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 SEATTLE, Nov. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Boeing and Southwest Airlines announced today that the 737-X family of jetliners, the next-generation of the best-selling Boeing 737, will proceed on the strength of Southwest's commitment for 63 of the new twinjets for delivery in 1997 through 2001.
 The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) board of directors has authorized the go-ahead for the next-generation 737 program based on the Southwest order, which is subject to the signing of a definitive agreement.
 "Southwest has established itself as a leader -- not only in the marketplace but in selecting the right airplanes to meet the market's needs," said Dean Thornton, president of the Boeing Commercial Airplane Group. "They have a long history of commercial success by consistently applying their low-fare, high-value strategy."
 "Boeing has been fortunate to have Southwest as a successful business partner over the past 22 years, and we look forward to introducing this next-generation of 737s together," Thornton added. Southwest's entire fleet of 157 aircraft consists of Boeing 737s.
 Southwest's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Herb Kelleher said, "We are delighted to once again be the launch customer for a Boeing aircraft. The current 737 models serve our high frequency, short haul operation very well. However, Boeing's business offer, combined with the additional attributes and operational flexibility of the 737-X, made the economics of this agreement superior."
 The new order includes four 737-300Xs for delivery in the fall of 1997, 16 in each of 1998 and 1999, 15 in 2000, and 12 in 2001. Of the 63 new orders, 32 result from the conversion of existing 737-300 options.
 Southwest's existing orders for 50 Boeing 737-300s for delir?y in 1994-1997 are unaffected by this order.
 "When we started out two years ago to develop a future 737, we wanted to make sure we had an airplane with broad appeal that would meet the airlines' needs well into the next century," said Gordon Bethune, vice president and general manager of the Renton Division where the Boeing 737s and 757s are designed and assembled. "We are elated that Southwest will be the launch customer for our next-generation 737 family, just as they were for the 737-300 and -500."
 Like today's 737-300/400/500 family, the next-generation 737 is currently offered in three sizes. The -300X is the middle size member of the new family, equivalent in capacity to the 737-300, which seats 128 passengers in mixed class and 137 in SWA's single-class configuration.
 Customer orders will determine the actual model mix, timing and sequence of introduction, and sizes of follow-on models, which currently are planned to be larger and smaller than the initial -300X. The seating totals of the three models will cover a range from 108 to 160 passengers (mixed class).
 The new 737 family is a derivative of the current 737. It features a modified wing with a larger span, and quieter, more powerful engines. The next-generation 737s will maintain crew commonality with the current 737-300/400/500 airplanes.
 "We knew that Southwest, like all our customers, valued today's 737s for their simplicity, reliability, family commonality and low operating costs," said Bethune. "This next-generation of 737s will provide the same advantages, along with additional range, increased speed and less noise."
 The 737-300/400/500 fleet worldwide has the industry's highest dispatch reliability: 99.2 percent. Dispatch reliability is an industry measure of aircraft on-time performance.
 "We are going to build on that established reliability by using the proven systems and structures from the present 737 family wherever possible," he added. "Our goal was to take the best product in its class -- which the marketplace has voted for overwhelmingly with orders -- and add to its strengths. That is what we have done."
 The 737-X family will be powered by CFM56-3XS engines produced by CFMI, a joint venture of General Electric of the United States and SNECMA of France. The new engines will provide 10 percent more thrust than today's CFM56-3 engines while meeting noise standards considerably below Stage 3 standards. The new engines also offer lower fuel burn, reduced emission levels and lower maintenance costs.
 Boeing will produce current models along with the next-generation 737 family as long as customer demand warrants. "We fully expect that our current 737 models will continue to meet the needs of many of our customers for the foreseeable future," Bethune said.
 -0- 11/17/93
 /CONTACT: Steve Smith or Ginger Hardage of Boeing, 206-237-0600; or Southwest Airlines, 214-904-4524/

CO: The Boeing Co.; Southwest Airlines ST: Washington IN: AIR SU:

JH -- SE010 -- 5705 11/17/93 17:03 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 17, 1993

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