Bountiful harvest

As we here in the U.S. get set to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, the Next-Generation 737 family is celebrating two recent milestones - the 15th anniversary of the program’s launch and the 5,000th Next-Generation 737 order.

Either of those two achievements by themselves would be noteworthy. But put them together and it’s really extraordinary. It means that the Next-Generation 737 has reached the 5,000th order milestone faster than any other commercial jetliner. Picture this: if you could take all the Next-Generation 737s currently on order and put them nose-to-tail, the line would be 55 miles long.

Since the launch order from Southwest Airlines for 63 737-700s on Nov. 17, 1993, we’ve averaged more than 330 orders each year for this incredibly capable airplane. To put that in perspective, there are programs out there that would consider it a success to have 330 orders, period.

And as you can see below, this is an airplane that has made its mark with customers across the globe.

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Next-Generation 737 customers are everywhere. Click on the map to go to an interactive version featuring congratulatory messages from many of our airline customers around the world.

It’s no coincidence that Southwest was the launch customer - and is our largest customer for the “Next-Gen.” They developed the successful low-fare airline model that’s now been duplicated in many other regions. And the magic behind that business model is flying a single airplane type. That means that pilots and mechanics need to be trained on only one kind of airplane. It also means lower inventory, simplified record keeping and efficient maintenance costs. With a single airplane type you minimize the number of technical manuals, tools and spare parts, and of course fleet management is greatly simplified.

Obviously, though, it has to be the right airplane. And the Next-Generation 737 has been such a success for airlines worldwide because it is reliable and provides low operating costs. And while it’s really hard to improve on such a winning airplane, we’ve done it. We’ve steadily enhanced the 737 over the past several years - with improvements in performance, comfort and navigation precision.

The 737 is the backbone of carriers around the world, and not just low-cost carriers. It’s been ordered by more than 100 airlines and leasing companies from Aeromexico to Xiamen Airlines. It’s the hugely popular base of the Boeing Business Jet and is the platform for the P-8A Poseidon. It’s even being used as an on-demand flying hospital in Sweden.

On top of everything else, now that’s something to be thankful for!

Comments (7)

JAHC (Monterrey, MX):

Congratulations to everybody at Boeing on this successful program. I personally love to fly on Aeromexico's 737s. I love to see those big wings blend on take off, and better with those beautiful winglets. No doubt the 737 is a wonderful bird.

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

The 737 has been the largest success story in the history of airliners and if it was not for the decision to launch the third, Next-Gen generation of 737, the 737 would probably not be in production in 2008.

I think the 737 and in particularly the Next-Generation of 737 has done well because it has the reliability and capacity that budget airlines need and it happens to fall in the right time when we see a real expansion and formation of successful budget airlines like Southwest, Air Tran, Ryanair and Gol. We have also seen airlines that have never flown 737's before like Aeromexico and Korean Air to replace their DC-9's and MD-80's.

I think the production of the 737 will continue well into the next decade and maybe even beyond, I suspect that in a few years we may well see the order list for the 737 exceed 10,000 orders, certainly a tribute to the people who design fly and build the 737. Well done.

Harilton Rodrigues (São Paulo, Brazil):

One word only: Amazing!

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

Fantastic - for so many reasons. It's amazing how far the right formulae can fly. The 737 Next-Generation Family has been such an outstanding success - in every way measurable because Boeing gave the market exactly the product required. Economy. Reliability. Cost Effectiveness. Safety. It goes without saying that the more economical it is, the better it is for the environment.

When talking about a 737 replacement, you have to realise that the 737 is The Competition. The Benchmark.

And therein lies the story of the 747, because like the 737, it has flown pretty far. Seeing what is being done on the 747-8, it would be a pretty good bet to say that the 747 has some distance to go, yet.

P.Sumantri (France):

The 737NG is an excellent proof that a major modification on an "old" model can be very successful. Another example of a successful model based on an existing one is the 777-300ER.

Tim... (Baltimore , Md):

Hi Randy .. now I will talk about the NG - 737 ...
Just think ? in 9 or so years the 737 has been in full production for 50 YEARS !! .. now that is a testament to the people who thought of the 737 program back in the 60s, and a enduring plane.

In the NG program does Boeing plan on putting more composites in the 737 ? maybe a full composite fuselage ? wing box ? parts of the wings ? electronic plane like the 787 ??

Or does the 737 design not allow of some of those kinds of technological improvements ?

The 737 would be even a greater plane and more fuel efficient if you can make the wings and fuselage lighter, and hopefully a new engine.

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

Yes. The 777-300ER is made in that very same spirit. And it was and, continues to be an absolute pleasure to watch.

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