Independent aviation expert Joachim Vermooten said yesterday that the world record came with little surprise, because of the Boeing 737’s massive footprint in South Africa’s aviation industry.
Comair, South African Airways (SAA), British Airways, Mango and FlySafair operate Boeing 737s of various types, Vermooten said.
“In South Africa, the first models of the Boeing 737 were the 100 and 200 series, which offered 120 seats. We now get the 800 series, which offers 180 seats and has been lengthened. It has new engines as well as improvements in aerodynamics and avionics,” said Vermooten.
Tlali Tlali, spokesperson for state-owned SAA, said the B737 aircraft had provided SAA with more than 34 years of excellent service.
“SAA started with the B737-200s in the 1980s, upgraded to the B737-800s in the 2000s and still today operates B737-300 freighters,” said Tlali.
He said the airline currently operated three Boeing 737 freighters, while Boeing B738 aircraft were operated by SAA subsidiary airline Mango.
Tlali also said Boeing's achievement was remarkable.
"The aerospace industry has jumped leap years to where it is today, as one of the main forms of transport in the world, and this would not have been possible if it were not for the continued innovation and commitment from manufacturers like Boeing.”
Comair, which is replacing its ageing fleet of long-haul aircraft with new Boeings, is a case in point.
The airline announced last year that it had entered into an agreement with Boeing for the purchase of eight B737-8 MAX aircraft, scheduled for delivery between 2019 and 2022.
It said its major investment in 2017 was in the pre-delivery payments towards the first two Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft to be delivered in January and February 2019.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and chief executive Kevin McAllister said in a statement that the 10000th Boeing 737 was an incredible milestone and a testament to Boeing's work to build the most reliable and efficient single-aisle aircraft in the world.
“It represents more than 50 years of success and achievement on the part of thousands of Boeing employees past and present, our supplier partners, and our airline customers around the globe who put their confidence in the 737.”
The 737 previously held this title in 2006 for the 5000th aircraft to come out of the Renton factory, a mark that took almost four decades to reach.
“The speed at which Boeing achieved this new milestone is very impressive,” said Michael Empric, official adjudicator for Guinness World Records.
“We are excited to once again recognise the 737 and the important role it plays in commercial aviation.”
Boeing now manufactures 47 of the jets each month, increasing to 52 a month this year.
- BUSINESS REPORT