Air Transport World

Boeing rolls out 737-300.

Boeing rolls out 737-300

Renton--Boeing Commercial Aircraft Company officials clearly were upbeat during the rollout of the first 737-300, which also happens to be the 1001st 737 produced. Perhaps the most important fact bearing on the future of the 737-300 program and further 737 variants as well is the number of operators worldwide using the aircraft--134, the greatest of any civil transport. The next most important fact is the changing, or changed, nature of airline route structures, with a new emphasis on feed and frequency. Both bode well for this ubiquitous twinjet and are just cause for the Boeing officials' smiles.

"The 737 will outpace the 727 program' to become the largest selling jetliner of all time, said Joseph F. Sutter, BCAC VP. Even as the first major change in the basic 737 was rolled out in the form of the dash 300 the company was discussing plans that likely will produce at least one more major 737 variant, and maybe as many as three (see accompaning story for Boeing plans).

First flight and beginning of the 737-300 test program is, at presstime, set for this month. Aim is to complete nearly 800 flight test hours with the first two dash 300s in order to gain FAA certification for November deliveries. A key Boeing goal is to get FAA approval for pilots to operate both the dash 200 and 300 with the same type rating.

The 737-300 is not the 150-seater described in the wish lists of several major airlines, though it can seat up to 149 passengers in a tight 30-in. pitch. It is, however, close enough to an idealized 150-seater in size and technology update that likely it will eat into that market.

Dash 300 order book

At rollout the 737-300 order book was off to a good start, with six airlines acknowledging orders for 56 dash 300s and options for 40 more. Philip M. Condit, VP-general manager, Boeing Renton Div. …

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