Alaska begins 737 seat retrofits

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Alaska Airlines has begun installing new slimline Recaro seats to the first of 73 Boeing 737s, says vice-president of marketing Joe Sprague.

The 737-800 is in the shop now and scheduled to enter service in December, he says during an investor day on 14 November. The Seattle-based carrier plans to have its entire fleet of 737-800 and 737-900 aircraft reconfigured with the new seats by the end of 2014.

Alaska is investing $47 million in the retrofits, which will add six seats for a total of 163 to its 737-800s and 11 seats for 181 to its 737-900s.

The airline has 61 737-800s and 12 737-900s in its fleet, according to Flightglobal’s Ascend Online database.

Andrew Harrison, vice-president of planning and revenue management at Alaska, says that revenues per trip will increase about 3% on a roughly 1% decrease in expenses for both the 737-800 and 737-900 fleets following the retrofits.

The upgrades also include the addition of power outlets at each seat and streaming wireless entertainment to each aircraft.

Alaska’s larger 737-900ER aircraft are entering service with the Recaro seats and cabin upgrades as they are delivered from Boeing.

The carrier has 11 737-900ERs in its fleet and 32 on firm order, Ascend shows.