Less than a month after its first delivery to an airline, and two months after FAA/JAA certification, the latest member of Boeing's Next Generation 737 family is making its international debut in Le Bourget¹s static park. At 138ft 2in (42.1m), the 737-900 is the longest of the four Next Generation 737 models. As configured by launch customer Alaska Airlines it carries 172 passengers in two classes; maximum seating is 189 single-class. The Alaska -900 is the first of 11 ordered by the airline, all to be in service by April 2003. Three other carriers will add the type to their fleets this year. Continental Airlines already has its first, while KLM will get its initial example later this month. Korean Airlines is due to follow in November. The –900's certification flight-test programme began with the first flight last August. In the ensuing eight months two aircraft completed nearly 300 flights, 156hr of ground testing and around 650hr in the air. Boeing claims that the 737-900 has the lowest operating costs per seat and the best fuel efficiency of any single-aisle airliner in its class.

Source: Flight Daily News