The first Boeing [NYSE:BA] Next-Generation 737-700ER (Extended Range) airplane took off from Boeing's Seattle Delivery Center today, bound for Japan and service with ANA (All Nippon Airways). ANA launched the 737-700ER program in January 2006, when it exercised rights to substitute 737-700s with two 737-700ERs.
ANA plans to begin using the airplane March 25 when it launches ANA BusinessJet, to serve international business travelers with 24 business class and 24 premium economy class seats, both in four-across configuration. With the airplane, ANA will open its fifth international route from Nagoya's Centrair Airport to Guangzhou, China, providing service on a daily basis. This will bring the number of China routes plied by ANA to a total of 20, with 147 flights per week.
"This new 737 configuration shows the versatility of the Next-Generation family, and the 737-700ER is attracting significant customer interest," said Scott Carson, president and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "It is particularly special that this introduction is with ANA, one of the world's foremost aviation innovators and a customer we value greatly."
"We are introducing the 737-700 as part of our commitment to flying the most efficient, customer pleasing and environmentally friendly fleet of next-generation aircraft," said ANA President and CEO Mineo Yamamoto. "With the new 737-700ER we can offer a product tailored for the business community and, at the same time, secure the cost benefits derived from streamlining our narrow-body fleet into one family of aircraft."
The 737-700ER is inspired by the Boeing Business Jet and is designed for long-range commercial applications. Cabin configuration is flexible, and may range from a 48-person, all-business-class cabin, as an example, to a more traditional 126-seat count to suit the airline's needs. The high-performance derivative can fly up to 2,145 nautical miles further than the current 737-700. With up to nine auxiliary fuel tanks and optional Blended Winglets, the Next-Generation 737-700ER is capable of flying 5,510 nautical miles.