Among the list of 50 commercial planes delivered by Boeing in 2020, there were two 737-800NG jets, which were delivered to China Eastern Airlines on January 5 and marked the end of the Next Generation series career in commercial aviation after almost 22 years. in production.

Boeing delivered the first aircraft, a 737-700, to Southwest Airlines on December 17, 1997, and has since produced about 7,000 NG aircraft.

The two planes delivered this year and which received the livery from low-cost China United Airlines, however, were not the last ones produced by Boeing at Renton. The honor went to a 737-800 delivered to KLM, which was leased from Bank of Communications Leasing and which flew to the Netherlands on December 18 of last year.

Among the various models of the 737NG offered by the US manufacturer, the most popular with a wide margin was the 737-800 which had almost 5,000 units produced. On the other hand, the 737-600, the smallest version and capable of carrying only 123 passengers in a single class, managed to have only 69 aircraft completed.

Troubled successor

When it was announced in the early 1990s, the 737 NG was a response to the A320, Airbus aircraft that emerged a few years earlier and was starting to bother Boeing. To face the European rival, the planemaker designed a new wing, bigger and capable of carrying more fuel. It also updated its avionics and passenger cabin, in addition to introducing more efficient turbofans.

The solution worked very well and the 737 remained competitive in the market, breaking order records. The promising result made the Boeing attempt a new update in 2011, the 737 MAX.

The Boeing 737-700 N700GS, first in the series to be delivered in December 1997: active after 23 years (redlegsfan21)

It seemed that it would be a repeat of the successful NG, however, the new series has presented several problems that culminated with its grounding a year ago, after two fatal accidents, and repercussions already more than known.

Although it has a respectable backlog, which totals 4,740 aircraft in March, the 737 Max has only 387 units delivered so far. In view of the discouraging scenario in air transport, these numbers only tend to fall in the coming months.

Interestingly, the 737NG died, but it is still alive: if in commercial aviation its career is over, the military versions like the P-8 Poseidon, used in maritime patrol, remain active and in production, luckily for Boeing.