Boeing back on track with $6 billion order

AirTran Airways announced today that it has placed an order for 100 new Boeing 737-700 and -800 series aircraft. The deal could be worth up to $6 billion at list prices.

AirTran Airways announced today that it has placed an order for 100 new Boeing 737-700 and -800 series aircraft, of which 50 are firm orders and 50 are options. The low-cost airline has also placed an additional order for up to 10 Boeing 717 aircraft. The deal is estimated to be worth up to $6 billion at list prices.

By the end of 2003, AirTran Airways’ fleet will be comprised of 73 Boeing 717 aircraft. With this new Boeing order, plus options, the airline’s current fleet will more than double by 2008. The first aircraft delivery is scheduled for mid-2004 with additional deliveries to follow at a rate of approximately one per month through to 2008.

The aircraft deal, reached after weeks of negotiations, will be a combination lease-purchase agreement. The airline will purchase some Boeing 737 aircraft from Boeing and will lease some 737 aircraft from GECAS, General Electric’s aviation leasing company.

’Building on our long-standing partnership with Boeing, this aircraft order ensures that AirTran Airways is poised to move into the next stage as one of the country’s major carriers,’ said Joe Leonard, AirTran Airways’ chairman and chief executive officer.

’The Boeing 737 is a phenomenal airplane,’ added Leonard. ’We’re confident that these new aircraft will produce consistent operating results, building on the efficiency and reliability of our 717 fleet, thus reducing our costs and allowing us to pass the savings on to our customers.’

One of the newest members of the Boeing Next-Generation 737 family, the 737-700 is said to be one of the world’s most popular and reliable jet aircraft in its class.

Powered by CFM56-7 engines produced by CFM International, a joint company between Snecma Moteurs of France and General Electric, the 737 features a typical cruising speed of Mach 0.78 or 578 miles per hour and a range of up to 3,250 miles at maximum certified altitudes of 41,000 feet.