The Boeing 737-100 was launched in
February 1965 as a short-range aeroplane to complement the 707 and 727.
The initial customer for the 737-100 was German airline Lufthansa who
ordered 21 aircraft. Engineering studies by Boeing led to the choice of
wing-mounted engines for the 737-100 as opposed to tail-mounted engines.
The 737-100 could accommodate a maximum of 103 passengers, 6 more than its
rival - the DC-9. However the 737-100's fuselage was 17 inches wider than
the DC-9 and this incurred a 15mph speed penalty. The first 737-100 flew
in April 1967 and deliveries started in December of the same year to
Lufthansa. The last 737-100 was produced in 1969 and delivered in November
of the same year. Altogether only 30 737-100's were ever produced.
Almost as soon as the 737-100 was given the go-ahead, work began on a stretched version - The 737-200. The 737-200 had a 1.82m (6ft) fuselage stretch and could accommodate 115 passengers in a typical layout. Launch customer, United Airlines took delivery of their first aircraft in December 1967 and operations began in April 1968 - less than four months after Lufthansa started operating the 737-100. The 737-200 can fly up to 2,880 miles non-stop - More than the IL-86. The 737-200 is a self-sufficient aircraft and can therefore operate into remote airports without the need of ground support such as jetways or baggage conveyors. In 1971 production switched to the Advanced 737-200. The 737-200 Advanced had the same physical dimensions but featured improvements including more powerful engines, greater fuel capacity and a new interior. All Nippon Airways took delivery of the first 737-200 advanced in May 1971 and put it into deliver a month later. The last 737-200 was delivered to Xiamen Airlines in 1988 after a run of 1,114 aircraft.
The 737-300 was launched in March 1981 as an ideal aircraft for operating frequent short-medium range routes. A fuselage extension of 2.8m (104 inches) allows the 737-300 to carry up to 20 more passengers than its predecessor, the 737-200. A typical two-class layout carries 126 passengers whilst in a one-class layout the 737-300 can carry a maximum of 149 passengers. Other improvements include newer engines, a new digital cockpit and a common airframe. The CFM56-3 engines on the 737-300 (and the engines on subsequent versions of the 737) are mounted on struts forward of the wing, instead of against the underside of the wing. To solve the problem of ground clearance, engine accessories were moved to the side of the engines and the bottom of the inlet lip was flattened. The first 737-300's were delivered to US Air and Southwest Airlines in December 1984.
In December 1985 Boeing decided to stretch
the 737-300 fuselage by 3m (10ft) and therefore creating the 737-400. Other
changes include more powerful engines and strengthened wing and landing gear
components. The aircraft was officially launched in June 1986 and delivered
to launch customer, Piedmont Airlines in September 1988. The fuselage
stretch on the 737-400 allows the aircraft to accommodate a maximum of 168
passengers. A more usual layout is for 147 passengers with 10 seats in first
class and 137 economy seats. A benefit to airlines operating the 737 is that
cross-qualification is possible between the 737-300,-400 & -500. This
means that pilots qualified to fly one model do not need a new type-rating
to fly other models in the same family. This therefore offers airlines
greater flexibility in scheduling and subsequent savings in fleet
With a fuselage 25cm (10in) longer than the
737-200 and 20% less fuel consumption per seat, the 737-500 is an ideal
737-200 replacement. The 737-500 program was launched in May 1987 with an
order for 38 aircraft from all-737 operator Southwest Airlines. The 737-500
can accommodate up to 132 passengers in an all-economy layout however a more
common layout is for 110 passengers in a mixed layout. The interior of the
737-500 (and also the -300 & -500) is designed for maximum comfort and
efficiency. Contoured sidewalls provide extra elbow and headroom and a
50.8cm (20in) wide aisle allows passengers to step around serving trolleys. Improvements
for the Cabin Crew include a transverse galley spanning the entire width of
the rear of the cabin, with lavatories installed forward of this, allowing uninterrupted
work. The first 737-500 was delivered to Southwest Airlines in March 1990.
Production of all new-generation models (-300,-400,-500) ended in the 2000
with the last delivery being a 737-400 to CSA Czech Airlines.
The first aircraft to be launched in the
next-generation 737 family was the 737-700. Southwest Airlines launched the
-700 program in November 1993 with an order for 63 aircraft. The 737-700 is equivalent
in size to the 737-300 and is therefore an ideal replacement aircraft. In an
all economy layout the 737-700 can carry up to 149 passengers (The same as
the maximum load for the 737-300) but a more usual layout is for 126
passengers. All next-generation 737 models offer a new modern cockpit incorporating
the latest flat panel displays. Airlines can either choose a data format
common with earlier models of the 737, allowing flight deck commonality, or
opt for the latest display format, common with new aircraft such as the 777.
On Nov. 7, 1997, the 737-700 was awarded type certification
by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) and Southwest Airlines received their first aircraft in December 1997.
The 737-800 was the next aircraft to be launched from the next-generation 737 family. The aircraft was launched at the 1994 Farnborough Air Show by an order from launch customer Hapag-Lloyd. The 737-800 is basically a stretched version of the 737-400, being 3.02m (9.9ft) longer than its predecessor, and can
accommodate 162 to 189 passengers. The next generation 737 models are powered by new CFM56-7 engines which provide 10% greater thrust than the CFM56-3C engines used on the 737-300/-400/-500 family. To take additional advantage of the engine's increased thrust, the new 737 models' vertical fin and horizontal stabilizer are larger. The first 737-800 was delivered to Hapag-Lloyd in the Spring of 1998.
The smallest member of the family, the
737-600 was launched in March 1995 with an order for 35 aircraft from Scandinavian
Airlines (SAS). The 737-600 closely resembles
the 737-500, this is due to the aircraft being only 23cm (9in) longer. The
737-600 seats a maximum of 132 passengers, the same capacity as the 737-500.
Boeing also developed a new interior to go with the
Next-generation 737 family. The passenger cabin has been fitted with ceiling
panels similar to those found on the 777 and new overhead bins have been
added to give the cabin a more spacious feel. Vacuum Lavatories and a new
handrail on the overhead bins have also been added for passenger and airline
convenience. The first 737-600 was delivered to SAS in the third-quarter of
The 737-900 is the fourth model to be
launched in the next-generation 737 family. The aircraft was launched in
November 1997 with an order for 10 aircraft and 10 options from Alaska
Airlines. The 737-900 is the longest 737 produced, being 2.94m (9ft2in)
longer than the 737-800. The 737-900 seats 177 passengers in a two-class
layout and a maximum of 189 passengers in a one-class layout. Deliveries of
the 737-900 to Alaska Airline are set to start early in 2001.