During the last 90 years, thousands of commercial aircraft were manufactured- the bulk of which occurred after WWII. In celebration of National Aviation month, here is a look at the top five most-produced commercial aircraft in aviation history.
First introduced in 1939, the Douglas DC-3 would become the most produced aircraft. Five U.S. airlines would include the aircraft in their fleets. It was an especially popular model used by the armed forces of many countries for troop transport, cargo, and air ambulances. Even American adversaries would replicate this impressive aircraft. Despite production ending in 1950, 400 remain in service with 4 variants introduced during its production.
The narrowed body 737 is operated by more than 5,000 airlines in almost 200 countries. At any given time, as many as 1,200 are in flight. Boeing has sold so many units it is now in the Guinness Book of World Records. The model has seen nine variations since its debut in 1967. In March 2018, Boeing celebrated the 10,000 737 rolling off its production line.
With a steady backlog of orders for the A320, it is the second most delivered modern commercial jet in the world after the Boeing 737. At times it has surpassed Boeing in total sales. The Airbus A320 first took flight in 1984, with the production of two variants since.
One of the most popular small jets around is the Bombardier CRJ, introduced in 1992 by Bombardier Aerospace. The aircraft is considered a staple in world transportation, with four variants in the aircraft’s family. Eventually, the company was acquired by the Japanese corporation Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in 2020. The 1,945 CRJ rolled off production lines for the final time in Dec. 2020.
Designed for small cities, short runways, and fewer passengers, this smaller jet became the go-to in the short-haul market. Popular with airlines all over the globe but especially in the U.S. for at least 4 major airlines. Introduced in 1960, it was eventually retired in 1984. Only a handful remain in operation today.