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Will Alaska keep Virgin America's Airbuses???

After hearing of the merge between AS and VX [Good luck to Alaska by the way:)] I'm wondering if AS will truly keep VX's Airbus fleet since they display the decal, "Proudly all Boeing." Just a thought that popped into my head this morning as I watched VX taking off from KLAS. ( More...

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canuck44 7
Virgin has all the assets in place to maintain and operate the Airbus fleet. This would not be a priority to a merger for initially they can continue to operate them as they do now and avoid the high capital reinvestment costs until the merger settles down. The have to integrate the business and the IT first and they can integrate ticketing and ground facilities. When that is operating they can the turn to the flying side, unless they plan to keep them separate.

Seniority lists will have to be integrated and that is likely to be the first major hurtle. Down the road they may elect to go with a single type, but all this speculation is far too early.

When it comes time to select new aircraft, it will depend on what is owned outright and what is leased. The latter will likely go first and their intentions will become clear on with what they replace them.
Very reasoned response. What is in the cards for the future is anyone's guess, and there are probably a lot of people looking at from both sides.

Ideally, the biggest goal is to maintain, and perhaps adapt what worked so well for Virgin. Virgin has a loyal following because of it's product, and to meddle with that product would be a loss for the merged company.
Juan Pacheco 2
A mature response, point for you there. Let's wait and see if future changes in mid & long term puts AS into anogher direction.....
Leased ... and when they end, the first ones in approximately 2 years, they can decide.
I think you can find plenty of articles stating that this was a defensive move, growth for sure, but
limtiing Jet Blue in AS territory.
aidannorman 3
There was nothing in the article about wether or not the Airbuses will stay
AWAAlum 2
This quote from the article may be a hint: "The Seattle-based company would also have to train pilots and maintenance crews on a new aircraft type from Virgin America's fleet of Airbus Group SE A320-family planes. Alaska Air currently flies Boeing Co 737s."
Check google for some other reports
dee9bee 2
Is it really going to be a merger, or a buyout, like their relationship with Horizon?
aidannorman 2
I think they"ll keep them.
Look at Delta before they took over Northwest, they had an all MD and Boeing fleet and they kept the Airbus planes from Northwest and they still today love them, they're geting 100 brand new Airbus planes from Airbus now.
I think Alaska should try the Airbus planes
crewdoggy 2
This is an "only time will tell" type of question. I think the fact that the airplanes are leased will be part of the decision. Part of the decision will be maintenance, having to keep spare parts for two different airplanes and where will the parts be stored. I don't think that except for one employee group the integration of the Airbus into Alaska's system will not make any difference. But that employee group is a significant one. It is the pilot group and it will not be the integration of the seniority list that help make the decision, it will be the type ratings required for the different aircraft and scheduling of those aircraft. With one type on property pilots can fly anywhere and the integration of their schedules are much easier to maintain. If there are two types of aircraft on property and they don't have a common type rating you can't efficiently schedule your crews. I'm not making any predictions, but it will be interesting to see how this all works out.
Just my opinion, I'm guessing a selling of the A319s and A320s. Think of the different type ratings, mechanics, etc that come along with new aircraft. Add to that the fact that the NG is a little more fuel efficient :).
James Hanley 2
I think they will rent or sell them off and use some of that moolah to buy more Boeing's.
Shane Piper 2
Alaska Air & Virgin America Deal

With the upcoming acquisition of Virgin America comes a fleet of 60 Airbus A319 and A320 Aircraft. Sounds great, right? Not if you own and operate 147 Boeing 737s. Like a collector of Corvettes has every Chevy tool in their garage what does he do if he comes across a fleet of Mustangs?

The aviation industry is not unfamiliar with this type of transition. When Southwest took over Air Tran, they took over 88 Boeing 717s that as you know do not match the distinctive Boeing 737 they exclusively fly. Southwest ended up leasing those 717’s to Delta Airlines who was happy to accept.

Now if Alaska Air decides to follow the same path, who would at all be interested? Possibly the larger American Airlines which currently operates 125 A319 and 54 A320. I am sure the cash strapped largest U.S Carrier would be interested in a garage sale of aircraft.

Now this may seem like not a problem to the regular traveler but if you have ever noticed on the nose of Alaska Air planes, they have painted “Proudly All Boeing”. Interesting.
-Shane Piper​
Damon Harvey -1
I hope you work for at least ONE of the airlines you are talking about. Because for the most part you are COMPLETELY INCORRECT on most assertions. It is as if you are sitting in the mid 80s somewhere...foggy goggles.
djames225 4
What is Shane incorrect about?
First off, even relative to SWA, is he aware that SWA flew the B727?

