By Mary Kirby in Philadelphia

A package of design enhancements that improve the short-field performance of Boeing's 737 Next Generation family has received US Federal Aviation Administration certification. The package is also expected to be approved shortly by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

The performance enhancements, which Boeing began flight testing on a 737-800 in January, allow operators to fly increased payload in and out of airports that have runways shorter than 1,525m (5,000ft).

The manufacturer initially launched the programme to enable Brazilian carrier Gol to operate 737-800s into the restricted 1,315m-long runway of Rio de Janeiro's Santos Dumont airport. The refurbished test aircraft was scheduled to be delivered to Gol last week.

Ten other customers have ordered the design package, which will be standard on the 737-900ER and offered as an option on the -600, -700 and -800.

Source: Flight International