Guinness Confirms Series As Most-Produced Large Airliner In
They're probably still celebrating in Renton, as Boeing and
Southwest Airlines held a party Monday celebrating the delivery of
the 5,000th 737 to come off the production line. Thousands of
Boeing employees and special guests attended the historic delivery
"The 737 is an icon of efficiency in air travel and one of
commercial aviation's greatest success stories," said Alan Mulally,
president and chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial
Airplanes. "We are absolutely thrilled that the world's largest 737
operator -- Southwest Airlines -- is the owner of this historic
airplane. Our partnership with Southwest and hundreds of other 737
customers has resulted in continuous improvements to the 737 and
its ability to help our customers be successful."
The 5,000th 737 -- a 737-700 painted in Southwest Airlines
colors -- is the 447th 737 to join the carrier's fleet. Southwest
has been a launch customer for three Boeing 737 models -- the
737-300, -500 and the -700.
"Southwest Airlines has been a proud Boeing customer for nearly
35 years, growing our 737 fleet to 445 at the end of 2005," said
Laura Wright, chief financial officer, Southwest Airlines. "We'll
take delivery of 33 more Boeing 737s in 2006, supporting our
continued growth across America."
Guinness World Records has recognized the 737 (as a series) as
the most-produced large commercial jet airplane in aviation
Airbus may argue the semantics of that, as the
consortium says its A320 (a separate member of a series that
also includes the A318, A319 and A321) is currently the most
ordered commercial airliner with more than 4,200 orders.
Despite outside appearances, today's 737s have very little in
common with their -100 and -200 forebears -- making today's 737 a
different aircraft altogether, in Airbus's eyes.
With more than 4,100 airplanes in service, the 737 represents
more than a quarter of the total worldwide fleet of large
commercial jets flying today. More than 541 operators fly 737s into
more than 1,200 cities in 190 countries.
It is estimated that approximately 1,250 737s are in the air at
any given moment, with one taking off or landing every 4.6
The Boeing 737 is the best-selling commercial jetliner of all
time, with total orders now exceeding 6,000 airplanes. The 737
family includes the initial -100 and -200 models, which entered
service in 1968; the Classic -300, -400 and -500 models, which
entered service in 1984; and the newest members -- the
Next-Generation 737-600, -700, -800 and -900ER models, which
entered service in 1998.
As of January 31, 2006, Boeing reports 95 customers have placed
orders for more than 3,000 Next-Generation 737s. Even if orders
stopped today (unlikely), the program has 1,154 undelivered units
in its order backlog with a value of more than $73 billion at
current list prices -- more than enough to keep Renton workers busy
for years to come.