New Generation Super-Stretch: 737-900 Profiles
On August 3, 2000 the flight testing of the new 737-900 began. Stretched 104 inches over the 737-800, the great similarities between the longer 737-900 and its shorter stablemate allowed Boeing to use only one instrumented flight-test airframe. After nearly a year of flying the test aircraft accumulated 296 flights, 649 flight-hours and 156 ground testing hours and the 737-900 received FAA certification on April 17, 2001. JAA type validation followed two days later, and the longest 737 in history entered commercial service with Alaska taking first delivery on May 16, 2001.
Alaska was the launch customer of the 737-900 and received the first three airframes off the production line. Registered N305AS, N306AS and N307AS, they quickly found themselves in service. A total of five are now in service, with a split class arrangement with 16 first class seats and 156 coach class seats. Alaska has four more 737-900s on order.
The livery of the stretched 737 is the same as that of the rest of the Alaska Fleet, with the large eskimo on the tail and the big "Alaska" on the forward fuselage.
Continental was the second operator to take delivery of the 737-900, receiving the first example on May 29, 2001. Also opting for a two-class arrangement, Continental's 737-900s have 18 first class seats and 149 coach class seats. A total of eight planes are now in service, with three more on order.
Continental's livery features their trademark globe in gold on a blue tail, with a thin gold cheatline separating the lower gray from the upper white. While the lower gray looks like the standard BAC gray worn on many Boeing aircraft, close inspection actually reveals it to be a slightly different shade. The difference is insignificant from a modeler's point of view, though.
Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM)
KLM is the world's oldest airline still operating under its original name. On October 7, 1919 KLM was formed, with Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands granting the airline the right to bear the 'Royal' title. Since then KLM has operated a wide variety of aircraft and continues to do so today. Their latest aircraft is the stretched 737, with the first being delivered on June 29, 2001. Three more have been delivered for a fleet total of four.
KLM's livery hasn't changed much over the years and the current scheme features a light blue upper fuselage with a blue and white cheatline. The white tail has a simplified royal crown with the airline's name, and the KLM/Northwest alliance emblem is on the forward fuselage.
Korean Airlines is the most recent recipient of the 737-900, taking delivery of its first plane on November 11, 2001. As of December 12 only one has been delivered, but Korean Air has three more slated for delivery.
Korean Air's livery is an attractive one, with a blue upper fuselage and tail separated from the white belly by a silver cheatline. The Korean Air emblem is on the tail as well as replacing the 'o' in Korean.