Classic Models To Be Retrofitted With NextGen Avionics
Boeing has been selected by Southwest Airlines as the lead
integrator for the airline's 737-300/-700 flight deck upgrade to
incorporate advanced performance-based navigation capabilities.
Boeing's role will include design, installation and integration of
new hardware and software from multiple suppliers, as well as
flight testing and certification.
Under this large-scale integration program, the airline's
737-300s will be modified with new and enhanced avionics supplied
by GE Aviation, Honeywell and Rockwell Collins. Boeing will oversee
integration of twin 15.4-inch General Electric SDS-6000 glass
displays, which enable Required Navigation Performance
(RNP) -- a navigation technology that enables an aircraft
to operate within a tight corridor of airspace with Global
Positioning System guidance.
With the upgrade, most of Southwest's Classic 737s will
more closely align the 737-300 and 737-700 flight decks, creating
commonality, and allowing the 737-300 to operate in the same
preferred airspace as the newer 737-700s.
The 737-300 enhancements will also position Southwest for
additional features, currently under development, that will support
future airspace requirements. TheRNP enhancements will help
the airline reduce fuel consumption, enhance safety and situational
awareness, and minimize aircraft emissions and noise resulting in
improved efficiency and reduced costs.
"Southwest is a great airline and partner and we're proud to
support in their initiatives toward more efficient operations,"
said Kevin Schemm, vice president, North America Sales, Boeing
Commercial Airplanes. "Boeing is committed to working with our
customers to introduce environmentally progressive lifecycle
"This upgrade program will enhance safety, situational
awareness, and fuel efficiency, and it will allow greater training
flexibility due to flight deck commonality," said Chuck Magill,
vice president of Flight Operations at Southwest Airlines. "But the
bottom line is that our customers will benefit from better
performance and continued low fares."
This isn't the first time Boeing has partnered with Southwest on
an avionics project. As the launch customer for the 737-700,
Southwest reached an efficient solution early in that plane's
development to the question of how to cross-train crews between
Classic and NextGen aircraft. The glass panel cockpit in the
-700 may be configured to emulate the "steam gauges" seen
in -300 cockpits, allowing both types to be flown by Southwest
pilots under a common type-rating.