Alaska considers shedding 737-700s

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Alaska Air Group may consider selling newer Boeing 737-700s as capacity for Alaska Air for 2009 is scheduled to fall by 8% versus flat available seat mile (ASM) growth in 2008.

The company's consideration to sell those aircraft follows the retirement of the last Boeing MD-80 from the fleet of Alaska Airlines in August.

Seattle-based Alaska would consider selling between two and four -700s, depending on market conditions, vice president-finance Brandon Pedersen said during the Credit Suisse Global Airline Conference today.

The company has been aiming for a 7.5% capacity reduction for Alaska Airlines during the final quarter of the year, followed by a 10% to 12% reduction in the first quarter of 2009.

Capacity at Alaska Air Group subsidiary Horizon Air will drop by 20% during the fourth quarter, followed by a 14% drop in the first quarter. Full-year capacity at Horizon in 2009 is expected to mirror the full-year 8% reduction for 2008.

Recently Bombardier tabled a new schedule for Horizon's Q400 turboprops. The carrier is seeking to retime deliveries of 14 remaining 76-seat turboprops is has on order with the Canadian airframer.