Outside the Boeing 737 Factory in Renton, WA. Photo by Chris Sloan / Airchive.com.

Outside the Boeing 737 Factory in Renton, WA. Photo by Chris Sloan / Airchive.com.

This story was written by Chris Sloan and originally was published on Airchive.com. This is the first of a multi-part series looking at the Boeing 737 factory in Renton.

On the evening of March 18, 2013 Boeing’s Renton Plant rolled out its first Boeing 737, a 737-800 bound for Panamanian Airline COPA, at the astounding new production rate of 38 aircraft per month. Boeing had only reached 35 airplanes per month, its previous historic high commercial production rate in January 2012. 2 days later on March 20, 2013, Boeing delivered the 7500th 737, the 7,229nd example built at Renton (more on this later). By Spring 2014, the rate is expected to leap to 42 aircraft per month.

In 2015, Renton will begin production of the new 737 MAX that is due to enter commercial service in 2017, 50 years after the 737 first entered service in 1967! The Boeing 737 is the best-selling and longest continuously produced commercial airliner of all time with over 10,500 deliveries and orders. As of April, 2013 between the new Max (1,234) and current the Next-Generation (4,395), the 737 backlog stands at 3,136 aircraft. With the increased production rates, the current order book will take 6 ½ years alone to clear. Boeing’s current market outlook estimates 23,000 new narrow body airliner orders in the 737 / A320 families category over the next 20 years. Three draw dropping data-points stand out:

  • 40% of the world’s jetliner fleet has been manufactured at Renton.
  • Renton has produced an astonishing total of over 15,000 aircraft making it one of the most prolific aircraft factories, and the most prolific jetliner factory in history.
  • With approximately 5,600 737s in service, 25% of the world’s large jet fleet (non RJ) are Boeing 737s.
Alaska Airlines increases fees, but also increases benefits. Photo by David Parker Brown / AirlineReporter.com

Alaska Airlines increases fees, but also increases benefits. Photo by David Parker Brown / AirlineReporter.com

Hearing that an airline is increasing fees doesn’t really mean much anymore, since it is common news. It has worked out well for airlines to increase their profits and although passengers complain, they continue to pay them.

Alaska Airlines is planning to increase their checked bag and change fees near the end of this year. The new change fee will go from $75 online and $100 over the phone to $125. Passengers who make their changes 60 or more days before departure will receive no extra fees.

Currently, a checked bag will cost $20, but that will be increased to $25. A bigger increase are additional bags which will go from $20 per bag to $25 to a second bag and then $75 per bag after that.  However, with the increased fees, Alaska is sweetening their Baggage Service Guarantee.

Unique to Alaska Airlines, if your bag does not arrive at the luggage carousel with-in 20 minutes of your aircraft arriving to the gate, you will receive a reward of sorts. Either a $20 discount code for future Alaska Airlines flight or 2,000 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan bonus miles. As Alaska increases their fees, they will also increase the amount passengers will receive. The time still remains at 20 minutes, but if a bag does not make it in time, passengers will get either a $25 discount code or 2,500 Mileage Plan Miles.

Yea -- this is not to shabby. Photo by Jason Rabinowitz / AirlineReporter.com

Yea — this is not to shabby. Photo by Jason Rabinowitz / AirlineReporter.com

Recently, I embarked on a journey to Fiji to experience Fiji Airways’ brand new Airbus A330. Thankfully, once I got to Fiji I didn’t just turn around and go home, I got to experience Fiji for several days, and I had an absolute blast. Over four days, I stayed at several high end resorts, experienced some amazing adventures, and threw in some #AvGeek awesomeness along the way.

Upon arriving in Fiji on the brand new A330, the tour company Rosie Holidays shuttled us to our first destination, the Radisson Blu Resort on Denarau Island, about a 40 minute drive from the airport. We were only spending one night at the Radisson, but I was quite impressed with the property. The rooms were fairly large, and free (but slow) wifi was available everywhere. The highlight of our stay at the Radisson Blu came in the form of dinner in one of their pools — yes in. The tables and chairs were in water about 3 feet deep [see photo below], creating a very cool and unique atmosphere.

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This post will be updated when new stories on Asiana Airlines Flight 214 are posted to AirlineReporter.com. It will remain as the top story, but scroll down for additional airline stories.