As far as AAL goes, it was them and COA at the time that stated that they would never have an airbus aircraft in their fleet... with AAL forgetting about the A300s they flew out of JFK, and look at where COA is now, as well as the fact that they also flew A300s.

FFT converted from an entire B737 fleet to the A320 family between 1998 and 2008.

So saying "proudly all xxx" is always subject to change.

Also, while staying in the mainline, ASA just recently purchased the Embraer E175 for its regional service. QXE will be flying the aircraft, but the aircraft will keep the mainline livery. While waiting to get those in, the A320s they are going to be taking on will help with regional service, where ASA is getting hammered by DAL and their sales pitch of "even our regional service is run with jets", taking shot at the Q400s QXE runs.

So to say that ASA is Proudly All Boeing is definitely a misnomer.
djames225 1
SWA did in fact short lease 7 B727's (1 from Braniff I belive and 6 from People's Express)way back when first starting out while waiting for their 737 deliveries..and when I say short lease I meant very short lease, the Braniff lease being 11 months and the Peoples Express being a tad over 2 years...we are talking in today's terms, not those of when SWA first started out...And ASA did not purchase any Embraer E175 for their fleet or their regional Horizon Air (QXE)..SkyWest has the Embraer E175 and Bombardier CRJ700 in their fleet and flies them on behalf of Alaska Airlines, the same way they fly for United, Delta and American..As of right now, since the Virgin acquisition is not a yet done deal (remember that Virgin Shareholders still need to vote..etc etc etc) Alaska Airlines itself has 152 Boeing B737's of different flavors and Horizon Air has 52 Q400's...their timeline to operate a single airline certificate, should everything go ahead and stay on target, is 1Q of for ASA to say "Proudly All Boeing" is no misnomer

ASA has firm orders for the E175. They are paying for those with their own money, not coming from SKW.
djames225 1
I researched right from the horse's mouth (Alaska Airline site) not a newspaper article..that was back in February and nothing has been said since..except the possible Virgin/Alaska merger
You mean here?

This says nothing about them being operated by SKW, which we know that some of them are.

However, you have the following:

And seeing that they did fly the MD82/MD83, it definitely is a misnomer. and with E175s being in the mainline livery and not under QXE, it's definitely going to be a misnomer.
djames225 2
The E175's are all Skywests..Skywest owns, operates and maintains the craft and Alaska markets etc the flights the same way United, Delta and American have contracts with Skywest....that first link you posted if you see it says aircraft in fleet and is blank...Alaska Airlines itself only operates B737's of different flavors, Horizon Air only operates Q-400's until 2018 when they send 15 leased units back and then may take some of the Skywest craft.."Proudly All Boeing" , on the Alaska Airlines craft, wasnt placed until late 2008/early 2009 when the last MD80 was retired..and even so..Boeing owned MD at that time so it wouldnt have been a misnomer even if on them ahead of time.
On the contrary. MD aircraft are that: McDonnell Douglas aircraft. The MD82, MD83, DC9, DC10, MD10, and MD11 didn't all just become Boeing products when Boeing bought McDonnell-Douglas. They were McDonnel Douglas aircraft all the way to the end.

And it's obvious that you didn't even read the links in question, as that first link stated that the E175s they are getting would align cleanly with the B737s they already have, as well as the E175s already operated by SKW.

And even regardless of that, by them running those, and running the MD80 series in their fleet, like I said, makes the 'Proudly All Boeing" a total misnomer, as they aren't the only aircraft in their mainline fleet.
Steve Cook 2
If the MD80 was McDonnell Douglas to the end, why did Boeing renumber it as the 717?
djames225 1
They dont have the MD 80 any longer, the saying "Proudly All Boeing" was placed after the last MD retired and I did read the article even if its a news article "The new aircraft will likely have about 76-seats and be operated by regional partner Horizon Air, says the Seattle-based carrier's chief financial officer Brandon Pedersen during an earnings call today."..perhaps it is you who should read and also look at the date of publication of January 21 2016..and yes the B737 IS the only aircraft they have in their mainline fleet at present time...that is all and I am signing off
Tom Bruce 1
think the A319/320 are leased and leases to run out in 2021... and AK has more 737s on order... looks like a slow orderly conversion to the 737... AK bought Virgin to cut down the competition on the West coast
John Bourdon 1
Alaska will stay all Boeing. They've flown 737's for a long time. They had some MD-80's and gradually got rid of them. With both firms being from the Northwest (Boeing still has a major presence in Seattle), I expect as leases run out on the Airbus planes, they'll add Boeing planes to replace them. But...will they all be 737's?
CMillerQuest 1
Nearly all of VX's Airbus fleet is leased, not owned--with leases set to expire beginning in 2020. I think it AS won't make a decision until nearer to the lease expiration, because as Canuck44 says, AS has bigger, more immediate, fish to fry.
Juan Pacheco 1
I don't think so, airbuses demand different maintenance needs than boeing, are more complex aircraft. I believe VX will have to increase it's spending budget without affecting AS market prices......
Wondered about this too. Really thought JetBlue would do better with the similar fleet and they both share the same LAX terminal as a hub. Alaska will have to move and deal with a split fleet. It looks like Alaska/VA and JetBlue will end up roughly the same size and be similar companies, based mostly on different coasts.
Not entirely. JBU doesn't use LAX as its hub. It flies there, but that is not its west coast hub.

