The Boeing 737 is a short- to medium-range twinjet narrow-body airliner. Originally developed as a shorter, lower-cost twin-engined airliner derived from Boeing's 707 and 727, the 737 has developed into a family of nine passenger models with a capacity of 85 to 215 passengers. The 737 is Boeing's only narrow-body airliner in production, with the -700, -800, and -900ER variants currently being built. A re-engined and redesigned version, the 737 MAX, is set to debut in 2017.
Originally envisioned in 1964, the initial 737-100 made its first flight in April 1967 and entered airline service in February 1968 at Lufthansa. Next, the lengthened 737-200 entered service in April 1968. In the 1980s Boeing launched the -300, -400, and -500 models, subsequently referred to as the Boeing 737 Classic series. The 737 Classics added capacity and incorporated CFM56 turbofan engines along with wing improvements. In the 1990s Boeing introduced the 737 Next Generation with multiple changes including a redesigned wing, upgraded cockpit, and new interior. The 737 Next Generation comprises the four -600, -700, -800, and -900ER models, ranging from 102 ft (31.09 m) to 138 ft (42.06 m) in length. Boeing Business Jet versions of the 737 Next Generation are also produced.
The 737 series is the best-selling jet airliner in the history of aviation. The 737 has been continuously manufactured by Boeing since 1967 with 8,263 aircraft delivered and 4,037 orders yet to be fulfilled as of October 2014. 737 assembly is centered at the Boeing Renton Factory in Renton, Washington. Many 737s serve markets previously filled by 707, 727, 757, DC-9, and MD-80/MD-90 airliners, and the aircraft currently competes primarily with the Airbus A320 family. There are 1,250 Boeing 737s airborne at any given time on average, with two departing or landing somewhere every five seconds as of 2006.
737-300The 737-300 was launched in 1981 by both USAir and Southwest Airlines becoming the first model of the 737 Classic series. The aircraft has a typical capacity of 128 passengers in a two-class configuration (137 seats in a one-class coach seating configuration). The 300 series remained in production until 1999 when the 1,113th and last aircraft was delivered to Air New Zealand on December 17, 1999.
Various modifications have been made to aircraft previously in service. The 737-300 can be retrofitted with Aviation Partners Boeing winglets. The 737-300 retrofitted with winglets is designated the -300SP (Special Performance). Used passenger -300 aircraft have also been converted to freighter versions. The Lockheed Martin CATBird is a modified 737-300 with the nose of a Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, and a pair of canards, with an F-35 cockpit inside; to be used to flight test the F-35's avionics suite. In December 2008, Southwest Airlines selected Boeing to retrofit its 737-300s with new avionics, in order to improve commonality with its 737-700s, as well as to support the Required Navigation Performance initiative.
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