The Cessna 172 is the world’s most produced aircraft. However, Boeing takes the best selling commercial aircraft crown with the Boeing 737. Simple Flying decided to take a look at how.
The majority of Boeing 737 sales have been aircraft other than the 737 MAX. With this in mind, this article will not focus on the current grounding of the type. The story of the Boeing 737 actually starts over 50 years ago in the 1960s. The aircraft’s preliminary design work began in 1964 on May 11th. Since then, the aircraft has gone on to sell in excess of 15,000 units.
Where did the 737 come from?
The Boeing 737 was originally designed in the 1960s. The aircraft was envisioned to be a two engined aircraft, complimenting the Boeing 707 and 727. Designs of the aircraft were started in 1964. Three years later in 1967, the 737 took its first flight on April 6th.
The first aircraft was registered as N73700 and was transferred to NASA in 1973. It now rests at Boeing Field. Lufthansa was the launch customer for the aircraft type, receiving the first production model in 1968.
15,161 units sold
According to records from Boeing, the company has sold 15,161 Boeing 737 aircraft. Of this number, 10,550 have so far been delivered. As such, 4,611 aircraft are still to be delivered by Boeing. The majority of outstanding deliveries are for the Boeing 737 MAX.
Indeed, the 10,000th Boeing 737 was delivered just last year on March 13th, 2018. The aircraft was a 737 MAX 8 which was delivered to Southwest Airlines. The momentous occasion was marked by the Guinness Book Of World Records who declared the 737 the “Most produced commercial jet aircraft model”.
An airline favourite
The Boeing 737 is one of the favourite aircraft for low-cost airlines. Indeed, Southwest Airlines has 753 active aircraft (including the MAX). Ryanair is also a huge fan of the 737. The European LCC currently exclusively operates the type with 425 currently in the fleet.
However, the aircraft is not exclusively utilised by low-cost carriers. We recently saw IAG place a letter of intent for 200 of the 737 MAX at the Paris Air Show. Meanwhile, each of the big three United States carriers operate sizeable 737 fleets.
Boeing is wrapping up production of non-MAX 737s, with only 61 orders left unfilled. The remaining 4,550 orders are for the 737 MAX. As everybody is well aware, the Boeing 737 MAX is currently affected by a worldwide flight ban. As such, Boeing is being forced to store the aircraft in their employee car park as they are running out of room.
Beyond the 737 MAX program, it is unclear what the future holds for the Boeing 737. While the manufacturer could keep adapting the design, I feel it is more likely that a new aircraft will replace it. However, this is speculation, and nobody knows how the MAX program will pan out. We do, however, know that the 737 will likely be around for many more years, as some are already being converted into freighters.
What do you think of the 737’s impressive sales? Let us know in the comments!