What does the 737-X do for Southwest?

From:         Watson_John/MEPTEC_dalhp002@dal.mobil.com
Date:         29 Nov 93 22:21:40 PST
Followups:    1 2
Next article
View raw article
  or MIME structure

Hi,

In reading the articles and posts on Southwest's new order of 
B-737-300X aircraft, one thought has struck me as odd.  Southwest has 
their home about two miles from my office at Dallas's Love field.  
Their route structure while growing all the time is based on frequent 
trips with many hops.  Basically, they are a short haul carrier 
without a hub operation.  While you can make some long flights with 
them, you can expect to make some stops along the way or even change 
planes.  

The new 737-X aircraft have larger engines and a bigger more efficient 
wing.  However, the downside of these increases is a reported 10,000 
pound increase in empty weight.  From what I have read, the airplane 
should not have extra range and can cruise at 41,000 feet for best 
efficiency.  

It would seem to me that for Southwest, they will not be able to take 
advantage of the longer range and higher cruising altitude offered by 
this option.  It would seem that at lower altitudes and shorter route 
segments, that the higher weight would be more of a penalty than a 
benefit.  One might say that Southwest is planning on making longer 
stages or even cross county routes where this would make sense.  If 
so, Southwest would loose one of their advantages in not having to 
have full galleys with ovens, etc.  {I don't think they can get by 
with three hour flights with just penuts.}

Can anyone shed any light on how the "X" upgrade would beneift 
Southwest?  Is the new wing so efficient, that short hauls are made 
more efficient?  Was the price that Boeing offered so competitive to 
get the new version off the ground that it was too good to pass up?

John T. Watson
Mobil R&D
Dallas, Tx.
jtwatson@dal.mobil.com