Alaska Airlines Enhances San Francisco-Phoenix Route with Boeing 737 Fleet

By Ivan PetrenkoFeb 12, 2024 07:03 AMNews
Alaska Airlines plane flying in the air
Alaska Airlines plane flying in the air. Source: unsplash

In a strategic move to elevate its service and competition, Alaska Airlines has upgraded its aircraft on the San Francisco to Phoenix route, transitioning from smaller regional jets to the more spacious and efficient Boeing 737s. This upgrade not only signifies the route's strong performance and steady demand but also positions Alaska Airlines in direct competition with major carriers on this popular corridor.

Earlier this year, the Seattle-based carrier made a quiet yet impactful change by deploying Boeing 737-900, -900ER, and MAX 9 aircraft between San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX). According to simpleflying, this shift marks the first use of mainline aircraft on this route since its inception in Summer 2020, highlighting Alaska Airlines' commitment to providing an enhanced travel experience for its passengers.

The decision to utilize Boeing 737s reflects Alaska Airlines' broader strategy to streamline its fleet, optimizing for efficiency and passenger comfort. With the introduction of the Boeing 737s, Alaska Airlines now offers a more robust capacity, directly contending with four other airlines that operate similar narrowbody aircraft on the same route.

Originally operated by Horizon Air and SkyWest Airlines using Embraer E175 jets, the route offered more than 2,000 seats per month with each aircraft accommodating 76 passengers. The initial use of the E175 was likely a strategic decision to evaluate the route's viability and performance. Given the steady demand observed, Alaska Airlines has solidified its presence on this route with a significant increase in capacity.

December saw a notable increase in flights, with 62 scheduled flights providing 4,712 seats and over 3 million available seat miles (ASMs), predominantly operated by Horizon Air. This marked an increase from November's 46 total flights, demonstrating Alaska's agile response to passenger demand.

While not completely phasing out the E175s, Alaska Airlines has significantly increased the share of flights operated by mainline Boeing 737 aircraft. The recent schedule includes a diverse mix of Boeing 737 models, with the -900ER and MAX 9 taking the lead in the number of flights, and the introduction of the 737-800 model to the route.

Despite challenges such as the MAX 9 door blowout incident in January, which briefly grounded the model, Alaska Airlines has adeptly managed its fleet to maintain service continuity. The upcoming schedule indicates a predominance of mainline 737 operations, with SkyWest taking over the regional portion of the service, signaling a strategic shift in how Alaska Airlines approaches this key route.

Competing with giants like American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Frontier Airlines, and United Airlines, Alaska Airlines' upgrade to Boeing 737s on the San Francisco to Phoenix route underscores its commitment to offering a superior travel experience. With this strategic move, Alaska Airlines not only meets the demand but also sets a new standard for comfort and efficiency in air travel between these two dynamic cities.

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