Randy's Journal: Archives
It's not every day you get to deliver 5,000 of a single airplane type, AND set a Guinness World Record in the process.
It all happened at a little celebration yesterday in Renton, home of the Boeing 737 Program. That's when we turned over the keys to the 5,000th 737 to Southwest Airlines.
With the delivery, Guinness World Records acknowledged the 737 as "the most produced large commercial jet in aviation history."
With a fresh coat of paint, the 5,000th 737 prepares to roll out late last month.
It's especially fitting that Southwest Airlines is the customer in this particular delivery milestone. Southwest helped launch three 737 models - the 737-300, -500, and the -700. The 737-700 delivered this week is the 447th 737 to join Southwest's fleet. And the airline will take delivery of 33 more 737s in 2006.
There are so many things you can say about this program. Did you know that the 737 fleet represents more than a quarter of the total worldwide fleet of commercial jets? There are more than 4,100 737s in service around the world. Or that a 737 takes off or lands every 4.6 seconds somewhere around the globe?
And let's not forget the main reason we're seeing so many orders for this airplane, and why it continues to be the best-selling commercial airplane (with more than 6,000 orders and counting). It's because we've continually improved this product with the latest breakthrough technologies throughout the life of the 737 program.
It was one for the record books yesterday as hundreds of Boeing and Southwest Airlines employees celebrated the 5,000th 737 delivery - a 737-700 for SWA.
The Next-Generation 737, which we launched in 1993, is 10 years younger than the competing aircraft, the A320 series. It has lower operating costs, and superior structural efficiency. Prime reasons why the newer 737s fly farther and higher, and consume less fuel. It's an airplane that's designed to meet the demands of this century.
As of January 31, we delivered 1,852 Next-Generation 737s. And we'll deliver the 2000th Next-Generation 737 this summer. Not bad. Not bad at all.
It calls to mind something I just read in this month's Airline Business. Southwest's chief executive Gary Kelly said the airline's amazing growth will be driven by a steady flow of 737-700 deliveries over the next several years. As Kelly put it in the article, "The 737-700 is our future."
Yep. And it's a big part of ours, too.