Alaska Airlines expands CFM-powered Boeing 737 fleet

October 11, 2012

SEATTLE, Washington  – Alaska Airlines today placed the largest order in its history, announcing the purchase of CFM engines to power 50 new Boeing 737 aircraft.   The announcement includes firm orders for 13 Boeing Next-Generation 737-900ER airplanes powered by CFM56-7B engines, in addition to 20 737 MAX 8 and 17 737 MAX 9 airplanes powered by the advanced LEAP-1B engines.

“This order positions us for growth and ensures that we’ll continue to operate the quietest and most fuel-efficient aircraft available for the foreseeable future. That means our customers will continue to enjoy a comfortable inflight experience, low fares and excellent on-time performance,” Alaska Airlines President and CEO Brad Tilden said.

Alaska Airlines is a long-time CFM customer and actually launched the CFM56-7B powerplant on the Boeing Next-Generation 737-900 aircraft variant in 1997.  Today, the airline operates an all CFM-powered fleet of 120 Boeing 737 aircraft.  The new airplanes announced today will be used to replace older aircraft and to support the airline’s anticipated growth. 

“Alaska has been a great customer for us over the years and we are honored by its continued faith in the current CFM56 product line and the confidence this order shows in the new LEAP-1B engine,” said Jean-Paul Ebanga, president and CEO of CFM International.   “Our promise is to show them, every day, they this confidence is well-placed.”

The LEAP-1B engine, which is the result of an exhaustive six-year collaboration effort with Boeing, is the exclusive powerplant for the new 737 variant.   The 737 MAX continues a 30-year relationship between CFM and Boeing; CFM engines have been the sole powerplant for all 737 aircraft sold since 1981.

LEAP engines incorporate revolutionary technologies never before seen in the single-aisle aircraft segment.  The new engine combines advanced aerodynamic design techniques, lighter, more durable materials, and leading-edge environmental technologies, making it a major breakthrough in engine technology. 

As a result, operators of the 737 MAX will achieve up to 13 percent lower fuel burn compared to today’s best CFM56-powered 737; an equivalent reduction in carbon emissions; a 50 percent reduction in NOx emissions versus current ICAO CAEP/6 requirements; a engine noise signature well below anticipated regulatory limits; all while maintaining the benefits of CFM’s legendary reliability and low maintenance costs.

About CFM

The CFM56-7B and LEAP engine families are products of CFM International, a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran group) and GE.   CFM is the world’s largest commercial aircraft engine supplier, and the company has delivered approximately 24,000 engines to more than 530 operators around the globe.  The CFM56 fleet has logged more than 600 million flight hours in the past 30 years as the most reliable engines in the air.

About Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines, a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK), together with its partner regional airlines, serves 95 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico. Alaska Airlines has ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Traditional Network Carriers” in the J.D. Power and Associates North America Airline Satisfaction StudySM for five consecutive years from 2008 to 2012.

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