After an exhaustive year-long evaluation, Southwest Airlines is to add blended winglets to its in-service fleet of 133 Boeing 737-700s, as well as to a further 36 aircraft still to be delivered. The carrier has also taken options on 373 winglet shipsets, developed by Aviation Partners Boeing (APB), for other 737-700s it has on firm order or option.

Although the value of the order - APB's largest ever - is undisclosed, it is worth $122 million at the list price of $725,000 for the 737-700 winglet, but Southwest is certain to have obtained a significant discount. Through its analysis, Southwest validated APB's claims that winglets save 4% in fuel consumption, equivalent to 92,000gal (348,258l) per year for a 737-700, said Mike Marino, APB chief executive.

Southwest will begin adding the winglets in October, and will have completed the 169 installations within two years. They will be performed at its Dallas Love Field technical operation and at Goodrich in Seattle, with another installation house to be selected.

APB also announced at Paris that 737-700 winglets are now being offered for installation on production aircraft. This will begin from the fourth quarter of 2004.

With the Southwest order, APB now has 487 firm orders for 737 winglets.


Source: Flight Daily News