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10 Most Commonly Sold Commercial Jets to Airlines

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If you fly regularly, the chances are that you are spending a lot of time on board one of these 10 most commonly sold commercial jets to airlines. More than 25,000 of them have been delivered to airlines around the world, with additional 10,000 on firm order. It is almost impossible to find an airline anywhere on the globe that doesn’t have at least one of these commercial jets in its fleet.

When Wright brothers first took to the air on that cold December morning in 1903, it is doubtful that they could imagine how their invention would transform the world in just a short span of a 100 years. The reverse is also true. Looking at the modern commercial jet behemoths carrying hundreds of passengers, it is hard to imagine that it all started with a contraption made from spruce and linen, powered by a homemade 12 horse power engine. And yet, despite its humble looks, there are few invention in history that can rival the impact Flyer I had on humanity.
Most Commonly Sold Commercial Jets to Airlines Boeing 777

From Sikorsky’s Ilya Muromets, the first purposefully built airliner, to Airbus A380, the largest commercial jet in the world, airlines have helped shape the modern world into what we know it today tremendously. Hundreds of models have been designed and built, carrying millions of passengers to their destinations around the globe. A commercial pilot, often trained on some of the easiest airplanes to learn to fly in, has become one of the most sought after professional in the world, not to mention a very desirable career choice.

These 10 most commonly sold commercial jets to airlines represent the backbone of commercial aviation of the world. Some of them are out of production but are still flying. Since the 1990s, the market has been effectively controlled by two large conglomerates, Boing and Airbus. These two giants have managed to either swallow or push out of the business almost every other smaller manufacturer. While their domination on the list is overwhelming, there are few commercial jets on it that aren’t produced by either of the two. However, in the future, lists like these will only have two names on it.

In order to better gauge which commercial jets are most commonly sold to airlines, we have combined the numbers of delivered planes and planes on firm order. Currently, both Airbus and Boeing have several years’ worth of production sold in advance. While these firm orders can be canceled (with penalties for the buyer), with the current estimated growth of commercial airlines it is highly unlikely.

10.Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Delivered: 329; On firm order: 768; Total sales: 1,097

Together with Airbus A350 XWB (783 jets on firm order), Boeing 787 is the future of commercial aviation. This wide-body airliner is Boeing’s most fuel-efficient model, a quality in high demand these days. Depending on the variant, it can seat between 242 to 335 passengers. The cost is $224.6 million for 787-8 model and $306.1 million for 787-10 model. In total, 32 airlines operate Boeing 787 Dreamliner, with All Nippon Airways having the most jets in service, 38, followed by Japan Airlines (23) and Qatar Airways (22).

9.Boeing 767

Delivered: 1,081; On firm order: 80; Total sales: 1,161

Introduced in 1981, Boeing 767 is a wide body two engine jet. It can seat between 181 and 375 passengers while the freighter version 767-300F has a capacity of 15,469 cubic feet. The cost for a freighter version is $188.0 million while the best-selling passenger version 767-300ER goes for $185.8 million. Boeing 767 also has a military application as a tanker and surveillance airplane in Italian and Japanese air forces. More than 90 airlines have Boeing 767 in their fleets, with Delta Air Lines being the biggest user, operating 95 planes.

8.McDonnell Douglas MD-80

Delivered: 1,191; On firm order: 0; Total sales: 1,191

The first intruder into Boeing/Airbus domination is McDonnell Douglas MD-80. Since venerable MD-80 is out of production, in a few years it will no longer have a place on this list. But for now, it still holds its own. Produced for 20 years, from 1979 to 1999, MD-80 was derived from DC 9. It was later developed into MD-90 and Boeing 717. There are currently 426 MD-80 in service with 28 airlines, 180 of them with Delta Air Lines.

7.Embraer E-Jet

Delivered: 1,090; On firm order: 249; Total sales: 1339

The only commercial jet on our list not manufactured in Europe or North America is Brazilian Embraer E-Jet. Introduced in 2002, it was one of the biggest commercial success in the history of airlines. This narrow body twin engine jet managed to outsell much bigger names in it short lifespan, and the sales are still going strong. It can seat between 80 and 124 passengers. One of the reasons behind it success is the low price. E-170 variant goes for $28.5 million while larger E-195 costs $47.0 million. It is currently in the fleets of 71 airlines, with biggest operators being Republic Airlines with 172 and Air Canada with 120 E-jets in service and on firm order.

