Boeing [NYSE: BA] and China Eastern Airlines (Yunnan) celebrated the delivery of the airline's first two Next-Generation
737-700s modified for operations in some of the most remote, high-altitude regions.
The modifications include one hour of additional emergency oxygen supply and enhancements to the cabin pressure control system that allows operations at airports located at up to 14,500 feet. These airplanes can use the high-elevation airports in Western China such as Lhasa and Bangda.
"The high-altitude and extensive oxygen package will provide additional capability for China's carriers as they support the country's initiative to improve access and service to western China," said Boeing Commercial Airplanes Vice President, China Sales Rob Laird.
CEA's Yunnan subsidiary, based in the provincial capital of Kunming, operates a fleet of 737-300s, 737-700s and 767-300s for domestic and international destinations. China Eastern (Yunnan) has ordered four 737-700s with the modifications. All these 737-700s are leased from International Lease Finance Corp. (ILFC).
China's domestic air travel growth rate is the world's highest. Most of the country's demand for new airplanes will be for single-aisle models such as the Boeing Next-Generation 737.
The Next-Generation 737s fly higher, faster, farther, and more quietly than comparable airplanes, while offering greater fuel efficiency. To date, 84 airlines have placed orders for more than 2,600 Next-Generation 737s.