First next-generation 737, a -700, is in final assembly at Renton, Washington

British Airways has taken new Boeing 747s, 767s and 777s this year

Boeing built 45 of the short-fuselage 747SP

The 747 family is set to grow with two new variants, the 462-seat -500X and -600X which will carry 548

United Airlines' Boeing 777s have now been in service for 18 months


Around 120 Boeing 707s remain in commercial service, the vast majority of which are -300-seriesfreighters. Quiet Nacelle and Burbank Aeronautical II of the USA are offering hushkits which will allow the 707 to meet Stage 3 noise limits. These are required to enable the type to continue to flying into US and European Union airports beyond 2000.

The 707 prototype, known as the 367-80, had its maiden flight in July 1954, and the first production 707-120 entered service with Pan American Airways in October 1958. The larger, longer-range, -320B/C, fitted with Pratt & Whitney JT3D turbofans, became the standard production version from the early 1960s.


Some 1,300 Boeing 727s are in service with airlines worldwide, including more than 200 delivered as passenger versions and since converted to freighters. FedEx Aviation Services is the only supplier of Stage 3 hushkits for the 727, and it has so far sold more than 400 ship sets, of which roughly half have been delivered.

Rohr, the California-based nacelle manufacturer, launched its "Super 27" 727 re-engineing programme earlier this year. The company, supported by P&W, plans to re-engine predominantly late-production 727-200 Advanced models with JT8D-217C/219 power plants. First deliveries are planned for early 1997.

The modification removes the existing JT8D-9/15 or -17R from number one and three (outboard) positions and replaces them with -217Cs or -219s. The original, tail-mounted, number two engine is retained, equipped with a new acoustic exhaust mixer, and used at a low power setting for take-off and landing. The re-engineing is claimed to yield a 6-7% reduction in fuel consumption (for the -200), providing at least a 560km increase in range.

Dee Howard has re-engined a large number of UPS-owned Boeing 727-100s with R-R Tay 651-24 turbofans, as part of a modification which includes the installation of a two-man flightdeck and upgraded avionics.

The 727-100 was first flown in February 1963, and entered service with United Airlines in February 1964. The stretched -200 had its first flight in July 1967, and entered service with Northeast Airlines in December of the same year. The last 727 built, a -200F for FedEx was delivered in September 1984.


More than 900 first-generation Boeing 737s are in service, of which 19 are -100s. Stage 3 hushkits for the P&W JT8D-powered 737-200 are supplied by Nordam and AvAero of the USA. The first example was flown in April 1967. Eight months later, in December, Lufthansa took delivery of the first 737-100 and United received the first -200.

The 737-100 was phased out after only 30l had been built, but the larger -200 remained in production until 1988, by which time it had been superseded by the current-generation CFM56-powered 737 family.


Production of the current-generation 737 family is due to be phased out in 1999, following the introduction of the next-generation 737-600/700/800 series (see next entry). The 737-300/400/500 family features numerous improvements over the earlier -100/200 series, including the use of high bypass-ratio CFMI CFM56 engines, a modified wing, more-advanced flightdeck, and digital avionics. Many of the improvements were based on technology developed for the 757 and 767 (see entry below).

The 737-300 was launched in March 1981 with a fuselage 2.6m longer than that of the -200, raising passenger capacity to around 128 in a typical two-class layout. USAir and Southwest Airlines put the type into revenue service in December 1984.

The first -400, stretched a further 3m compared with the -300, was delivered to Piedmont Airlines (now USAir) in September 1988. The -400 typically accommodates 146 passengers in a mixed-class layout, although, in a one-class charter configuration, up to 168 passengers can be accommodated.

The -500 is the smallest member of the second-generation 737 family, which incorporates the fuselage of the -200, with the improvements of the -300. The first example was delivered to Southwest Airlines, in February 1990. The -500 seats around 108 passengers in two classes.

Production - The 737 is built at Boeing's Renton plant near Seattle Washington. Production is running at 8.5 aircraft a month, and is scheduled to rise progressively to 17 a month by the third quarter of 1997. This includes initial production of next-generation 737-600/700/800s.


The next-generation 737 family also consists of three basic variants, each with a different fuselage length, but introduces a new, larger, wing, higher cruising speeds and a greater range capabilities, compared with the current-generation series. The -600 replaces the -500; the -700 the -300 and the -800 takes over from the -400. While the -600 and -700 are the same size as the models they replace, the -800's fuselage is some 2.79m longer than that of the -400, increasing two-class seating to 160 and the high-density one-class configuration to 189.

The new wing increases overall span by 5m, and chord by 0.5m, resulting in 25% more wing area and a 30% increase in fuel capacity. Although Boeing considered offering a second power plant option, it decided to stay with CFMI, which is exclusive supplier. Significantly, CFMI partner GE is contributing to the non-recurring costs of the next-generation 737 programme. As a result, all 737600/700/800s will be fitted with the new -7 derivative of the CFM56 turbofan engine, rated at 82-117kN.

Although the new models feature an all-new flightdeck incorporating a 777-style six-screen LCD EFIS, cockpit commonality with current-generation 737s is retained as the LCDs are programmable through the so-called Flight Deck Command on Display System.

The first -700 is scheduled to be delivered to Southwest Airlines in October 1997. Hapag-Lloyd is set to take the first -800 in April 1998, while Scandinavia's SAS will receive the first 600 in August 1998.

Production -The first 737-700 will be rolled out on 8 December. Production of the next-generation 737 will be phased in progressively at Renton, with last current-generation aircraft due to leave the factory in 1999.

