Alaska begins flights on the 737-900ER

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Alaska Airlines flew its first Boeing 737-900ER between Seattle and San Diego today.

The aircraft is registered N402AS (MSN 41189) and was delivered on 23 October, according to Flightglobal's Ascend Online database. It has two CFM International CFM56 engines.

Seattle-based Alaska will fly the type on routes to the east coast and Hawaii, as well as on high-density routes along the west coast.

The carrier configured its 737-900ER with 165 seats, including 16 in first class and 149 economy seats. It is the first with the Recaro BL3520 slimline seat in North America.

"Boeing's sky interior and our new custom-designed seats represent the most significant cabin upgrades for Alaska Airlines in more than 20 years and are part of our goal to make flying more comfortable for our customers," says Brad Tilden, president and chief executive of the airline.

Alaska says that it will have four 737-900ERs in its fleet by the end of the year and will receive nine in 2013.

The airline has a firm order for 38 of the type with deliveries through 2017.