6.Boeing 747

Delivered: 1,514; On firm order: 29 Total sales: 1,543

The most iconic wide-body jet airliner in the world, Boeing 747 had its maiden flight in 1969. For 37 years after that it held the record for passenger capacity, ranging from 416 to 660. The original Jumbo Jet, a nickname that came to describe every wide-body long-range jet airliner, was expected to become obsolete after 400 planes, but 46 years later, it is still in production, with more than 1,500 delivered. The first variant, 747-100, was selling at $24 million in the 1960s. The latest itineration, 747-8I, costs $351.4 million. The Boeing 747 saw numerous versions being built, for both civilian and military use. The two most recognizable are Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, designed to transport Space Shuttle orbiters and VC-25, more commonly known as Air Force One. Airlines from 93 countries had or still have 747s in their fleets. But the end is in sight for the Queen of the Skies. It is scheduled to be replaced with a more efficient model, currently in development, Boeing Y3.

5.Airbus A330

Delivered: 1,224; On firm order: 185/A330neo:145; Total sales: 1,554

With total sales of 1,554 commercial jets worldwide, Airbus A330 is fifth on our list of 10 most commonly sold commercial jets to airlines. Airbus A330 had its maiden flight in 1992. It’s wide-body twin-engine commercial jet, featuring fly-by-wire controls and glass cockpit, previously introduced by Airbus on their A320 model. It can carry up to 335 passengers or 70 tons of cargo in a freighter variant. It went through several variants, the most expensive being A330-300 at $253.7 million. The latest itineration is A330neo (new engine option), scheduled for delivery in late 2017, costs $284.6 million for A330-900neo model. Currently, there are 92 airlines that operate A330 variants, with Turkish Airlines being the largest operator with 53 jets in its fleet, followed by China Eastern Airlines with 51 planes, and Air China with 50.

4.Boeing 727

Delivered: 1,832;On firm order: 0; Total sales: 1,832

The only three-engine jet on our list, Boeing 727 had its maiden flight in 1963. 727 can seat between 131 and 189 passengers. Several variants have been built, most notable 727-200, with more than 1,200 planes built. During the 1960s and 1970s, Boeing 727 was a staple jet on domestic lines, with now defunct Eastern Air Lines operating more than 170 of them. Today, there are less than 200 727 in service, with only 7 airlines operating more than 5 airplanes. It is also used for military and government purposes in several countries around the world. When introduced, 727 cost $4.25 million, rising to $22 million in 1982. The production ended in 1984.

3.Boeing 777

Delivered: 1,340; On firm order: 541; Total sales: 1,881

The world’s largest twin-engine commercial jet, Boeing 777 was introduced in 1994. Its seating capacity varying from 314 to 451 passengers and long range with the fuel economy of a twin-engine plane made it very popular for transoceanic flights among airlines. It is the most commonly sold wide-body commercial jet in the world, with total sales of 1881 planes. The latest version is 777X, planned to enter production in 2020. 777-200LR holds the record for the world’s longest non-stop passenger flight, flying without stops 21,602 km from Hong Kong to London on the eastward route. The flight lasted 22 hours and 22 minutes. The current version, 777-300ER, costs $320.2 million. Boeing 777 is operated by 76 airlines, with emirates being the biggest with 144 planes in its fleet.

2.Boeing 737

Delivered: 8,725; On firm order: 4243; Total: 12968

Boeing 737 is the oldest design still in production on our list. Its first flight was in 1967. Since then, 8,725 were produced in several variants. The latest, dubbed Boeing 737 Next Generation, was introduced in 1997. It can seat between 110 and 210 passengers. 737-900ER costs $101.9 million, a sharp price hike compared to 1989 737-100, which cost $32 million. Some 500 airlines from more than 190 countries operate 737 variants. Boeing 737 carried more than 12 billion passengers in its history. It is estimated than a quarter of all large commercial jets in the world are 737s.

1.Airbus A320

Delivered: 6,737; On firm order: 5,502/A320neo 4,307; Total: 16,546

With 6,737 delivered and 9,809 on firm order, A320 is the most commonly sold commercial jet to airlines. Although Boeing 737 sold more planes (by a small margin), it had 20 years head start. By the end of its production life, A320 will most likely take the first place on this list. Introduced in 1987, A320 was a very innovative model. It featured world’s first fly-by-wire controls in a commercial jet. The latest version is A321, priced at $113.7 million while A321neo goes for 124.4 million. Airbus A320 is in service with more than 250 airlines around the world, with US Airways operating 275 planes as the largest operator.

10 Most Commonly Sold Commercial Jets to Airlines

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