Boeing has a long and illustrious history in the aviation industry, with William Boeing having taken to the skies in 1916 in the first plane he built. The company is now most renowned for its commercial jet airliners. But which aircraft have been in production the longest?
The 787 is the latest in a long line of jet airliners. Photo: Getty Images
Commercial jet production
In the early 1950s, Boeing developed the pioneering 367-80, nicknamed the Dash 80. The company used the prototype for press flights and an advertising campaign to demonstrate the safety and comfort of jet airliner travel.
The Dash 80 led to the Boeing 707, the first commercial jet airliner in the United States. It also began Boeing’s 7X7 aircraft naming tradition. Here we look at the 7X7 family and how long they have been in production.
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Boeing 707 in Qantas livery. Photo: Getty Images
Boeing 707 and 720
The medium-range, four-engined 707 changed the way the world traveled, and Boeing delivered 856 of the planes between 1957 and 1994. A short to medium range variant designated the 720 was built from 1959 to 1967, with 154 aircraft delivered.
With three rear-mounted engines, the 727 was designed to serve smaller airports with shorter runways than those used by the 707. It was considered a risky proposition but proved so popular that it became the first commercial plane to exceed 1,000 sales. Between 1962 and 1984, Boeing built 1,832 of the aircraft.
The Boeing 727 was once the world’s most popular aircraft. Photo: Getty Images
When Boeing first introduced the small, twin-engined 737 to the world in 1967, it quickly became known as the “Baby Boeing.” It was to become the best-selling commercial jet in aviation history when the 10,000th unit was rolled out in 2018. The 737 is still in production with the troubled latest generation MAX, which will hopefully be cleared to take to the skies soon after its grounding in March 2019.
The Boeing 737 is known as the workhorse of the skies. Photo: Getty Images
The development of the 747, the world’s largest civilian aircraft, necessitated the construction of a vast new assembly plant in Everett, Washington. The first of these four-engined intercontinental aircraft was introduced in 1968 and made its first commercial flight in 1970. Over 1,500 747s have been delivered, but sadly the Queen of the Skies’ days are numbered as airlines move towards more agile and efficient aircraft.
The iconic 747 was introduced in 1968. Photo: Getty Images
First rolled out in 1983, the twin-engined 757 was designed to replace the aging 727. The new aircraft was up to 80% more fuel-efficient than its predecessor. As newer aircraft surpassed its capabilities, the last 757 was delivered in 2005.
The 757 was the world’s first long-range narrowbody. Photo: Delta Flight Museum
Boeing received its first order for the new widebody 767 in 1978 and is still going strong. It exceeded 1,000 sales in 2011. The 767 is the only Boeing product that serves the passenger, freighter, and tanker markets.
The 767 has proven to be a versatile workhorse for commercial, military and freighter ops. Photo: DHL
The Boeing 777 was the first digitally designed jet airliner, and it made its first commercial flight in 1995. The 777X is Boeing’s newest generation of twin-engined aircraft with the first due to be delivered in 2020, although that could be delayed until 2022.
The 777 is due an update with the forthcoming 777X. Photo: Air France
Boeing 787 Dreamliner
After the Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s first test flight in 2009, it soon became the fastest-selling widebody aircraft in history. The first 787 was delivered in 2011, and the plane reached sales of 1,000 in 2013.
The Dreamliner is the first clean-sheet design from Boeing for many years. Photo: El Al
Which one was built the longest?
While the 747 has had a long run, its something rather smaller that takes the crown for the longest aircraft built by Boeing. With production running from 1967 to the present day, the Boeing 737, dubbed the “Workhorse of the Skies,” is the aircraft Boeing has been building the longest.
Which is your favorite Boeing aircraft, and why? Let us know in the comments.