SunExpress Germany’s Boeing 737 MAX to go to Alaska Airlines


Boeing had been preparing SunExpress Germany’s 737 MAX 9, with its livery, since 2019. But with the type on the ground, it could not be delivered, so it has been resting its wings in the United States since then. When COVID hit, Lufthansa wound up SunExpress, leaving the MAX with nowhere to go. Now it looks like he’s found a new home with Alaska Airlines, starving for MAX.

Alaska Airlines gets a new Whitetail MAX 9. Photo: Alaska Airlines

An unwanted 737 MAX 9

Turkish airline SunExpress gave Boeing a much-needed vote of confidence at the 2019 Dubai Airshow when it announced it would exercise its options for 10 more Boeing 737 MAXs. This brought his total firm order to 42 aircraft, some of which were scheduled to head to SunExpress Germany,

The aircraft was built for SunExpress in 2019, but has been in storage since then. Fully delivered for SunExpress Germany, the MAX 9 took advantage of the sun in the United States, awaiting delivery once the guy was cleared to fly. It even received a German registration – D-ASMA.

Operated as a joint venture between Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines, SunExpress Germany was founded in June 2011 as a subsidiary of SunExpress. Having started operations with just three Boeing 737-800s flying from Germany to the Red Sea, it quickly grew into a mid-size leisure airline.

But in the midst of the COVID crisis, Lufthansa decided to liquidate the airline, its route network being partially taken over by SunExpress and Eurowings. Much of its 737-800 fleet moved to SunExpress (the Turkish branch), while three of its seven A330-200s ended up with Lufthansa’s latest airline, Eurowings Discover.

But what would become of the repainted 737 MAX 9?

Alaska Airlines will add another MAX

If there is one airline that is too eager to take spare MAX 9s, it is Alaska Airlines. The transporter took delivery of its first of its kind in January, after a grounding late last year, and has been putting it to the test ever since.

Clearly, the airline was satisfied with the performance of this new aircraft, confirming its order from December to the end of March. In May, it added an additional 13,737 MAX 9s to its fleet, and in August, it agreed to exercise more options for another 12 MAX 9. These newly exercised options are expected to be delivered in 2023 and 2024, but the Alaska is eager to get its hands on the next generation aircraft.

Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX
A Samoa Airways MAX 9 was spotted with an Alaska Airlines rudder earlier this week. Photo: Preston Fiedler

Just days ago, it was revealed that the MAX 9 ordered by Samoa Airways in January 2019 will now be heading to Alaska Airlines. Today it became known that another MAX 9 would soon join the Alaska fleet – D-ASMA from the original order from SunExpress Germany.

D-ASMA was spotted in Seattle in the colors of Alaska Airlines, with the exception of the rudder. While it appears the rudder ended up on a plane that was supposed to go to Samoa Airways, it didn’t. Rudders should be rebalanced when repainted. In the Samoa Airlines plane above, this was done before the full paint scheme.

However, in the case of the SunExpress MAX, the aircraft received the full paint scheme but is still waiting to be able to balance its rudder. The former SunExpress MAX is currently flying under Boeing test registration N1784B, before being assigned its new Alaska Airlines registration number.

According to ch-aviation, Alaska Airlines’ current MAX 9 fleet consists of five aircraft. Another 75 are expected by the airline in the coming years, with several expected to arrive before the end of this year. The MAX 9 enables Alaska to accelerate its transition to an all-Boeing fleet, while helping it meet its sustainability goals.

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