Boeing 737

The Boeing 737 twin-engine airliner is the bestselling jetliner of all time. The 5,000th 737 was delivered in February 2006 and the aircraft has carried the equivalent of the world’s population (approximately seven billion passengers).

Over 3,000 aircraft of the first generation of 737s, which first flew in 1967, were built until the production run was completed in 2000.

The aircraft has allowed airlines to provide domestic routes and short-range international flights for over 30 years. The design of the next-generation family of 737s began in 1991 and the newest 737s provide transcontinental and medium-range international flights. The Boeing 737 Next Generation is the name given to the -600 / -700 / -800 / -900 series of the Boeing 737, after the introduction of the -300 / -400 / -500 Classic series.

Boeing 737 Next-Generation orders and deliveries

Boeing delivered the 6,000th 737 to Norwegian Air Shuttle in April 2009. The 5,000th 737 was delivered in February 2006. As of April 2012, 4,000 737 next-generation aircraft had been delivered.

Boeing finalised an order with Air China in July 2010 to deliver 20 next-generation 737-800 jetliners. It delivered two next-generation 737-900ERs to Jakarta-based carrier Lion Air in June 2010.

Luxair Luxembourg Airlines ordered one next-generation 737-800 jetliner in June 2010.

Boeing announced in June 2010 that it would increase the production rate of the next-generation 737 to 35 aircraft a month in 2012. In July 2011, Boeing announced that production would increase to 38 per month in 2013 and 42 per month by mid-2014.

Ryanair received its 300th 737 aircraft, a new generation 737-800, in February 2011. Germany-based airberlin received a 737-800 in February 2011 and a 737-700 in March 2011.

“The Boeing 737 is the bestselling jetliner of all time.”

Israeli national carrier EL AL placed a $343.2m order for four 737-900ERs in March 2011. It placed an order for two additional 737-900ERs in August 2012.

Copa Airlines received its first 737 featuring Boeing Sky Interior in March 2011. The Boeing Sky Interior enhancements include new open cabins with modern sculpted walls and extra space for carry-on bags. The ceiling is fitted with brighter LEDs that can emit different coloured lights.

International Lease Finance Corporation placed an order for 33 737-800 aircrafts in March 2011. The order is valued at over $2.6bn.

Indonesia’s Lion Air received its first 727-900ER in April 2011. The first 737-800 of four orders was delivered to Algeria-based Tassili Airlines in April 2011.

In April 2011, Boeing delivered the fourth of seven aircraft ordered to North Africa-based Air Algerie and a 737-900ER was delivered to Continental Airlines.

One Boeing 737-800NG was delivered to Russia’s S7 Airlines in May 2011 and American Airlines received its first Boeing 737 featuring a Boeing Sky Interior.

Beijing Airlines received one 737 IGW in May 2011.

GOL Airlines received its 100th 737 aircraft in August 2011.

Boeing received orders for 100 737-900ERs from Delta Air Lines and two 737-900ER aircraft from Korean Air in August 2011.

In August 2011, Boeing delivered a 737-700 to Xiamen Airlines. The next generation 737-700 features the high-altitude/high-temperature package and the Boeing Sky Interior. Xiamen Airlines also agreed to buy 40 737-800s in August 2012.

UTair Aviation placed an order for 40 Next-Generation 737 aircraft (seven 737-900ERs and 33 737-800s) in September 2011.

Norwegian ordered 22 737-800s in January 2012. Lion Air placed an order for 29 737-900ERs in February 2012.

In July 2012, Avolon and GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) announced their commitment to buy 10 and 25 737-800s respectively. Boeing also received order from United Air Lines for 50 737-900ERs during the same month.

Boeing 737-600

The smallest aircraft of the 737 new generation family, the 110-132 seat Boeing 737-600 was launched in 1995 and entered service with launch customer Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) in 1998. All 69 aircraft have been delivered. This variant does not have winglets as an option.

The 737-600 is in service with airlines including Air Algerie, GECAS, Lauda Air and Tunis Air.

The first next-generation 737 with certified performance improvement engines was handed over to China Southern Airlines in July 2011.

Boeing 737-700 midsize airliner

The 737-700 is the midsize version carrying 126 to 149 passengers. It entered service with launch customer Southwest Airlines in 1998. Over 1,500 aircraft have been ordered and 960 delivered and the aircraft is in service worldwide.

“The first 737-700ER was delivered to ANA in February 2007.”

The 737-700 is the basis for the Boeing business jet (BBJ). There is also a convertible version, the 737-700C, which is offered in an all passenger or all cargo layout and was ordered by the US Naval Reserve (designated C-40A Clipper).

Boeing launched an extended range version, the 737-700ER, in January 2006, with an order from All Nippon Airways (ANA) for two aircraft.

The 737-700ER has the fuselage of the 737-700 with the wings and landing gear of the 737-800, extending the range by 3,972km (2145nm).

With nine auxiliary fuel tanks and optional blended winglets, the aircraft’s maximum range is 10,200km (5,510nm). The first 737-700ER was delivered to ANA in February 2007.

Boeing 737-800 stretch airliner

As many as 3,186 of the stretch version, the 737-800, seating 162 to 189 passengers, have been ordered and 1,814 delivered so far. It entered service with launch customer Hapag-Lloyd in 1998.

