Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Continental takes delivery of first Next-Generation Boeing 737-900ER

Continental Airlines B737-900EREarlier this week,  Continental Airlines took delivery of its first Boeing Next-Generation 737-900ER aircraft. Continental was the first carrier in the Americas to order this long-range, high-capacity derivative of the aircraft type, and now will be the first to operate the aircraft as well.

A news release issued jointly by Continental and Boeing quoted Continental's CEO Larry Kellner who said, "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. These aircraft are part of our continued focus on fleet modernization, fuel efficiency and delivering the best product in the business."

Continental's B737-900ER is configured with 173 seats in two classes: 20 first class seats, and 153 in economy. The airline has 26 more of these aircraft on order, and expects to take delivery of two to three new Next-Generation 737s per month this year, on average, including a mix of 737-900ERs and 737-800s.

All aircraft of this type are equipped with performance-enhancing Blended Winglets, said to improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions by up to 4 percent. According to Boeing, the 737-900ER also 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).

Boeing says that, to date, eight customers around the world have placed orders for 169 Next-Generation 737-900ERs.

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