747-100/SP/200/300 ("Classic")

The 747 programme was launched in 1966 on the back of an order for 25 aircraft, from Pan American Airways. The first example was flown in February 1969 and Pan Am introduced the P&W JT9D-powered 747-100 into revenue service between New York and London in January 1970.

The heavier, longer-range, -200 series entered service in January 1971, and eventually became available with a choice of three power plants: the JT9D, GE CF6-50 and R-R RB211-524. Significant numbers of 747-200s were delivered as Combis and pure freighters.

Pan American Airways was the launch customer for the short-bodied 747SP (Special Performance), which was introduced in 1976, although only 45 of the variant were produced. The -300, the first derivative to feature an extended upper deck, was put into operation by Swissair in early 1983. Many early-build 747s have been purchased by cargo operators and converted into freighters. The last "Classic" 747 was manufactured in 1991.


The first 747-400 was flown in April 1988, and the first aircraft was delivered to Northwest Airlines in January 1989. The -400 retains the fuselage dimensions of the -300, but features a two-man EFIS flightdeck, numerous aerodynamic enhancements and upgraded engines. Boeing claims that the -400 burns 8-13% less fuel per seat km than the -300, and up to 17% less than the -200.

The -400 has a 4.9m greater wing span than that of the Classic, with winglets and redesigned wingbody fairings, engine pylons and nacelles. Extensive use of composite materials also led to a significant reduction in empty weight. An optional fuel tank in the horizontal stabiliser is available for operators with requirements for very-long-ranges.

The -400 is also available in Combi and pure freighter configurations. The -400D was designed for short routes in the Japanese domestic market, and lacks the extra wingspan and winglets. The undercarriage, wing and fuselage are strengthened to accommodate a high number of flight cycles, but the -400D can be modified easily to -400 standard.

Production - Production, which is undertaken at Boeing's Everett, Washington, plant, is running at 3.5 aircraft a month, scheduled to rise to four during the second quarter of 1997.


Boeing is close to freezing the design of its 747 major derivatives, although expected programme launch has slipped back to early 1997. The manufacturer had hoped to announce the formal go-ahead as early as the September 1996 Farnborough air show, although airlines have been reluctant to commit themselves to ordering the aircraft until they have received more detailed proposals from Airbus on its proposed A3XX (see Airbus entry). The projected in-service date for the -600X remains December 2000, however.

The -500X/600X models will share a new wing (without winglets), undercarriage, engines, and fly-by-wire flight-control system based on technology developed for the 777 twinjet. The -500X is designed to carry slightly more passengers than the existing-400, but over greater ranges, while the -600X offers similar range to that of the -400, but with capacity for around 30% more passengers. Two engine types are being offered to power the aircraft: the R-R Trent 900 and the GE-P&W Engine Alliance GP7000.

As now configured, the aircraft will have a wingspan of 77.7m and an overall height of 21.6m, and it will utilise a 20-wheel main undercarriage and four-wheel nose gear. The -500X will typically accommodate 462 passengers, and has an overall length of 76m. The -600X will carry around 548 passengers and is 84.5m long.


The 757-300 "stretch" was launched at the UK Farnborough air show in 1996, on the strength of a firm order for 12 aircraft from Lufthansa subsidiary Condor Flugdienst. The -300 is 7.1m longer than the standard -200 variant, and can accommodate about 20% more passengers and 50% more cargo. It will also feature a redesigned passenger cabin.

The higher payload capability of the -300 requires some strengthening of the wings, landing gear and certain parts of the fuselage, as well as upgraded wheels and brakes. The longer fuselage also necessitates the addition of a retractable tail-skid. Boeing claims that the seat operating costs of the new derivative will be about 10%lower than those of the -200.

The first 757-200 was flown in February 1982, and Eastern Airlines introduced the type into revenue service in January 1983.

Production -757 final assembly is undertaken at Renton, near Seattle, Washington. The production rate is three aircraft a month, scheduled to rise to four in January.


The 767-200 was first flown in September 1981, and entered service with United Airlines in August 1982. The longer-range -200ER began revenue service with Ethiopian Airlines in May 1984, while the stretched -300, 6.4m longer, was certificated in September 1986. The -300ER was first operated by American Airlines, from February 1988. UPS took delivery of the first 767-300F in October 1995.

Boeing is studying a further stretch of the 767, dubbed the -400X, which would be about 7m longer than the current -300. This would offer a 15-20% increase in seating capacity, 25% more cargo capacity and around 10% lower seat-kilometre costs. Range would be around 9,600km.

Production - The 767, which is assembled at Everett, Washington, is produced at the rate of four aircraft a month.


The 777-200, which flew for the first time in June 1994, entered service with United Airlines in June 1995.

The next development of the 777 is likely to be a high-gross-weight very-long-range derivative using the standard -200 fuselage. The studies follow earlier work on a short-body 100X variant, which now seems to have been dropped in favour of the better seat costs of the -200X. A configured, the -200X would have a maximum take-off weight of 322t and a 1.4m increase in wing span. An intermediate-growth variant, the -200IGW, had its first flight in October, and will be put into service by British Airways in February.

The 777-300 stretch, meanwhile, is due to have its maiden flight in October 1997. This variant is 10m longer than the -200, and will accommodate around 368 passengers in a three-class layout. The -300 is aimed at the 747 Classic replacement market.

Production -The 777 is built at Everett, Washington, and production is running at 3.5 aircraft a month, rising to five in January, and seven by the third quarter of 1997.

Delivered 40

Source: Flight International