back to article Boeing ships its 10,000th 737

Boeing has revealed that the 10,000th 737 rolled off the production line this week. The 737 debuted in 1967, a time when demand for air travel started to boom. Boeing decided to cash in by making a smaller, cheaper plane to complement its long-haul ~200-seat 707 and the mid-sized and mid-range 727. The first 737, the model - …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. seven of five

    only 7000 A320

    Well, one could mention the A320 is fron 1987, so it had 20 years (40%) less to sell 70% of the 737s market share. otoh, the pace only picked up in the last 15 years.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Is it out of copyright then?

    1. Paul Kinsler

      Re: Copyright?

      Of course. You are now free to use the digits "737" (in that exact sequence) in any arithmetic you may need to do.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Copyright?

        You are now free to use the digits "737" (in that exact sequence) in any arithmetic you may need to do.

        Though even before it was out of copyright you could swap the first and last digit and claim it was a parody.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A milestone, surely

    Would be interesting to know how many of those are at the moment actually flying/in service?

    The last I read somewhere was, there are, at any given point in the day, about 43,000 planes in the air !

    Some more statistics would make interesting reading.

    1. Paul Smith

      Re: A milestone, surely

      According to Flightaware, threre are currently 1,624 A320's in the air and 1581 737-600's.

      1. Aitor 1

        Re: A milestone, surely

        As far as I can see, that data is not complete (still very cool), as I cant see data from Iran, Russia, China...


        "FlightAware's primary service area includes airspace operated by the United States (including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Guam), Canada, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, portions of Central America, the United Kingdom, and France. Flights in the primary service area support real time maps, departure and arrival information, delays, and more."

        So it is missing most of Europe, all of Africa, South america and Asia.

        Still, for such a boeing friendly part of the world, it is quite clear that the a320 has beaten the 737.

        The reason for this is quite simple: a 320 has less cost per mile per seat than a 737. It is also more silent and has more space.. but that is not the reason it is winning. It is just cost.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A milestone, surely

          > more silent

          How does that work?

          1. Chemical Bob

            Re: A milestone, surely

            I hear it works well...

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: A milestone, surely

        "threre are currently 1,624 A320's in the air and 1581 737-600's."

        Each of those numbers are close to the _TOTAL_ number of B747s ever built (around 1700), which does tend to put the market for large aircraft in perspective (and explains the low sales of A380s)

        It turned out the B747's primary market advantage wasn't size after all, but range, and ETOPS ate that from below. There are still routes that A380s and B747s do better but for how long?

    2. nmcalba

      Re: A milestone, surely

      Well according to the air fleets database :-

      869 out of 3132 737s (original and classic) are still active i.e. not scrapped, stored or written off.

      and for the 737 NG, 6556 out of 6787 are active.

      That gives a total of 7425 out of 9919, this I know is not 10,000 but I suspect that the difference is accounted for by frames that have come off the assembly line but are not yet registered and flying.

      For the A320 you have to take the entire 320 family:-

      A318 - 58 out of 80

      A319 - 1366 out of 1469

      A320 - 4241 out of 4835

      A321 - 1554 out of 1657

      This gives a total of 7219 active aircraft - so although the 737 is ahead its only by a very short nose.

      1. Peter X

        Re: A milestone, surely

        A320 - 4241 out of 4835

        I seem to recall reading something about some hooligan landing one of them in the Hudson river? Or is that one back in service? ;-)

    3. Steve the Cynic

      Re: A milestone, surely

      The last I read somewhere was, there are, at any given point in the day, about 43,000 planes in the air !

      I recall someone saying that during the week when everything was grounded after 9/11, the number of planes on the ground in airports was about three times what it normally is, and that finding somewhere to park them all was problematic.

  5. Sandtitz Silver badge

    Brand new

    I was flying on a brand new 737 Max with my family last week. Even the captain blabbed or intercom how new it was and how the leather still smells on the seats and so forth.

    The my 5-year-old kid inadvertently kicked his airline meal into the floor and left a nice spaghetti and juice stain. Not so brand new anymore...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Brand new

      Your brat and countless others like him are just one of the many sources of frustration that make modern air travel so tiresome. "Inadvertent" my arse!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Brand new

        Awwww sperm count? No lady folks like you...awwww bless.

      2. Sandtitz Silver badge

        Re: Brand new

        "Your brat and countless others like him are just one of the many sources of frustration that make modern air travel so tiresome."

        I see you have no children. Getting a 5-year-old to focus on long 5+ hour journey is pretty much impossible no matter what entertainment is available.

        The food was on the tray that cannot be locked down - raise your legs and the tray starts to fold towards the seat in front of you - and that's what happened. Kids have restless feet. Deal with it.

        Air travel for me is tiresome because of the constant noise from engines and the waiting times at the airport.

        "Inadvertent" my arse!

        Unlike you Mr Coward, everyone else makes mistakes.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Brand new

          "Your brat and countless others like him are just one of the many sources of frustration that make modern air travel so tiresome."

          I too feel that every passenger I don't personally know and like makes air travel more tiresome. If each flight only carried the crew, myself, and a few of my friends, it would definitely be more convenient and enjoyable.

          Air travel is also too expensive. It ought to be free for me and people I like (who of course would be the only passengers allowed under this scheme anyway).

