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Boeing 737-900ER Rivalling Airbus A321

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

13 September 2012

Boeing has welcomed the achievement of a major milestone for its Next-Generation 737-900 Extended Range (ER) aircraft, having secured orders surpassing 500 in early September.

The company reported that it had secured a total of 537 orders from 17 customers in 10 countries, and demand for the aircraft has more than doubled since the beginning of 2010, both in terms of orders and the number of interested customers. Having entered service significantly earlier, the A321 - the 737-900ER's closest competitor - has so far secured 1,219 orders, with 736 deliveries, as of September 5, 2012.

The 737-900 Extended Range variant was designed to enable the aircraft to compete with Airbus's A321 model, which has been in service since 1994.

Boeing's existing model the 737-900 - its longest variant in the 737 Family to date - was replaced by the Extended Range variant to enable it to provide an 8% lower trip cost and a 6% lower per seat-mile cost compared to the A321, by incorporating the latest technologies, increasing fuel capacity and introducing standard winglets to improve range over other 737 variants.

The 737-900 was introduced to succeed the larger 757-200, which ceased production in 2006. Shortcomings in the 737-900 were improved upon in the Extended Range variant which saw its first delivery to Lion Air on April 27, 2007. The aircraft now provides the best seat-mile cost of any single-aisle airplane, and Boeing highlighted that operators also benefit from the commonality of the aircraft against other 737 family aircraft, bringing down maintenance costs.

A change to the layout of the 737-900, as present in the Extended Range variant, increased the capacity of the aircraft from 177 passengers in a 2-class configuration and 189 passengers in a single-class configuration to a capacity of 180 passengers in a 2-class configuration and 215 in a single-class layout, respectively, improving profitability.

TAGS: aviation

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