Boeing has delivered the 7,370th 737 to come off the production line.
The milestone aircraft, a Boeing 737-800 for Indonesia-based Lion Air, was delivered on November 5.
Lion Air is one of the largest customers for the Boeing 737 family, having ordered more than 400 737s of the 737-800, 737-900ER and 737 MAX 9 versions.
Another milestone represented by the particular aircraft in question is that it is Lion Air’s 75th Boeing 737NG.
The Boeing 737 is the best-selling commercial jetliner family of all time, Boeing having booked firm orders for more than 10,100 aircraft.
These include orders for the new Boeing 737 MAX family which, when it enters service, will represent the fourth generation of the 737 airframe.
When the first 737 MAX enters service in 2017 (assuming the program doesn’t run delays on the scale of those affecting the Boeing 787 and the Boeing 747-8, both of which eventually entered service several years behind schedule), the Boeing 737 family will have been in service for nigh on 50 years. Today’s 737s bear little structural and internal resemblance to early 737s.
The first customer to take delivery of a Boeing 737 was Lufthansa, which received its first Boeing 737-100 in December 1967 (after ordering 21 of the type on February 19, 1965) and put it into service in February 1968.
Only 30 737-100s were built and none are flying today, though many examples of the slightly larger Boeing 737-200 are still in service. The 737-200 was also launched in 1965, Boeing receiving an order for 40 from United Airlines in April of that year.
The 737-200 remained in production until 1988, by which time 1,114 had been built. By the first half of the 1980s the 737-300, 737-400 and 737-500 had largely supplanted the 737-200 in production.
Then the third generation of the 737 family – the first member of which was the 737-700, but which also included the 737-600, 737-700ER, 737-800, 737-900 and 737-900ER, as well as business jet and military versions of various models – went into production in the first half of the 1990s.
Boeing’s most successful 737 model to date has been the 737-800, of which 4,152 had been ordered by the end of September 2012, including Boeing Business Jet 2 executive jets and military aircraft using the 737-800 airframe. Boeing has subsequently received an additional firm order for 10 737-800s from GE Capital Aviation Services.