Boeing Introduces 737-500 With Little Fanfare
RENTON, Wash. (AP) _ The Boeing Co. on Thursday introduced its new 737-500, a high-technology jet designed to serve airlines flying shorter routes within a hub system.
Boeing said it passed up a chance to unveil the twinjet at the ongoing Paris Air Show because the new model of the 737 series is basically a familiar design that makes use of advances already employed in other Boeing jets.
The successor of the 737-200 twinjet will carry 108 passengers, be quieter and consume 20 percent less fuel, said Joe Ozimek, a marketing manager for Boeing’s 737 and 757 models.
Industry analysts said the 737-500 helps round out the Boeing family and gives it a model in the 100-passenger range.
″I think what Boeing is really trying to do is have a product for all ends of the market,″ said Bill Whitlow Jr., an aerospace analyst for Dain Bosworth in Seattle.
Last April, American Airlines placed a $3.1 billion order with Fokker, the Dutch plane maker, for 150 planes that carry about 100 passengers each.
The 737-500 will have the same advanced engines and avionics of the 737-300 and will have a range of approximately 3,450 statute miles.
The first 737-500 will be delivered to Southwest Airlines in March 1990, after flight testing to begin late this month, Ozimek said.
Sixteen customers have placed 138 orders for the model, which costs $24 million to $28 million, depending on its interior configuration and the date of delivery.
The planes will be equipped with CFM56-3 engines, which allow air to pass through them at a low velocity, reducing noise and allowing the plane to meet the limits for noise set by the U.S. government, Ozimek said. The engines are produced in the United States by a joint venture of General Electric Co. and SNECMA of France.
Production of the 737-500 is running ahead of schedule despite a backlog of orders for other Boeing models. The company currently has a backlog of 1,558 aircraft, which has pushed delivery dates to 1996.
Boeing recently expanded its plant in Auburn, where much of the 737 model is manufactured and assembled. A $300 million expansion has started at Boeing’s Renton plant.