Boeing [NYSE: BA] and Continental Airlines [NYSE:CAL] today celebrated the delivery of the airline’s first Next-Generation 737-900ER (Extended Range) airplane.
With this delivery, Continental becomes the first airline in the Americas to operate the 737-900ER, a higher-capacity, longer-range derivative and newest member of the Next-Generation 737 airplane family.
Continental was the first airline in the Americas to order the 737-900ER and currently has 26 more on order. Continental this year expects to take delivery of an average of two-to-three new Next-Generation 737s per month, which includes a mix of 737-900ERs and 737-800s. The airplanes are part of Continental’s comprehensive fleet strategy, which focuses on improving operational efficiency and customer comfort.
„Continental’s new 737-900ER will have among the lowest operating costs in the industry and allows us to build upon our efficient Boeing Next-Generation 737 fleet,“ said Larry Kellner, chairman and chief executive officer of Continental Airlines. „These aircraft are part of our continued focus on fleet modernization, fuel efficiency and delivering the best product in the business.“
„With more range, outstanding reliability and the best operating economics of any single-aisle jet in its class, the Boeing 737-900ER is an ideal fit for Continental’s growth plans,“ said John Wojick, vice president of Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. „These state-of-the-art Boeing airplanes certainly will contribute to Continental’s continued success.“
Continental’s 737-900ER is configured with 173 seats in a two-class layout, with 20 first-class and 153 economy-class seats. All of the airplanes are equipped with performance-enhancing Blended Winglets, which improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions by up to 4 percent. In the past 10 years, Continental has recorded a 35-percent improvement in fuel efficiency, mainly as a result of fleet modernization.
Launched in 2005, the 737-900ER increases the capability of the Next-Generation 737 by carrying more passengers and flying farther. The 737-900ER incorporates a new pair of exit doors and a flat, rear-pressure bulkhead that allow a maximum capacity of 220 passengers in a single-class layout. Aerodynamic and structural design changes allow the 737-900ER to accommodate higher takeoff weights and increase its range up to 3,175 nautical miles (5,885 km).
To date, eight customers have placed orders for 169 Next-Generation 737-900ERs. The 737 is the best-selling commercial jetliner in history, with more than 7,600 orders to more than 245 customers around the world. Boeing has more than 2,000 unfilled orders for the airplane with a value exceeding $145 billion at current list prices.