Bavaria Becomes Latest Customer For New Boeing 717-200

Bavaria International Aircraft Leasing Company today became the newest customer for the Boeing 717-200 passenger airliner, with an order for five airplanes.

Bavaria, based in Munich, Germany, will lease the airplanes to operating airlines around the world, with deliveries scheduled in late 1999 and into the year 2000.

The order was disclosed jointly by Robert Salzl, Bavaria's managing director and member of the executive board of the Schorghuber Group, and Ron Woodard, president of Boeing Commercial Airplane Group. Value of the order was not disclosed.

The order makes Bavaria the first 717-200 customer in Europe, the first leasing company to acquire the airplanes and the second announced buyer for the new model after launch customer AirTran Airlines of Orlando, Florida.

"With the Boeing 717-200 model we aim to serve the market niche below the Boeing 737 category as well as above the notably smaller regional-aircraft operation," Salzl said. "We foresee a considerable demand for this type of aircraft, the so-called 100-seater, especially since at present there is no alternative model on the market. The regional airline business, which is presently booming, will be in a position to offer its increasingly demanding customers a very comfortable and economic aircraft. We expect it to meet with much greater market acceptance than the turboprop aircraft still on the market now."

Boeing Commercial Airplane Group's Douglas Products Division in Long Beach is developing the 717 to meet airline needs for efficient, 100-seat transports for regional services where passenger traffic is growing rapidly but does not require larger airplanes.

"We are delighted to have Bavaria as our newest customer for this airplane," Woodard said. "Both our own market research and our customers have confirmed that there is a market for a 100-seat airplane. We also believed from the start that the 717-200 would meet the needs of our European customers. This order confirms that we are going in the right direction."

Karsten Sensen, also managing director of Bavaria, said, "With the 717-200, Boeing offers an aircraft which combines the proven robust design of the Douglas twinjets with modern technology and brand-new engines. The newly developed BMW / Rolls-Royce engines made in Germany offer operational quality with environmentally friendly and economical characteristics. As a German leasing company, we are pleased to support the marketing of a product in which the German industry plays a major role."

The first four 717 airplanes are in final assembly at the Boeing Douglas Products Division in Long Beach, including three instrumented test models and the first production model. Formal rollout of the first airplane is planned for June 10. Customer deliveries will begin in 1999 after completion of the flight-test program and concurrent type certification by airworthiness authorities of the United States and Europe.

Designed for regional services where low cost and high reliability are essential, the 717 is equipped with an advanced-technology cockpit that features the newest in computer-aided flight control, navigation and communications systems.

Two BR715 turbofans, rated at 18,500 pounds takeoff thrust, power the 717. BMW/Rolls-Royce is developing the engines at its Dahlewitz, Germany, facility. An international team of 14 major supplier-partners provides major subassemblies and systems for the airplane.