The milestone Boeing aircraft is flydubai's 14th Boeing 737-800 with the new Boeing Sky Interior. The landmark 737 delivery comes just three days after...

Boeing has delivered the 7,000th 737 to come off the production line to Dubai-based flydubai.

The milestone Boeing aircraft is flydubai’s 14th Boeing 737-800 with the new Boeing Sky Interior. The landmark 737 delivery comes just three days after rival manufacturer Airbus delivered its 7,000th commercial jet of any sort, an A321-200 for US Airways.

Boeing’s 737 family is the best-selling commercial jetliner family of all time. Total Boeing 737 orders now exceed 9,300 aircraft including orders for the new Boeing 737 MAX family, which will represent the fourth generation of the 737 family.

Once Boeing firms all the commitments it now has for the 737 MAX family, firm orders for all variants in the 737 family should surpass the 10,000 mark.

Boeing has delivered the 7,000th 737 to come off the production line to Dubai-based flydubai. The aircraft is flydubai’s 14th Next-Generation 737-800 with the Boeing Sky Interior and features a logo near the nose of the aircraft commemorating the 7,000th 737-delivery milestone. Pictured here is flydubai’s milestone 737-800 at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington

Only the Airbus A320 family, which to date has accumulated firm orders for more than 8,200 aircraft and commitments for approximately 300 more, comes anywhere near the Boeing 737 in terms of sales. The first Airbus A320 entered service in 1988.

The first Boeing 737, a 737-100, was delivered to Lufthansa on December 28, 1967 and entered service on February 10, 1968. It was the first time a non-U.S. customer had been a launch customer for a Boeing jetliner.

Much more recently, Lufthansa was also the airline launch customer for the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental passenger version of the 747-8, Boeing’s latest version of the iconic jumbo jet. Lufthansa will take delivery of its first 747-8I early in 2012.

United Airlines began service with the Boeing 737-200, a longer and much better-selling development of the 737-100, on April 28, 1968.

Later generations of the 737 have included the 737-300/400/500 family, now widely known in the airline industry as the “Boeing 737 Classic” family where once the 737-200 was given the same description; and the Boeing 737NG family, which includes the 737-600, the 737-700, the high-selling 737-800, the 737-900, the 737-900ER and three versions of the Boeing Business Jet.

“It is incredible to be delivering our 7,000th 737. We thank flydubai and all our customers who have made the 737 the world’s most popular jet airliner,” says Beverly Wyse, vice president and general manager of the 737 program. “This success is due to the years of expertise that thousands of employees continue to build into every Boeing 737 used in private, government and commercial service.”

In November 2010, flydubai was the first airline in the world to offer passengers an enhanced onboard experience with the new Boeing Sky Interior. Today’s delivery will be the 21st Boeing 737-800 in flydubai’s fleet. The airline has an additional 30 737-800s on order.

“We are proud to be a part of this important milestone for the 737,” says Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO of flydubai. “With its continuous innovations, the Next-Generation 737 brings the right combination of operational and environmental performance to address the requirements of our markets. The Next-Generation 737 is a major cornerstone to flydubai’s modern, fuel-efficient and economical portfolio of commercial jets.”

The Boeing 737 is the most-produced commercial jet in history. As Boeing increases its 737 production rate to accommodate the massive order backlog for the 737 family, the time gap between each record delivery is shrinking.

It took Boeing 4 years 8 months between the 4,000th and 5,000th delivery, while the gap between the 5,000th and 6,000th delivery was 3 years and 2 months. The 7,000th delivery is just 2 years and 8 months after the 6,000th.

The first flight of the first Boeing 737-100 occurred on April 9, 1967. With pilots Brian Wygle and Lew Wallick at the controls, the aircraft took off from Boeing Field in Seattle and flew for two and a half hours before landing at Paine Field in Everett, Washington. Lufthansa put the 737-100 into service in February 1968

With 737 production rates increasing incrementally to a program-record 42 aircraft a month in the first half of 2014, the gap will continue to close. (Airbus, meanwhile, has indicated it is increasing its A320-family production rate to 50 aircraft a month by 2014.)

The 737 MAX is the new-engine variant of the world’s best-selling commercial jet family. Powered by the new CFM International LEAP-1B engine, the 737 MAX family will reduce fuel burn and CO2 emissions by an additional 10 to 12 per cent over the Next-Generation 737, according to Boeing.

Boeing claims the 737 MAX family will have the lowest operating costs per seat in the single-aisle segment, with a claimed 7 per cent advantage over the competing Airbus A320neo family.

Rivals Airbus and Bombardier (which with its CSeries family has an all-new, rather than a re-engined, aircraft competing in the lower end of the single-aisle segment) contest this claim, noting that – apart from anything else – Boeing hasn’t yet finalized its design for the 737 MAX.

To date, Boeing has received orders and commitments for more than 900 Boeing 737 MAX jets from 13 customers, while the Boeing 737NG family has won orders for more than 6,200 aircraft and has a current production backlog exceeding 2,300 aircraft.

With more than 5,400 aircraft in service today from three different 737 generations, the Boeing 737 family represents more than a quarter of the total worldwide fleet of large commercial jets currently flying. Some 360 airlines in 114 countries fly 737s.