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Alaska pushes back 737 Max deliveries until 2018

Alaska Airlines has pushed back delivery of its first Boeing 737 Max from late 2017 to early 2018, says the carrier's chief financial officer Brandon Pedersen.

"With so much going on, we wanted a bit more time to bring it into service," Pedersen says during Seattle-based Alaska's third quarter earnings call on 20 October.

The carrier's parent company Alaska Air Group is currently seeking final approval from US regulators for a proposed merger with competitor Virgin America, a deal that executives have predicted will close in the fourth quarter.

Alaska has firm orders for 20 737 Max 8s and 17 737 Max 9s, according to Flight Fleets Analyzer. The first aircraft – a 737 Max 8 – had been scheduled for delivery in December 2017, Fleets Analyzer shows.

Even without the 737 Max, Alaska's fleet will see notable changes next year.

The carrier in 2017 expects to take delivery of 13 new 737-900ERs and to retire 16 aircraft, including all remaining 737-400s, says Pedersen.

Also, regional subsidiary Horizon Air intends to receive its first Embraer 175 in March 2017 and to close the year with 13 of the type, says Pedersen.

Horizon's first E175 will likely enter service by 1 May 2017, he adds.

In addition, Alaska expects regional partner SkyWest Airlines will add five Alaska-branded E175s to its fleet next year, says Pedersen.

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