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The 737, Boeing’s short- to medium-haul workhorse, broke another record today, as the aircraft manufacturer rolled out its 10,000th aircraft of the type.

 

The rollout is quite the accomplishment for Boeing, particularly its engineering and design teams that have molded the 737 across more than 10 different versions, over the span of some 50 years. Over the decades, Boeing has revisited, revamped and re-energized the 737 program, introducing better fuel economics, state-of-the-art cockpit avionics and a (mostly) improved passenger experience.

The lucky 10,000th plane? A 737 MAX 8 destined for Southwest, a fitting customer for this achievement. Southwest, founded in 1967 (the same year the original 737-100 flew its first flight), operates the largest fleet of 737s of any carrier in the world. In fact, the airline has never purchased any other aircraft besides this trusty narrow-body. Southwest was even the launch customer of the 737NG — Boeing’s 1993 revamp of the 737 program, when it introduced the 737-600/700/800/900 types, complete with glass cockpits and modernized onboard equipment (like digital screens instead of analog indicators). Since taking delivery of its first 737 MAX last year, Southwest has more than a dozen in its fleet and plans to use the type on its highly anticipated routes to Hawaii.

It’s no easy feat getting to 10,000 aircraft. Boeing’s dedicated 737 facility in Renton, Washington, pumps out some 47-52 jets per month, and the aerospace giant hopes to increase that number to more than 60 jets monthly in the next two years.

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