PIA was the first Asian operator of Boeing 737-300. Initially a total of six Boeing 737-300s were delivered to PIA between May, 1985 and 1986. These Boeing 737s replaced its older Boeing 720Bs on PIA’s domestic and regional flights.
Copyright Photo: Ole Simon/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-340 AP-BCD (msn 23297) prepares to land in Dubai.
Shandong Airlines (Jinan, Shandong Province, China) has announced its intention to order 50 Boeing 737 aircraft including 16 Next-Generation 737s and 34 737 MAXs for delivery between 2016 and 2020. The order has not yet been finalized.
Boeing issued this short statement:
Shandong Airlines’ commitment to order 50 Boeing 737s, including 16 Next-Generation 737s and 34 737 MAXs. The airline plans to expand its capacity to meet growing demand in China and Northeast Asia, one of the most dynamic markets for commercial airplanes.
Copyright Photo: Joe G. Walker/AirlinersGallery.com. Shandong is already a large Boeing 737 operator with three Boeing 737-300s (which are being retired), three 737-700s and 58 of the pictured 737-800. Boeing 737-85N B-5785 (msn 39113) in the special DEEJ taxies at Seattle’s Boeing Field (BFI).
Air Lease Corporation has announced the long term lease of one Boeing 737-700 jet aircraft (msn 33015) to Airzena Georgian Airways (Tbilisi, Georgia). The aircraft is scheduled for delivery in October, 2013.
Airzena Georgian Airways is the designated national airline of Georgia, operating extensive scheduled services to many destinations in Europe, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and Russia, with Boeing 737s and CRJ regional jets.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. The carrier already operates the type but the new addition will replace an older Boeing 737-500. Boeing 737-790 WL 4L-TGM (msn 33012) taxies at Amsterdam.
Malindo Air (Kuala Lumpur) will launch operations with Boeing 737s on the Kuala Lumpur-Kota Kinabalu (three times daily) and Kuala Lumpur-Kuching (four times daily) routes on March 22.
Malindo Air is a joint venture between National Aerospace and Defence Industries (NADI) (51%) (Malaysia) and Lion Air (Jakarta, Indonesia) (49%). The name “Malindo” is a contraction of Malaysia and Indonesia.
Next the airline will add service from Kuala Lumpur to Bintulu, Miri, Sandakan and Sibu.
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Top Copyright Photo: Joe G. Walker. The pictured Boeing 737-9GP ER 9M-LNF (msn 38687) was the first -900ER to be handed over (in a basic Lion Air color scheme) on March 14, 2013. The airliner is also a milestone delivery and carries a special 7500th Boeing 737 logo by the nose (below, courtesy of Malindo Air).
Editor’s “To The Point” Observation: This new launch will sharpen the competition between AirAsia and Lion Air. To underscore this point, please read this report from Reuters about this growing feud:
Vision Airlines (Atlanta) started a new route linking Sanford (near Orlando) and Gulfport/Biloxi on February 6 per Anna Aero. Gulfport/Biloxi appears to be location of its current winter operations. The airline operates Boeing 737s on the two routes (see map below). The carrier has continuously shifted its route map in search of a winning winter/summer combination.
In June 2012 the airline cancelled its agreement with Globespan Aviation due to “Globespan’s failure to meet its financial obligations under the contract.” Globespan had tried to start a program to South Korea using Vision Airlines Boeing 767-200 ER but according to the airline, “it appears they do not have the financial support for the program.”
Copyright Photo: TMK Photography. Boeing 737-405 N745VA (msn 24271) taxies at Toronto (Pearson).
LOT Polish Airlines (Warsaw), because of its continued financial losses, is going to shrink in size according to this report by the Wall Street Journal. The carrier is phasing out its Boeing 737s and 767s. The Polish government, which controls 93 percent of the stock, issued $127 million in emergency loans to the struggling state carrier on December 21 to keep it out of bankruptcy. This loan, which may still be deemed illegal state aid by the European Commission, is keeping the airline aloft. The Polish government is restructuring the airline and only the most profitable routes will be kept. One half of the fleet is expected to be returned to the lessors according to the article.
Copyright Photo: Terry Wade. LOT is proud to be the first operator of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner in Europe but will it be able to continue to operate the new type? The 787 is planned to be assigned to the carrier’s long-range routes if those routes can be maintained with the restructuring. The first 787-8, SP-LRA (msn 35938) prepares to touch down at London (Heathrow) on its first visit.
Alaska Airlines (Seattle/Tacoma) today announced an order for 50 Boeing aircraft, including the 737 MAX—the new engine variant of the world’s best-selling airliner. The aircraft, which will be delivered between 2015 and 2022, represent the largest order in Alaska Airlines’ history and are worth $5 billion at manufacturer’s list prices.
The agreement includes firm orders for 13 Boeing Next-Generation 737-900ERs, 20 737 MAX 8s and 17 737 MAX 9s.
Alaska Airlines currently operates 120 Boeing 737s. The new firm aircraft order, plus 25 existing firm delivery positions, give the carrier the flexibility to manage its fleet size to meet air travel demand over the next decade. Two-thirds of the aircraft are expected to replace older airplanes. The remaining firm orders and options will enable Alaska Airlines to grow assuming sufficient customer demand and that the company continues to achieve its profit and return on invested capital goals.
Existing and new orders for the 737-900ER will be delivered starting in late October 2012 and continue through 2017. The first 737 MAX 8 is scheduled to enter Alaska’s fleet in 2018 followed by the first 737 MAX 9 in 2019. Alaska is the third U.S. airline to order the MAX.
All of Alaska’s new aircraft will feature the Boeing Sky Interior, with overhead bins that provide more storage and passenger headroom, variable ambient cabin lighting and, on the 737-900ER, Recaro leather seats with an innovative design that provides more legroom.
The 737 MAX will be equipped with the new LEAP-1B engine under development by CFM International, a joint venture between GE Aviation in Ohio and France-based Snecma (Safran group). The MAX will also feature raked “dual feather” winglets and a more aerodynamic tail cone. The aircraft is expected to be 13 percent more fuel efficient than today’s most fuel-efficient single-aisle aircraft.
737 MAX Quick Facts
Length: The 737 MAX 8 is 129 feet long and the 737 MAX 9 is slightly larger at 138 feet.
Wingspan: The wingspan on the 737 MAX 8 and 9 measures 117 feet, 10 inches.
Cruising speed: Both planes have a cruising speed of Mach 0.79 or 586 mph.
Range: The 737 MAX 8 can fly up to 4,080 miles and the MAX 9 3,850 miles.
Fuel economy: The 737 MAX is expected to be 13 percent more fuel efficient than today’s most fuel-efficient single-aisle aircraft.
Image: PRNewsFoto/Alaska Airlines. The order includes the 737-8 MAX.