World’s Ten Most Successful Commercial Jet Airliners

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September 19, 2018
The 10,000th 737. Credit Boeing

The world’s most successful commercial jet airliners are the Boeing 737 family in number one spot and the Airbus A320 models very close behind.

The 737 has sold 14,956 and the A320 14,281. Boeing is building 737s at 52 a month and will lift that to 57 in 2019, while the A320 is being built at 55 a month with plans to lift that to 63 in 2019.

READ: The plane Boeing did not want turns 10,000

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Airbus A320

The two short to medium-haul jets, that seat between 120 and 240 passengers, are way out in front of the next best seller the McDonnell Douglas DC-9 family at 2,448 sales, that includes the later MD-80/90 and MD-95 which was rebadged the Boeing 717, after the merger of the two aerospace giants in 1997.

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DC-9s at peak production in 1967. Credit Boeing Historical Archives

In fourth place comes the first of the wide-bodies the A300/A330/A340 series with 2,656 sales. The A300 was Airbus’s first aircraft and was built in the early 70s. Later it was significantly upgraded and re-launched as the A330 and A340.

World's most successful jets
Airbus A330

In fifth place is the very successful Boeing 777 with 1,989 sales and the latest model the 777X has just been rolled out. It will enter airline service in 2020 with Emirates and Lufthansa.

World's most successful commercial jets
Boeing 777X

Coming in at sixth is the Boeing 727 with 1,831 sold. This three-engine aircraft was a revolution in its day but went out of production in the 1980s.

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Boeing 727

Seventh is the venerable Boeing 747 – the first of the wide-body aircraft – and it has been in production since 1968 with 1,568 sold. Today it is built mainly as a freighter.

READ: Have a spare $1 billion and want a VIP 747?

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Boeing 747-200B

Eighth on the list of top ten is the Boeing 787, with 1,390 sold. The 787 is a composite aircraft and is now being produced at 14 aircraft a month – the highest rate ever for a wide-body aircraft. It is produced in three versions – -8, -9, -10.

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Boeing 787

Number nine is the Boeing 767 with 1,224 sales, which the 787 replaces. While no longer being built as a passenger plane its has found a new life as a freighter for FedEx as well as the US Air Force as a tanker, although the sales number above does not include those aircraft.

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Boeing 767 at its rollout in August 1981. Credit Boeing

Finally, number 10 is another Boeing jet the 757 which is now out of production. It is a medium haul single-aisle jet that seats up to 295 in a tight all-economy configuration in the -300 model. This is the aircraft Boeing hopes to replace with its next offering the 797.

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Boeing 757 at rollout in January 1982