Boeing offered its extended-range 737-900X to Japan Airlines (JAL) as part of the carrier's planned order for 30 737s, but JAL says "the 737-800 will probably be our main choice this time".
According to JAL, Boeing "included this aircraft [the -900X] in their formal proposal" and will keep the option open.
JAL announced on 4 February that it planned to order 30 new 737s and take 10 options for delivery from the second half of the 2006 fiscal year.
The airline says a decision on which variants it will take will be made before the formal contract signing in the coming months, adding that it can choose between the 737-800, which typically seats 180 passengers, the smaller -700 and larger -900X. This longer range model would be a stronger competitor to the Airbus A321.
While JAL says "the likelihood of going for the -800 is high", its mention of the -900X has sparked interest in the order plan because the variant has yet to be launched by Boeing, which says that "even if the -900X is in the mix, we don't know if it will be enough to launch it".
The -900X would have increased weights and seat up to 220 passengers in a high-density configuration, as it would have an extra pair of emergency exits aft of the wing.
NICHOLAS IONIDES / SINGAPORE
Source: Flight International