LGB is, and ASA does have a presence there, so that would have been an incentive for VRD to go with JBU. But that would also mean moving a lot of its operations down the 110 to LGB, which may not be a decent option for VRD.

This does, however, give ASA much more of a presence and foothold at SFO and would compete better with SWA there, and quite possibly be able to shift some of the competition over to OAK.

It will be interesting to see how their route map lays out, because that would assume no changes in aircrafts or service; Additionally, no-one is looking at this from the other side.

I mean, if the A320neo series is outperforming the B737MAX, could ASA go entirely Airbus for their mainline fleet, and keep the DH8Qs and E170s (recently acquiring) for regional/smaller service?
Dwight Hartje 0
I go for Alaska going all Boeing.
Matt Winhall 2
Thank you Scott! It'll be interesting to see what happens for sure!
Pay site, waste of time posting it.
Decals over expansion ? Come on !
Matt Winhall 3
Yeah, I thought of that too. But they've had so many years to add an Airbus type to the fleet but haven't. I also get the fact that they will have many more airports to service, they will need a larger fleet. Do you know why they've stuck with Boeing all these years?
Oh I think it's because they have such a big market in Seattle and Portland.
Staying loyal to the locals :)
Matt Winhall 2
Ahhh, that does make sense! I think it's great for AS to make more of their presence known in the eastern half of the US. Lots of possibilities! Off the top of my head I know Alaska and Southwest are probably the only airlines in the America's that fly a Boeing only fleet.
Jason Ritchie 2
Sun Country Airlines based at MSP is an all Boeing 737 NG fleet. They do lease a few additional 737's from Transavia during their busy winter season.
djames225 1
Canadian WestJet is an all Boeing Fleet for mainline...makes sense too from a cost standpoint as far as parts and mechanics
william baker 0
Alaskan doesn't own all Boeings. I believe they have some Q-400 from Bombarider as well if I'm not mistaken.
That's the difference - not mainline - Horizon is a sub of AS
william baker -2
Not mainline but they still own them
Matt Winhall 1
Good point. I didn't mention them because I thought Horizon "technically" owns them and I thought Horizon was a totally separate entity. Correct me if I'm wrong, I want to have the correct information:)
william baker 0
That last I knew that Alaskan does own Horizon so they belong to Alaskan airlines just operated by Horizon. They even have the Alaskan name on them.
30west 2
William, I think I'm getting in the weeds on this, but Alaska Air Group owns both Alaska Airlines and Horizon Airlines. Who owns what a/c, I don't know. I think it is fair to say that Alaska Airlines is a 100% Boeing fleet airline.
william baker -1
Alaskan owns the aircrafts. Yes they aren't mainline but they own 100%of horizon including the aircraft. Yes they operate an all Boeing fleet for there mainline but they also operate the Q-400 as there regional airline Horizon
30west 3
There is a subtle difference between Alaska Air Group vs. Alaska Airlines. Are you sure it isn't Alaska Air Group that owns the Horizon Air Dashes (and for that matter the Alaska Airlines 73's) ? What is your source? Thanks.
Matt Winhall -1
Oh okay, I see what you mean. Kind of how Republic fly's for American Air?
william baker -1
No.Republican airlines was owned by northwest airlines not American. They also operated for both American and United today so there not one a sole company like horizon is for Alaskan. Horizon doesn't fly for anyone else but Alaksan who is there parent company which also owns them.
Matt Winhall -1
Okay, got it! Thanks for explaining it!
mobilken -2
Comair, DL made sure it went out of business
william baker -1
That's funny because they are still flying.
boughbw 0
Gol (Varig) of Brasil flies a 737-only fleet.

Swapping aircraft, retraining pilots, dealing with unions (pilots and mechanics)... Alaska will integrate the 320s with little thought to it, joining American, Delta, and United in operating both popular aircraft.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

You do realize that Airbus planes are made in the US, right?
Roy Hunte 1
He must be a Boeing Employee.
Ian Deans 0
What rubbish...."trash planes?" Idiot.
mobilken 0
Type ratings, parts, and maintenance will be OK. It will be staging those crews or keeping the Airbus on Airbus routs and Boeing on Boeing routes. AS, I feel can not keep up with the dollar for service value we have become familiar with from VA.


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