaska’s MAX fleet to 146 from 94. The airline has also secured rights for 105 more planes through 2030.

The deal is the latest narrowbody order for Boeing this year and underscores strong demand for the jets as airlines tap into a resurgence in travel.

The carrier said the order includes Boeing’s 737-10 jets, a new variant of the best-selling MAX family that may miss the year-end deadline to gain approval from the U.S. regulator.

The planemaker will have to rehaul the MAX 10’s cockpits under a 2020 law if it misses that deadline, unless that requirement is waived by U.S. Congress.

Alaska said it could operate over 250 new 737 MAX jets by 2030. The carrier added it was on track to sunset European planemaker Airbus’ aircraft by 2023-end.

(Reporting by Abhijith Ganapavaram in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)