How the Boeing 737 Went From Being a Flop to a World Record Breaker
When Boeing’s 10,000th 737 aircraft rolled out of the factory in Renton, Washington on Tuesday, the plane entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the “world’s most produced commercial jet aircraft model.”
However, flash back 50 years ago and Boeing executives were only lukewarm about the new plane.
When the first Boeing 737 (now on display at Seattle’s Museum of Flight) made its debut flight in 1967, the manufacturer struggled to attract attention.
“At the time of its birth, we were struggling to attract airlines at all,” pilot Brien Wygle told Seattle Times. “I don’t think anybody could have foreseen the extreme success of the airplane in the long run.”
But after a global tour of the aircraft, hundreds of orders for the aircraft began to pour in.
In 2006, Boeing produced its 5,000th 737 and won the “world’s most produced” record from Guinness. Within the past 12 years, Boeing has produced the same amount of 737s that previously took almost 40 years.
“The speed at which Boeing achieved this new milestone is very impressive,” Michael Empric, official adjudicator for Guinness World Records, said in a statement. “We are excited to once again recognize the 737 and the important role it plays in commercial aviation.”
Boeing currently rolls out 47 of the 737 aircraft per month. The company announced that later this year, they will increase production to 52 aircraft per month. There are still more than 4,600 orders for Boeing 737s waiting for production.
The aircraft has become one of the most common sights in the skies, with an average of more than 2,800 in the air at any given time, according to Boeing. It’s estimated that every 1.5 seconds, a Boeing 737 takes off or lands somewhere on this planet.
The 10,000th Boeing 737 — a Boeing 737 MAX 8 — will be delivered to Southwest Airlines, which donated $10,000 to the manufacturer’s employee community fund in honor of the milestone.