Sunday, 18 March 2018

The plane that Boeing didn’t want turns 10,000

WESTJET B737-7CT C-GWSY (CN 37421)             File Photo

It was the plane that many at Boeing didn’t want to build and it has just turned 10,000 – that is 10,000 built to set a new world record.
Thousands of Boeing employees have gathered at the company’s Renton, Washington factory last Thursday to celebrate the 10,000th 737 to come off the production line.
With the 737 MAX 8 for Southwest Airlines, the 737 has broken the Guinness World Records title for the most produced commercial jet aircraft model.
“This incredible milestone is a testament to the work we do every day to build the most reliable and efficient single-aisle airplane in the world,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Kevin McAllister.
“It represents more than 50 years of success and achievement on the part of thousands of Boeing employees past and present, our supplier partners, and our airline customers around the globe who put their confidence in the 737.”
Boeing will increase the 737 production from the current rate of 47 aeroplanes per month to 52 aeroplanes per month later this year as Boeing has a backlog to build of more than 4,600 aeroplanes fuelled by sales of the newest version of the 737, the 737 MAX.
A 737 takes off or lands every 1.5 seconds and on average, more than 2,800 737s are in the air at any given time. All told, more than 22 billion people have flown on a 737 and it has flown more than 122 billion miles, the equivalent of 5 million times around Earth.
Many at Boeing never wanted to build the world’s bestselling and most reliable plane and at one stage the non-believers almost sold the design to a consortium of Japanese aerospace manufacturers.
Key to the success of the 737 has been the ability of Boeing to improve the plane. The latest design, the MAX, is the fourth major upgrade.
Boeing started studies of a short-haul jet plane to supplement the company’s very successful 727 for short routes.
Design work began in May 1964, with the original design for a 60-passenger plane for routes up to 1600km.
Many in Boeing thought the move was crazy because three other competitors already had similar jets flying or about to fly and there were few major customers left.
But Boeing had a major advantage with its family concept as its 737 would use many of the parts and the same cabin cross-section (six across) as its best-selling 707 and 727.
Boeing’s sales pitch was a big-jet comfort on regional routes.
Germany’s Lufthansa and United Airlines were sold and the 737 was launched.

           QANTAS B737-838 VH-XZP (CN 44577)                File Photo

At a ceremony inside the Boeing Site on 17th Jan 1967 the first 737 was introduced to the world. The festivities included a christening by flight attendants representing the 17 airlines that had ordered the new plane.
On Dec. 28, 1967, Lufthansa took delivery of the first production 737-100 model, in a ceremony at Boeing Field. The following day, United Airlines, the first domestic customer to order the 737, took delivery of the first 737-200. The last 737-200 was delivered Aug. 8, 1988.

The 10,000th 737 MAX 8 went to Southwest Airlines N8717M (CN 42571)

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