Boeing [NYSE: BA] on Friday delivered to GOL, Brazil's low-fare, low-cost airline, the first Next-Generation 737 with enhanced short runway landing and takeoff capabilities.
The 737-800 is the first of that model type delivered to GOL as the carrier augments capacity on domestic and regional international routes. It also is the first delivery of 67 737-800s the all-Boeing carrier has on order for delivery out to 2012. The airline currently operates 50 737s.
"We have worked with GOL to enhance the 737 and add value to its operations. Our partnership drove development of these enhancements that now will benefit the product line and many airlines around the world," said John Wojick, vice president Sales, Latin America and the Caribbean, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
The 737 design enhancements allow operators to fly increased payload in and out of airports with runways less than 5,000 feet long. The design enhancements include a two-position tail skid that enables reduced approach speeds, sealed leading-edge slats that provide increased lift during takeoff, and increased flight spoiler deflection on the ground that improves takeoff and landing performance.
"Boeing helped us to expand our capacity on the most profitable route in Brazil, (Sao Paulo-Rio De Janeiro) while offering comfort and safety to our clients," said David Barioni, GOL's vice president, technical.
The short-field performance changes were developed starting in 2004 in response to GOL's needs at Santos Dumont airstrip in Rio de Janeiro. That 4,300-foot runway is short compared to other runways and could not accommodate larger airplanes at higher approach speeds with full payloads.
The short-field design package is an option on the 737-600, -700 and -800 and is standard equipment for the new 737-900ER. The enhancements increase payload capability for landing up to 8,000 pounds on the 737-800 and 737-900ER and up to 4,000 pounds on the 737-600 and 737-700. They also increase payload capability for takeoff up to 2,000 pounds on the 737-800 and 737-900ER and up to 400 pounds on the 737-600 and 737-700.
To date, 11 customers have ordered the short-field performance package for more than 250 airplanes. In addition to GOL, Alaska Airlines, Air Europa, Air India, Egyptair, GE Commercial Aviation Services (GECAS), Hapagfly, Japan Airlines, Pegasus Airlines, Sky Airlines and Turkish Airlines are among some of the operators that have ordered the design package.