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Fri, Apr 21, 2006

Southwest Airlines Converts Options To Orders For 79 Boeing 737s

Next Gen Order Tally Now Exceeds Sales Of Classic Series

On Thursday, Boeing and Southwest Airlines announced the Dallas, TX-based low cost airline converted options for 79 Next-Generation 737-700s into orders, bringing the airline's total past and future Boeing orders for 737-700s to 370 airplanes.

Airplanes covered by the converted options will be delivered between 2007 and 2012 in a deal worth approximately $4.5 billion at list prices. Southwest now has 140 undelivered 737s on order from Boeing.

Southwest operates an all-Boeing fleet of 452 737s, including seven airplanes delivered so far this year.

"Southwest Airlines and the 737 are one of commercial aviation's greatest success stories," said Alan Mulally, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO. "Southwest's continued choice of the 737 validates our shared view that passengers want affordable, comfortable nonstop service to where they want to go, when they want to go there."

"The 737 has contributed to Southwest's success through double-digit utilization rates, low fuel consumption, low maintenance costs and quick turnaround times," Mulally said.

"This exercise of options will facilitate our growth plans into the next decade," said Laura Wright, Southwest's chief financial officer. "The 737 is an efficient airplane and it will help us bring more low fares to millions of customers."

In February, Southwest took delivery of the 5,000th Boeing 737. Later this summer, Southwest is also slated to receive Boeing's 2,000th Next-Generation 737.

Boeing has sold more than 6,200 737s to carriers worldwide. On June 18, 1971, Southwest took to the skies with three Boeing-financed 737-200s. Since then the carrier has been the launch customer for the 737-300, the 737-500 and the 737-700 models.

The Southwest order is significant for another reason, as well: with this order, sales of Next-Generation 737 airplanes (-600, -700, -800, -900, -900ER) have eclipsed sales of the Classic 737 airplane family. The number of Next-Generation 737s sold now totals 3,162 -- compared with 3,132 Classic 737s sold.

As of March 31, 2006, Boeing Commercial Airplanes had 1,177 unfilled orders for the 737 with a value of about $75 billion at list prices.

FMI: www.boeing.com/commercial/737family/, www.southwest.com

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