Major customers include American Airlines (125 aircraft), Delta Airlines (132), Ryan Air (281 plus 145 options), Qantas (20), Virgin Blue (ten plus 40 options), Air Europa (18), Hainan Airlines (25), Shandong Airlines (12), GOL (60 plus 41 options), Alaskan Airlines (35 plus 15 options), Air China (25), Air Berlin (60) and Malaysia Airlines (35 plus 20 options).

The 737-800 is the basis for the Boeing Business Jet 2 (BBJ2).

A version of the 737-800, the 737-800ERX was chosen as the airframe for the US Navy’s new Multi-Mission Maritime (MMA) aircraft, designated P-8A, in June 2004.

On 25 January 2010 an Ethiopian Airlines 737-800 jet crashed into the Mediterranean Sea shortly after taking off from Beirut amid heavy storms. Flight ET409 disappeared from radar screens five minutes into the flight and burst into flames mid-air, according to eye witnesses.

Boeing 737-900

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The largest variant, the 737-900 carrying 177 to 189 passengers, was launched in 1997 and the first flight was on 3 August 2000. The 737-900 entered service in May 2001.

Alaska Airlines was the launch customer with an order for ten and an additional ten optional purchase. 52 737-900 have been ordered with all 52 delivered.

In July 2005, Boeing launched the 737-900ER which has a range of 5,900km (3,200nm) and capacity for up to 215 passengers. Lion Air of Indonesia is the launch customer with an order for 175 aircraft.

Total orders are for 244 aircraft which also include: SpiceJet of India (five), Sky Airlines of Turkey (three), Continental (27), GECAS (six). The aircraft made its first flight in September 2006 and the first was delivered to Lion Air in April 2007. By August 2008, 35 aircraft had been delivered.

A total of 52 -900s, and 68 -900ERs have been delivered, with 183 unfilled orders as of January 2010.

The different military variants of Boeing 737 New Generation airliner are: Boeing 737 AEW&C, C-40 Clipper and P-8 Poseidon.

Boeing 737 design

The fuselage is of fail-safe aluminium design. The wings are of fail-safe design with aluminium alloy-structure with a corrosion-resistant skin. The nosecone, wing and fuselage fairings, fin tips, the fairings of the flap actuators and other non-stressed components are constructed from glass and carbon fibre reinforced plastics (GFRP and CFRP). The rear of the engine nacelles are constructed of graphite, Kevlar and glass fibre composites.

In February 2000 an advanced carbon graphite winglet developed by Boeing became available as an option on the 737-800. The 8ft, blended winglet provides additional performance benefits in terms of extended range, up to 6,000lb more payload and a saving on fuel. The first 737-800 aircraft with winglets flew in May 2001 in service with the German Carrier Hapag-Lloyd Flug.

Boeing 737 cockpit and flight deck

“In July 2005, Boeing launched the 737-900ER, which will carry up to 215 passengers.”

The flight deck accommodates the pilot and co-pilot. A head up display can be fitted as an option. The flight deck is equipped with a Common Display System (CDS) from Honeywell Air Transport Systems incorporating six flat panel liquid crystal displays.

The CDS software can be programmed to allow the presentation of data in a format replicating that of previous 737 electronic flight systems or that of the Boeing 747-400 and Boeing 777 primary flight and navigation displays.

The aircraft can be fitted with an optional global positioning system, satellite communications and a dual flight management system.

737 cabin configuration

The cabins are typically arranged in a two-class configuration with first-class passengers four abreast and tourist-class passengers six abreast. The cabins are air conditioned with a three-wheel air cycle environmental control system. Airstairs are optional for the forward cabin, allowing the aircraft to operate at airports with limited facilities.

There are two underfloor baggage holds. The rear hold can be fitted with a telescopic baggage conveyor.


“New quiet operating fans have been installed on the environmental control system and on the electronics cooling systems.”

The aircraft is powered by two CFM International CFM56-7 turbofan engines in wing-mounted engine pods. CFM is a joint venture of General Electric. of the US and Snecma of France.

The aircraft carries 26,025l of fuel. Its auxiliary power unit is the Honeywell 131-9B, which provides 90kVA and air start capability.

The noise on the ground was reduced by up to 12dB by the installation of a new diffuser duct and silencer on the cooling vent on the auxiliary power unit. New quiet operating fans have been installed on the environmental control system and on the electronics cooling systems.

Boeing offered a short-field performance package in 2004 in response to the needs of Brazilian airline Gol Transportes Aéreos, which operates from restricted airports. The enhancements improved take-off and landing functioning. The package is available for the 737NG versions and standard equipment for the 737-900ER.

Landing gear

The aircraft is equipped with tricycle-type hydraulically operated retractable landing gear. The gear is fitted with oleo-pneumatic shock absorbers designed by Boeing. The main wheels retract inwards with the wheels forming the well seal; the wells have no doors. The main wheels are fitted with Honeywell or Goodrich wheel brakes. The twin nose wheel retracts forward.

In April 2008, Boeing completed certification testing of new carbon brakes for the 737 NG. The carbon brakes, designed by Messier-Bugatti of France, provide a weight saving of between 250kg (550lb) and 320kg (700lb), depending on aircraft model, compared to steel brakes. The new brakes entered production in July 2008 and are also available for retrofit.