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BOEING ROLLS OUT 2,500TH 737 AND LOOKS TO THE FUTURE

 SEATTLE, June 16 /PRNewswire/ -- A Boeing 737-300 scheduled for delivery to Southwest Airlines rolled out of the factory today as the 2,500th 737, setting a new milestone in commercial aviation, according to Boeing Commercial Airplane Group.
 With this aircraft, Boeing becomes the first commercial aircraft manufacturer to have built 2,500 airplanes of the same type. The twinjet 737 has won firm orders for 3,044 airplanes. The 737, now built in three sizes carrying 108 to 146 passengers, has ranked as the world's best-selling commercial jetliner since 1987, when it eclipsed the previous best seller, the 727, which achieved total sales of 1,831 airplanes.
 "Since we started the program back in 1965, the secret of the 737's success has been continuous improvement," said Gordon Bethune, vice president and general manager of Boeing Commercial Airplane Group's Renton Division, where the 737 is assembled.
 "We've listened to our customers since day one and kept improving the airplane to meet their changing market needs," he said. "That's how we ended up, to this day, with the best product in its class ... and building 2,500 of them."
 Beginning with the program launch in 1965, Boeing has produced two generations and five models of the 737 -- the first-generation 737-100 and -200 and, in the 1980s, the current generation 737-300/400/500 family of twinjets.
 Southwest Airlines, whose entire fleet is 737s, was a launch customer when the first current generation model, the 737-300, was first offered in 1981. It was also the launch customer when the third and smallest member, the 737-500, was offered in 1987.
 "Southwest has relied on the 737 exclusively to carry out our policy of offering low, low fares at high, high frequencies," said Herb Kelleher, chairman of Southwest, in a message to Boeing employees. "We're proud that we could be a launch customer for both the 737-300 and the 737-500 to serve alongside our fleet of 737-200 aircraft; the airplane is the perfect vehicle for our type of operation. Boeing employees should be very proud of the quality and reliability built into this workhorse."
 "When we began this program, no one ever imagined we would build 2,500 737s," said Ron Woodard, Boeing Commercial Airplane Group executive vice president. "And personally, I believe this airplane will continue to exceed expectations," he added. "We want to be here one day for the rollout of the 5,000th 737."
 Woodard said the 737 became a best-seller because of its simplicity, reliability, family commonality and low operating costs. "That's what our customers -- including Southwest -- say is important to them."
 The 737s delivered in the past two years have a dispatch reliability of 99.5 percent. The entire 737-300/400/500 fleet worldwide averages 99.2 percent, the highest reliability in the industry.
 -0- 6/16/93
 /CONTACT: Steve Smith of Boeing Commercial Airplane Group, 206-237-0600/
 (BA)


CO: Boeing Commercial Airplane Group; Southwest Airlines ST: Washington IN: AIR SU:

SW -- SE005 -- 2660 06/16/93 13:46 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 16, 1993
Words:498
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