updated 7/19/2005 8:32:53 AM ET 2005-07-19T12:32:53

The Boeing Co. launched a new version of its narrow-body 737 jet on Monday, as it completed a 30-plane sales agreement with Lion Air, a low-cost Indonesian carrier.

The 737-900ER, formerly known as the 737-900X, is designed to carry more passengers and fly farther than existing models of the single-aisle plane.

Chicago-based Boeing said Lion Air's order, which included purchase rights for another 30 planes, was worth $3.9 billion at list prices, though airlines typically negotiate substantial discounts.

The new plane will be the same size as the current 737-900, but will carry an additional 26 passengers, boosting the maximum capacity to 215 in a single class.

Aerodynamic and structural design changes, including stronger wings and improvements to the leading- and trailing-edge flap systems, will increase the plane's range to roughly 3,680 miles, up from 3,160.

The first 737-900ER is scheduled for delivery in the first half of 2007.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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