Boeing

Overview

Boeing’s 737 factory at the Renton, Wash., site leads the industry as the most efficient airplane factory in the world. More than 14,500 commercial airplanes (707, 727, 737, and 757) or about 30 percent of the worldwide fleet flying today were built in Renton. According to Guinness World Records, the 737 is the “most produced large commercial jet” in aviation history. Covering 1.1 million square feet of factory space, the 737 program has rolled out over 10,600 of the jets since the program began in 1967. More than 7,000 Next-Generation 737 airplanes were produced in Renton from 1997 to 2019. In 2015, the factory began producing the 737 MAX family of airplanes. The P-8, a Navy submarine hunter and maritime patrol aircraft, and a military derivative of the 737-800, is also built at Renton.

Aerial view of factory

History

The Renton site is synonymous with aviation history, with roots dating back to World War II. Originally built by the Navy in 1941 to manufacture the XPBB-1 Sea Ranger patrol bomber, the Air Force bought the site in 1943 and constructed the adjacent Renton airfield to build the Boeing B-29 Superfortress. In 1954, the factory produced one of the most important airplanes in aviation history – the Boeing 367-80, nicknamed the “Dash 80.” The Dash 80 led to the KC-135 Stratotanker – the U.S. Air Force’s first jet-powered tanker, and the 707 – the world’s first successful commercial jet. The 707 ushered in the Jet Age and opened the gateway to international travel; it also paved the way for Boeing’s most successful commercial jet – the 737. Renton went on to manufacture all variants of the 737 and continues to produce the 737 MAX family of aircraft and the P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft – a modified 737-800 in service with naval forces across the globe. The Renton site also built the 727 from 1962 to 1984, and the 757 from 1981 to 2004.

737s

Quick Facts

  • The XPBB-1 Ranger was the first airplane built in Renton and only one was built, prompting the nickname “Lone Ranger.”
  • From 1974 to 1985, the Renton plant also was a shipbuilding facility; military hydrofoil missile ships and commercial jetfoils were produced alongside the aircraft production lines.
  • From airplanes to elephants: From July 1946 to 1949, no aircraft were built in Renton. The plant was used for other purposes, such as a temporary home for a circus—including elephants.
  • The 737 has more than 500 operators worldwide
  • Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, on average, over 2,800 737 airplanes are in the air carrying half a million passengers at any given time.*
  • One 737 takes off or lands every 1.5 seconds.*
  • The 737 family has carried more than 31 billion passengers; that is equivalent to every single man, woman and child flying at least four times. (2020 world population was 7.8 billion).*
  • The 737 has flown more than 170 billion miles; equivalent to approximately 2,100 round trips from the earth to the sun.* This represents more than 241 million flights recording 376 million flight hours.
  • Each of the four large commercial jetliners built at Renton—the 707, 727, 737 and 757—has surpassed the 1,000-aircraft-delivery milestone, a record of success unmatched by any other aircraft production facility in the world.

*As of November 2019