First Customer Delivery Expected In Early 2007
Boeing representatives tell Aero-News that company engineers
have completed 90 percent of the design work on the newest variant
of the stalwart 737, the 737-900ER.
The milestone means that nearly all of the engineering work
necessary to build parts and tools for assembly has been completed
and released to manufacturing.
"This is a critical milestone for the airplane as we make the
transition from the development phase to the production phase,"
said Mike Delaney, 737 chief project engineer. "With most of the
drawings complete, our suppliers and fabrication plants can begin
manufacturing detailed parts."
What's more, the design milestone was reached spot-on the target
date, meaning Boeing is on schedule to begin final assembly of the
first 737-900ER this spring at the company's Renton, WA
As Aero-News reported last
year, the -900ER was launched in July 2005 with a
30-airplane order from Indonesian carrier Lion Air. The Next
Generation 737-900ER is designed to carry up to 215 passengers and
fly up to 3,200 nautical miles (5,925 km).
Lion Air is expected to receive the first 737-900ER in the first
half of 2007, after a five-month flight test program conducted
using two test airplanes.
Ramp spotters will be able to identify the -900ER most readily
by its additional pair of exit doors, as well as a two-position
tail skid and blended winglets. A flat rear pressure bulkhead,
aerodynamic and structural design changes that enhance low-speed
and cruise performance, enhancements to the leading and
trailing-edge flap systems, and strengthened wings are also part of
All -900ERs will be powered by the CFM International CFM56-7B
Boeing stressed the new derivative will have substantial
economic advantages over the competing A321 -- including 9 percent
lower operating costs per trip and 7 percent lower operating costs