The newest and largest member of the Boeing 737 family, the Next-Generation 737-900, today earned type certification from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Validation by Europe's Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) is expected by Friday, April 20.
The certification formally recognizes that the 737-900 has passed the stringent design and testing requirements mandated by the FAA and JAA, clearing the airplane for passenger service.
"This is an exciting day for Boeing and in particular the employees on the 737 program," said Jon Robinson, program manager for the 737-900. "This certification is a validation of the airplane's safety, reliability, performance and readiness to enter passenger service."
The certification clears the way for the first 737-900 to be delivered to launch customer Seattle-based Alaska Airlines in mid-May. Three other airlines, Continental, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Korean Airlines, also have placed orders for the airplane.
To receive certification, the 737-900 had to complete a flight-test program that began when the airplane made its first flight on Aug. 3, 2000. Over the course of eight months, the program's two flight-test airplanes completed 296 flights, 156 hours of ground testing and 649 hours of flight testing.
"We are extremely proud of our newest 737-900 and its most recent milestone," said Carolyn Corvi, vice president and general manager of the 737 program. "As the 737-900 enters service, it marks the culmination of eight years of work and continues to make the 737 the best-selling airplane in the world."
At 138 feet 2 inches (42.1 meters), the 737-900 is 8 feet 8 inches (2.6 meters) longer than the Next-Generation 737-800. The airplane can carry up to 177 passengers in a two-class configuration, 15 more than the 737-800, and 189 in a
one-class configuration. The extra capacity helps give the 737-900 the lowest operating costs per seat in its class.
In addition to the 737-900 and 737-800, the Next-Generation 737 family consists of the 737-600 and 737-700. The airplanes are designed to fly higher, faster, farther and quieter than previous 737 models and the competition. The family of airplanes is the most advanced in its class with a new larger wing, an advanced flight deck featuring the latest large flat panel display technology, greater range and new engines with improvements in noise, fuel burn, thrust and maintenance cost.
The 737 is the best selling commercial jetliner in history. To date, more than 3,900 737s have been delivered to more than 200 customers.