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Posted at 2:07 PM ET, 12/15/2010

Southwest to order larger planes

By Associated Press and Staff Reports

Southwest Airlines will order 20 new, larger versions of the Boeing 737 that could pave the way for the all-domestic airline to offer international flights.

CEO Gary Kelly said Wednesday that Southwest will change an existing order with Boeing to get new 737-800 jets beginning in early 2012.

The 737-800s have 38 more seats than the largest planes in Southwest's current fleet.

The airline plans to add international service when it completes the purchase of AirTran Airways, which flies to Mexico and the Caribbean.

Kelly says the new plane could be used to fly to Hawaii, Alaska, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Southwest Airlines announced earlier this fall that it would buy AirTran in a $1.4 billion merger. The deal would position Southwest to become the Washington area's dominant airline, with 31.5 percent of the region's air travel.

By Associated Press and Staff Reports  | December 15, 2010; 2:07 PM ET
Categories:  Airlines, Aviation  
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Comments

Will they have TVs on the plane like JetBlue?!?! Until then, I'm not flying Southwest!

Posted by: sigmagrrl | December 15, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Getting the 800 series of the 737s is a smart move both for international travel and for many of their domestic routes.

What is going to be the harder fix is the integration of the AirTran fleet of 717s (MD-80 family aircraft) and their pilots into the Southwest mix. Having an all-737 fleet made moving flight deck crew between aircraft easy. Having to juggle and/or cross-train the pilots on two families of aircraft and the related assignment issues will put Southwest directly in the lap of one of the problems faced by the legacy carriers with multi-model fleets. That will be the show to watch unfold!

As for the lack of TVs being the reason not to fly Southwest, an interesting priority. IMHO.

Posted by: jimmy_mac | December 15, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

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