Boeing 737-800s and 900s have 85% of all NG seats – we explore routes

Boeing 737-800s and 900s have 85% of all NG seats – we explore routes (2)

The Boeing 737-800 is by far the dominant NG model, with over a three-quarter share of all NG seats in 2019.

1.32 billion.  That’s how many seats Boeing 737-800s and 900s had in 2019, OAG data shows.

They had a combined 85.3% share of the total 1.55 billion Boeing 737 NG non-stop seats.

Last time we looked at the development and network of Boeing 737-600s and 700s.

Now it’s the turn of the 800s and 900s: the only two models to have increased their share of total NG capacity since the start of the decade.

This follows the recent filing of MAX services by American Airlines between Miami and New York La Guardia for December 2020.

Boeing 737-800s and 900s have 85% of all NG seats – we explore routes

Of the four NG models, only 800s and 900s had a higher % in 2019 than in 2010.

Boeing 737-800s had five times as many seats as 600s and 700s combined

With 1.18 billion seats, Boeing 737-800s had five times as many as Boeing 737-600s and 700s combined.

Seats by 800s increased by 740 million between 2010 and 2019.

LCCs had 39% of total 800 capacity, a far lower proportion than the 51% they had of A320 seats.

169 airlines used the 800 in 2019, of which Ryanair was by far the largest with 151 million seats.

It was followed by Southwest, American Airlines, Southwest, China Southern, Gol, Xiamen Air, Hainan Airlines, Shandong Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and Air China.

In all, these 10 carriers had 44% of B737-800 capacity last year.

Boeing 737-800s and 900s have 85% of all NG seats – we explore routes

For the top-10 B737-800 operators in 2019, here’s their seat development since 2010.  Southwest started using 800s in 2012, with it becoming the model’s third-largest user in 2016.

China the top country for 800s

Not surprisingly from the top-10 operators’ list, China was by far the top country for 800s.  It had over one in five seats. 

With 349 million seats, Northeast Asia was the leading sub-region for the model.  It was followed by Western Europe (312 million) and then North America (186 million).

Globally, the top airports for -800s were Jakarta, Beijing Capital, Dallas Fort Worth, London Stansted, Guangzhou, Oslo, Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen, Chicago O’Hare, Melbourne, and Xiamen.

Despite no Qantas, Norwegian, SAS, or Virgin Australia in the top-10 airline list, these carriers were crucial for most of the model’s top domestic routes. 

The lack of Northeast Asia is notable in this regard.  With 938,850 seats, its top domestic route, Okinawa – Miyako, was some way short of being included.  And even more so for its top international route, Osaka Kansai – Shanghai Pudong, with 277,760.

Top domestic routes by seats for B737-800s  Top international routes by seats for B737-800s
Melbourne – Sydney 6,863,253 Oslo – Stockholm Arlanda 1,208,736
Brisbane – Sydney 4,526,847 Copenhagen – Oslo 1,108,309
Brisbane – Melbourne 3,251,489 Dublin – London Stansted 1,029,861
Adelaide – Melbourne 2,254,170 Dublin – London Gatwick 985,446
Oslo – Trondheim 1,878,391 AmsterdamBarcelona 787,212
Bergen – Oslo 1,825,629 Madrid – Paris Orly 773,858
Adelaide – Sydney 1,625,148 Copenhagen – Stockholm Arlanda 753,361
Melbourne – Sydney 1,539,865 Birmingham – Dublin 742,203
Canberra – Melbourne 1,453,304 Dublin – Manchester 739,179
MadridPalma 1,360,992 Dubai – Kuwait 732,492
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser.

80% of Boeing 737-900 seats are domestic

Since 2017, Boeing 737-900s have seen more seats added – on a percentage basis – than 800s. But obviously from vastly different bases.

Anchorage – Seattle was the top 900 domestic route, marginally ahead of Jeju – Seoul Gimpo, the world’s top domestic route across all aircraft.

Read more: Seattle had 33% of Anchorage seats; ~760,000 connected over Seattle with Alaska.

The 900 had 142 million seats in 2019. United Airlines, Delta, Lion Air, Alaska Airlines, Thai Lion Air, Korean Air, Turkish Airlines, KLM, Okay Airways, and Oman Air were the model’s top carriers.

With six in ten seats, the 900 is mainly a US plane, despite having only three users.

United is the world’s largest user of the model.  Its top routes were between hubs. In order: Denver and Houston International, Chicago and Newark, Denver and Los Angeles, Chicago and Denver, Washington Dulles and Los Angeles.  Denver had United’s most 900 seats.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Nordwind and Pegas Fly both received their first -900s last year.  Then, Pegas Fly’s top route with it was Moscow Sheremetyevo – St Petersburg; for Nord Wind, it was St Petersburg – Heraklion.

South America’s B737-900 seats were almost non-existent, while Europe had just 3.4% of the global total.  

1% of seats were to, from, and within Africa. Just 324,000 were within the continent, all on one-stop services by Turkish Airlines and Oman Air.

In many ways, Turkish Airlines’ Africa network revolves around the 900.  It had 1.5 million Africa seats by it across 38 destinations. If one-stops are combined, Bamako/Niamey, Accra, Kinshasa/Libreville, Cotonou/Abidjan, and Dar Es Salaam were its top markets by the model.

Top domestic routes by B737-900 seats Top international routes by B737-900 seats
Anchorage – Seattle 1,798,158 Atlanta – Cancun 591,120
Jeju – Seoul Gimpo 1,751,360 Cancun – Houston Intercontinental 579,423
Denpasar – Jakarta 1,458,695 Jakarta – Kuala Lumpur 467,075
Los Angeles – Seattle 1,358,123 Jakarta – Singapore 436,450
Jakarta – Makassar 1,079,250 Cancun – Newark 398,275
Atlanta – Denver 1,001,774 New York JFK – Santiago (DR) 394,200
Balikpapan – Tarakan 989,645 New York JFK – Santo Domingo 391,320
Atlanta – West Palm Beach 921,060 Amsterdam – Tel Aviv 284,653
Surabaya – Makassar 876,125 Kozhikode – Muscat 258,213
Denver – Houston Intercontinental 843,985 Kathmandu – Kuala Lumpur 232,380
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser.


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