The Boeing 737 has become the most successful passenger airliner
in the world. Beginning with an early version of the liner in
1968, the plane continues to be produced, continually
incorporating changes to address the needs of contemporary
Boeing had an advantage in the late 1940s and the 1950s when
passenger airliners were first changing from piston-engines to
jet engines. The company had already developed the B-47and B-52
bombers, which were powered by jet engines.
By 1954, when the Strategic Air Command needed to upgrade
their fleet of piston-engine tanker aircraft used for air-to-air refuelling, it was Boeing that had the expertise to produce the
KC-97 tanker using jet engines.
The KC-97 was then easily converted to the 707 series of
By 1968, the first 737s were being used by commercial
airlines. They have been continuously improved used the latest
technology ever since.