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Facts About the Boeing 737

The Boeing 737: Shaping Short-Haul Aviation

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The Boeing 737, a renowned narrow-body jet airliner, stands as a cornerstone of modern aviation, particularly in the realm of short-haul travel. Developed by Boeing, the 737 has left an indelible mark on the industry since its introduction in the 1960s.

Emerging in an era of jet travel expansion, the Boeing 737 was designed to meet the growing demand for efficient and reliable short-distance flights. Its initial versions, such as the 737-100 and 737-200, emphasized economic operation and passenger comfort for regional and domestic routes.

The initial models entered service with Lufthansa (737-100) and United Airlines in the mid-1960s.

Throughout its evolution, the Boeing 737 has continuously adapted to changing market dynamics. The Next-Generation (NG) series, introduced in the 1990s, featured improved aerodynamics, advanced avionics, and increased fuel efficiency. This series, including the 737-700, -800, and -900, further solidified the 737’s position as the preferred choice for airlines worldwide.

A Smartwings Boeing 737-800

However, it was the Boeing 737 MAX that brought both innovation and challenges to the model’s legacy. Introduced in 2017, the MAX incorporated cutting-edge technologies for enhanced efficiency, extended range, and reduced emissions. Yet, the model also faced a notable setback due to safety concerns that prompted a global grounding in 2019.

Despite these challenges, the Boeing 737’s legacy endures. With its unparalleled versatility, the 737 serves as the workhorse for short-haul routes, connecting communities and enabling efficient air travel for millions. From regional carriers to major airlines, the Boeing 737 remains an essential part of the aviation landscape, testament to its enduring impact on modern air travel.

Alaska Airlines are one of the world’s largest 737 operators, including the MAX, as seen here.

Boeing 737 Facts

First flight: 9 April 1967

First operator: Lufthansa (-100), United Airlines (-200)

How many 737 built: At the time of writing over 11,500 Boeing 737s had been produced.

How many 737 variants: The Boeing 737 has been produced in the following main variants:

  • 737-100
  • 737-200/200 Advanced
  • 737-300
  • 737-400
  • 737-500
  • 737-600
  • 737-700
  • 737-800
  • 737-900/900ER
  • 737 MAX 8
  • 737 MAX 9

The 737 MAX 7 and MAX 10 variants are still in development pending certification.

In addition, military variants such as the T-43 and P-8 Poseidon have also been developed from the 737-200 and -800 respectively.

Blue Air 737-400

A 737-400

The prototype 737 MAX 10


Have you flown on the Boeing 737? Do you have a favourite 737 model? Leave a comment below!


Boeing 737-100 and -200

Discover more about the history of the early Boeing 737 models in our new book, Boeing 737-100 and -200 by Matt Falcus

With over 150 photographs of the aircraft in operation all over the world, and with many rare and unique shots, this book is a celebration of one of the world’s most successful aircraft.

See early operators from Africa, Asia and the Middle East, plus the mainline US operators and many European leisure airlines which flew the 737-200.

Order Your Copy




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