          Fortunately, I have discovered a cunning way to achieve this. One need only be the spoiled child of an extremely wealthy family. I suggest AC investigate this possibility.

    2. flilotuk

      Re: Brand new

      Lies. You can't "inadvertently" kick something "into" the floor. By its very nature, to kick something "into" the floor, you have to do so repeatedly with your foot to make sure it goes in. This is why we can't have nice things.

      You can however inadvertently kick something on to the floor.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I attended a talk recently by the RR ex-technical director Professor Ric Parker.

    One question was why RR do not make engines suitable for 737 and the Airbus equivalent.

    His answer was that at the time marketing considered the 737 a flash in the pan, and its popularity would wane :)

    (His other reason was that they would be competing with two entrenched suppliers, so at best would only get a 3rd of the market, which is a bit weird since a 3rd of 10000 is a hell of a lot more than 100% of say the A380 fleet)

    1. SkippyBing

      AIUI due to the original 737 having a narrow diameter turbojet they didn't have to make the undercarriage that long. Consequently when they came to build the 737-300 and later it was difficult getting a turbofan under the wing, hence the flat bottom on the engine cowling. This meant the engine suppliers had to make a special version of the engine with a reduced diameter fan section which I'm guessing contributed to RR's lack of interest at a time when they were recovering from the RB211 bankruptcy fallout.

      With the A320 wing being a sensible distance off the ground this wasn't a problem and RR were part of the International Engine Alliance which produce one of the engine options for that, and are still a major supplier to it.

      It has been said modern aero engines are like the razor blade business, you make a loss on the engine but make it back selling replacement blades!

      1. MrT

        Selling engines at loss...

        ... definitely (for example, see this post). Given the service life of an engine is measured in decades, selling for nominal fee, or even 'free', then charging for hours flown is very good business (see also: inkjet printers). It's better to keep the service business than charge $5million or so per engine and give the upkeep away to third-parties.

        My step-dad worked for Royce's in Derby, including aero engine testing, and says that the use of data to make sure the right part is in place to meet the aircraft as it lands must look psychic to anyone outside the business.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Selling engines at loss...

          IIRC RR no longer sell engines for large passenger jets, they charge per flight hour / mile

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        One of the advantages of the 737 was that it had its own on-board stairs so could serve small airports without any infrastructure - that meant a shorter undercarriage

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Amazing numbers

    Says something about the scale and efficiency of Boeing that, despite the extraordinary complexity of an aircraft and the precision with which it must be made, they can crank out nearly two planes a day - almost none of which will ever fall out of the sky.

    1. SiFly

      Re: Amazing numbers

      ahem Rudder Reversal on the 737 nearly got the type grounded

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Amazing numbers

        As did putting the avionics bay underneath the leaky forward toilet

  8. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    Theres a 737 pilot with his own youtube channel called "mentaur pilot" or similar.

    He does 10 minute videos answering such questions as

    Why are the wheels exposed on a 737?

    Why are the bottom of the engines flat on a 737?

    also non 737 questions like

    Why dont we give the passengers parachutes?

    what does those flappy things on the wing do?

    etc etc

    Its interesting enough i find myself going back for more ...

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. Marty McFly Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Cool video

    Ford vs. Chevy. AMD vs. Intel. Mercedes vs. BMW. Airbus vs. Boeing. Pick your favorites and say what you want. However, you have to give Boeing credit for producing some pretty cool videos:

    YouTube Link

  11. Spiracle

    Trigger's Broom

    The 737 debuted in 1967,

    I wonder how many parts the original 100/200 and the Max have in common? I'd guess that even big stuff like the undercarriage castings use a different alloy these days.

    1. a_yank_lurker

      Re: Trigger's Broom

      Probably less parts in common they you might think as the modifications to the airframe, etc. will necessitate internal modifications. But this is probably true of any aircraft that has been in production for 50 or 60 years like the 737 or the Hercules. I suspect each major family has a reasonably high number of common parts.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Trigger's Broom

        Essentially none.

        The reason for keeping the 737 tag is partly brand awareness but also it's easier to make a change to the same airframe and submit a "note to file" than to get approval for a new model. You only have to test/prove the new change, not revisit existing features that are already approved

        Eventually there are no original parts but you still filling incremental changes to the FAA.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Trigger's Broom

          We're looking at you, Porsche 911...

        2. Gary Heard

          Re: Trigger's Broom

          I had a conversation with a pilot a few years ago and he made exactly that point, even some of the dials in the cabin were left in place even though they were redundant as it avoided a "Type" change. If a Type change was required full FAA testing needed, a "Note to file" on the other hand, a few tests, otherwise, easy peasy. By changing them incrementally, the dials can be removed and you end up with "Glass" cockpits, which would have been impossible when the 737 launched

  12. Maryland, USA

    Remember Lockheed?

    In the 1980s, I worked for Lockheed Aircraft in Georgia, USA. Our plant was making a modest 4 airplanes a month. Wall posters read, 'Look to Lockheed for leadership.' On one poster, a wag had scrawled, 'Look to Boeing for airplanes.'

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Remember Lockheed?

      "Our plant was making a modest 4 airplanes a month."

      Lockheed and McD-D both made the fatal mistake of trying to go head-to-head with Boeing in a market which had miniscule sales. (The DC10/11 and L1011 were both 747 competitors)

      Had they gone into 737-land instead, they might both still be making civil transports today.

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