Boeing 737 is the most successful airliner family by American manufacturer Boeing. This narrow-body airliner has been in production since the 1960s and underwent various updates and improvements. Over the years, the Boeing 737 airliner has introduced ten different variants through four generations with plenty of modifications and upgrades. The prices of each specific variant depend on each aircraft’s features and equipment used.
In this article, we will look at different generations of variants of the world’s most popular narrow-body airliner, Boeing 737. We will study each variant’s capacity and also cost.
Boeing 737 | Different Variants Across Different Generations
In 1964, Boeing introduced the Boeing 737. The idea behind creating this narrow-body and twin-engine jet, even smaller than the 707, was to supplement Boeing 727 for short-haul flights. Boeing used the same upper lobe fuselage design of 727 and 707 to create this aircraft.
Boeing 737 is the highest-selling Boeing aircraft family. Since the original Boeing 737-100 started its commercial operations in 1968, this aircraft went through various modifications and alterations, resulting in different generations of variants of this popular airliner. Moreover, the Boeing 737 family is famous due to its reliability, fuel efficiency, and cost-effectiveness.
Here is the rundown of all the variants across generations of the Boeing 737.
First Generation | Original
It is the original generation. This generation consists of two variants; Boeing 737-100 and 737-200.
737-100 is the first of the 737 series and is the shortest, with 28.7m in length. It entered into service with Lufthansa in 1968. Initially, Lufthansa, Malaysia-Singapore Airlines, and Aviana placed 30 orders for this short and stubby aircraft.
Shortly after 737-100, 737-200 was launched with an extended fuselage in 1965 and more capacity. This eventually ended the production of 737-100. Later, 1971 saw an improved version, called the 737-200 “Advanced”, with improved brakes and aerodynamics. In 1988, Boeing stopped the production of 737-200, and by 2020, only 77 remained in service.
Second Generation | Classic
The second generation had 737-300/400/500 variants — produced between 1984 to 2000. A total of 1988 deliveries of these aircraft were made.
737-300 started its operations in 1984 with Southwest Airlines. The aircraft saw vast improvements to its predecessor, including more capacity (149 passengers) due to the extension of the fuselage and changes in wings to improve aerodynamics. The aircraft retired in 2008, and the 737-700 next generation replaced it.
Boeing launched 737-400 to further increase the capacity by extending the fuselage to 10 feet and also introduced a tail bumper in this new variant. This new variant could take 188 passengers. It entered into service in 1988 by Piedmont Airlines. Boeing 737-400 retired in 2017 and 737-700F replaced it.
737-500 started its operations in 1989 for Southwest Airlines. The airliner could take longer-haul flights, had more capacity, and was more fuel-efficient than its first-generation predecessor 737-200 that it replaced. The last 737-500 retired in 2022.
Third Generation | Next Generation (NG)
This generation included 737-600/700/800/900 series variants and also extended –700ER/900ER. More than 7000 of these aircraft have been produced and delivered from 1997 until 2019. This generation offered better fuel efficiency and internal upgrades than its predecessor generation.
737-600 operated for short and medium-haul flights and started operations in 1998 with Scandinavian Airlines (SAS). It was the smallest variant in this generation that replaced the 737-500.
737-700 was launched in 1993 and delivered to Southwest Airlines in 1997. Its extended version, 737-700ER hit the market in 2006 featuring 737-800 wings and landing gear. Boeing made the final delivery of 737-700 in 2020.
Boeing introduced the 737-800, in 1994, as an extended version of the 737-700. It can carry 162 to 189 passengers (in one class design). Hapag-Lloyd was its launch customer. Boeing 737-800 is the most popular in the Boeing 737 family, with almost 4,982 deliveries.
The last in this generation is the 737-900, which took off in 2000 for Alaska Airlines. Its newer variant is the 737-900ER which can carry 180 to 220 passengers depending on the two-class layout.
Fourth Generation | Max
This generation offers better and more efficient engines, major aerodynamic modifications, and airframe altercations. It has four main variants; MAX 737-7/8/9/10.
737 Max 7 is a shorter variant of the Max 8. With major altercations in design, the 737 Max 7 could even replace the 737-700 due to fuel efficiency, lower cost, and more capacity. Southwest Airlines is expected to get the delivery of the airline by the end of 2023.
737 Max 8 started its first-commercial flight with Malindo Airline. This is the first variant of this new generation aiming to replace 737-800. It has a longer fuselage giving it the capacity to hold 162 to 178 passengers. Its variant Max 200 can hold 200 passengers in a single-class layout.
Max 9 is the longer version of Max 8, rolled out for its launch customer, Thai Lion Air in 2017. The aim was to replace the 737-900 and compete with Airbus A320neo.
737 Max 10 is the longest version of the 737 family, aiming to fill in games by 757. The first aircraft came in 2019 and is still waiting for certification along with Max 7.
We have discussed all the generations of the 737 family for airplane enthusiasts. What more do you want to learn?