SEATTLE - Despite its merger with all Airbus-equipped Virgin America in the fall of 2016, Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden indicates it's likely Alaska Airlines will replace more than 60 Virgin America Airbus 320s with Boeing 737s.
For years before the merger, Alaska has noted that the airline is "proudly all Boeing."
The remarks were made this week before an event held by the Puget Sound Business Journal.
Tilden says Alaska and Virgin American plan to fully combine under one FAA operating certificate, computer and accounting systems on January 11, 2018, an airline spokesperson confirms.
Alaska officially took over Virgin America in December 2016.
While the carriers coordinate flights and allow each other's frequent fliers to accumulate points on both airlines, the carriers technically operate separately but owned by the same holding company, Alaska Air Group.
That will change in January as Virgin's Airbus 320 series jets will begin to be repainted into Alaska colors as the companies fully combine.
Tilden said it will take time to phase out to replace Airbus planes. Part of the reason is getting more 737s. Boeing has a long order backlog for its 737s, including the new 737 MAX.
But if you see other manufacturers planes painted up for Alaska Airlines, you are not seeing things.
Alaska's sister airline Horizon operates regional jets made by manufacturers in Canada and Brazil. Alaska also contracts for some flights using Brazilian-built Embraer 175s, operated by Sky West.
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