The Magic Number: Boeing, Airbus Reach Milestone on Same Day

Today Boeing and Airbus both reached a milestone. For Boeing, it was the delivery of the 7,000th 737 to Flydubai. For Airbus, it was the delivery of their 7,000th airframe, an A321, to US Airways.

From Boeing:

Today Boeing (NYSE: BA) delivered the 7,000th 737 to come off the production line to Dubai-based flydubai. The airplane is flydubai’s 14th Next-Generation 737-800 with the new Boeing Sky Interior. The Boeing 737 is the best-selling commercial jetliner of all time with total orders exceeding 9,300 airplanes, including orders for the new 737 MAX.

“It is incredible to be delivering our 7,000th 737. We thank flydubai and all our customers who have made the 737 the world’s most popular jet airliner,” said Beverly Wyse, vice president and general manager of the 737 program. “This success is due to the years of expertise that thousands of employees continue to build into every Boeing 737 used in private, government and commercial service.”

In November 2010, flydubai had the distinction to be the first airline in the world to offer passengers an enhanced onboard experience with the brand new Boeing Sky Interior. Today’s delivery will be the 21st in flydubai’s fleet and the airline has an additional 30 737-800s on order.

“We are proud to be a part of this important milestone for the 737,” said Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO, flydubai. “With its continuous innovations, the Next-Generation 737 brings the right combination of operational and environmental performance to address the requirements of our markets.”  Ghaith adds, “The Next-Generation 737 is a major cornerstone to flydubai’s modern, fuel-efficient and economical portfolio of commercial jets.”

The 737 is the most produced large commercial jet airliner in history and continues to hit the record books as the program produces airplanes at record rates. The gap between each record delivery is shrinking. It took Boeing 4 years 8 months between the 4,000th and 5,000th, while the gap between the 5,000th and 6,000th delivery was 3 years and 2 months. The 7,000th delivery is just 2 years and 8 months after the 6,000th. With 737 production rates increasing incrementally to a record 42 airplanes a month in the first half of 2014 the gap will continue to close.

The 737 MAX is the new-engine variant of the world’s best-selling airplane and builds on the strengths of today’s Next-Generation 737. Powered by the new CFM International LEAP-1B engines, the 737 MAX reduces fuel burn and CO2 emissions by an additional 10-12 percent over today’s most fuel-efficient single-aisle airplane, the Next-Generation 737. It will have the lowest operating costs per seat in the single-aisle segment with a 7 percent advantage over tomorrow’s competition.

To date, Boeing has received orders and commitments for more than 900 airplanes from 13 customers for the 737 MAX, while the Next-Generation 737 family has won orders for more than 6,200 airplanes with a backlog exceeding 2,300 airplanes.

With more than 5,400 airplanes in service, the 737 represents more than a quarter of the total worldwide fleet of large commercial jets flying today. More than 358 airlines in 114 countries fly 737s.

From Airbus:

Airbus delivered today its 7,000th aircraft, an A321, to US Airways – the airline that operates the largest fleet of Airbus aircraft in the world – from the Airbus facility in Hamburg, Germany. This milestone comes just two years after the delivery of Airbus’ 6,000th aircraft which underlines the continued vibrancy of the commercial aviation sector and the market’s clear vote for eco-efficient aircraft.

The 1,000th Airbus delivery was an A340-300 that went to Air France in 1993, nineteen years after the first Airbus aircraft was delivered – an A300B2 also to Air France, in 1974. The 2,000th delivery was six years later in 1999. It took half that time, just three years, to get to the 3,000th delivery in 2002 and three more years to reach 4,000 deliveries. The tempo went up another notch taking Airbus only two years to hand over its 5,000th aircraft, an A330-200 to Qantas in December 2007. The 6,000th Airbus was an A380 which was delivered to Emirates in January 2010.

“It’s particularly fitting that our 7,000th aircraft is an A321 going to US Airways. The airline not only operates the largest fleet of Airbus aircraft in the world; with over 220 A320 Family aircraft flying in US Airways colours today, they also operate the largest fleet of our best-selling, eco-efficient A320 Family,” said Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO. “This milestone is a tribute to the hard work and commitment of Airbus teams around the world. We have improved efficiencies company-wide and this has enabled us to deliver record numbers of latest generation aircraft at continually increasing rates, with an environmental footprint ever decreasing.”

“Airbus has been a long-term strategic partner to US Airways. Today we celebrate a significant milestone in Airbus’ history,” said US Airways’ Chief Executive Officer, Douglas Parker. “It is an honor to be the recipient of their 7,000th delivery. On behalf of the 32,000 employees at US Airways, we applaud this tremendous accomplishment and look forward to a continued successful partnership.”

By the end of the year, US Airways will operate a fleet of 93 A319s, 72 A320s, 63 A321s and 16 A330s. The airline also has firm orders for an additional 58 A320 Family aircraft, eight A330 aircraft and 22 A350 XWBs on backlog.

Over 8,200 A320 Family aircraft have already been ordered and more than 4,900 delivered to more than 340 customers and operators worldwide reaffirming its position as the world’s best-selling single-aisle aircraft family. The A320neo has over 95 percent airframe commonality with the current A320, making it an easy fit into existing fleets while offering up to 500 nautical miles (950 kilometres) more range or two tonnes more payload at a given range.

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