The Boeing 737 is the most successful passenger aircraft of the world. Meanwhile this aircraft exists for nearly 35 years. This short-distance jet was developed in the Sixties, basing on the Boeing 707. The first delivery was a Boeing 737-100 in February 1968 to Lufthansa. As the Boeing 737-200 was much more succesful than version -100, this version was stopped after 30 deliveries. In 1971 the 737-200Adv was launched, which is driven by PW J8TD-15A engines and has higher range than its predeccessors.
In 1984 Boeing presented the completely modified 737-300, which had according to slight modifications of the model new engines by CFM which weren't located below the wings anymore, but situated in gondolas. The 737-300 was the great break-through of the 737 and became the best known aircraft of the world. Of this version alone, over 1000 ones left the hangars of Renton. According to the 737-300, Boeing developed versions 737-400 which was stretched and able to transport more passengers, as well as the shortened version 737-500.
When the European competitor Airbus launched its A320 in 1988, Boeing felt forced to think about a further development of its 737 family. With an order of the world-biggest 737 owner Southwest the starting signal for the 737 Next Generation was given. Along with the 737-700, the 737-600 - successor of the 737-500 - , as well as the 737-800 - successor of the 737-400 - were developed. In 1997 the 737-900 was presented, which is an another time stretched 737-800. While sales for the -700 and -800 are at a very high level, Boeing has a very hard time selling its -600 and -900.
The most important changes of the Next Generation family were new engines, about 25% enlarged wings as well as a glass flight deck with six LCD-screens.
For a couple of years, Boeing has been offering fuel-efficient 'winglets'. The upwards bent wing ends, first used by Hapag-Lloyd, have grown to be a very popular feature. As well as the 737, now in its third generation, which will remain one of the world's most popular airplanes for a long time - supersized offers like Ryanair's are taking care of it.