Boeing capped off the week of the 2012 Farnborough Air Show with announcements of avalanche of orders for its Boeing 737 single aisle aircraft.
Latest big news came July 12th from US mega carrier United Airlines with an order for 150 Boeing 737.
Worth an estimated $14.7 billion, the order consists of 50 Next Generation Boeing 737-900ER (Extended Range) and 100 highly fuel efficient Boeing 737 MAX 9. The currently produced -900ER will allow the carrier to add newer planes in its fleet while awaiting the new 737 MAX design not scheduled to arrive until late 2017.
The 737 Next Generation initiative was Boeing 1993 attempt to provide a longer term viable replacement for -300/-400/-500 series which had then supplanted the -100/-200 ‘Classic’. While the first Next Generation -700 and -800 series received certifications in 1997 and 1998 respectively, the 737-900ER only received its certification in July of 2005. Equipped with additional fuel tanks, a new wing design integrating blended winglets and the longest fuselage of all the 737, the -900ER now commonly fitted with Boeing spacious Sky Interior can carry 180 passengers in 2-class layout at ranges of 3,235 nautical miles (5,990 km).
The 737 MAX 9 that will inherit fuselage dimensions a passenger capacity to the -900ER, will be a much more technologically advanced aircraft delivering double digit improvement in fuel burn over the Next Generation series thanks to the newly designed CFM International LEAP-1B engines and other aerodynamic refinements, particularly the double wing tip fences.
With delivery of its first 787 scheduled for September 2012, United stands as the launch customer in North America for both 787 and 737 MAX. Thus showcasing a strategy long espoused by Continental that a younger fleet can help secure sustainable growth on the key points of fuel efficiency, environment friendly (low emission) and low operating costs (maintenance, fuel). With a mainline fleet consisting of some 694 aircraft (as of May 2012), the new 737 will not only reinforce the 234 Boeing 737 (-500/-700/-800/-900) already on strength but also begin to replace the 155 Boeing 757-200 for which a maturing freighter conversion market has evolved.
For Boeing, this order has allowed the 737 program to breach the 10,000 orders mark (10,039 including more than 6,600 Next Generation), reaching 1,200 orders for the MAX and adding at least another 233 units in its 737 firm back log order for the single month of July. This week’s Farnborough Air Show which netted 75 Boeing 737 aircraft for Air Lease Corporation, 100 for GECAS (General Electric Capital Aviation Services), 20 for Kuwait’s ALAFCO and 15 for Dublin-based Avolon also marks these leasing firms unanimous recognition of the 737 as the most liquid tangible investment asset probably in existence.