The Boeing [NYSE: BA] 737 in 2003 remained the company's best-selling commercial airplane, propelled by strong demand from the world's low-cost airlines.
The Next-Generation 737 models (737-600/-700/-800/-900) accounted for 86 percent of the 239 Boeing commercial airplanes ordered last year. The Next-Generation 737s have annually been Boeing's best seller since entering service in 1998.
Demand from low-cost airlines such as Southwest Airlines, Ryanair, WestJet and Virgin Blue underpins the 737's popularity. The Next-Generation 737s have received 56 percent of orders from that market segment during the past five years, nineteen of the 24 low-cost airlines operate only 737s, and 92 percent of airplanes flown by low-cost carriers are Boeing 737s.
"The 737 aircraft produced the best results for Virgin Blue and more importantly our guests," said Brett Godfrey, chief executive officer of Brisbane-based Virgin Blue. "The 737 is the proven leader for low-cost airlines around the world, and it has been a key factor to the success of Virgin Blue."
The Next-Generation 737s are the newest and most technologically advanced in their class, offering new flight-deck technologies such as Head-Up and Vertical Situation displays that aren't available on competing Airbus models. In addition, the modern 737s provide exceptional economics through lower fuel burn and maintenance costs.
"The 737's design, reliability, fuel economy, and quick turn-around times, all of which contribute to low operating costs, make it the low-cost airlines' airplane of choice," said Carolyn Corvi, Boeing 737 vice president and general manager. "It allows those carriers to provide cost-conscious travelers with the value they want."
Since 1998 air carriers have ordered more than 2,240 Next-Generation 737s. Overall the 737 family is the best-selling in history. About 5,400 Boeing 737s have been ordered, more than the total for all Airbus models combined.