The best-selling planes in the world | CNN Travel

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(CNN) — Size, fuel efficiency, freight and passenger load, comfort and cost. Many factors go into making an aircraft design attractive to airlines and, therefore, to their customers.

But what are the best-selling civilian aircraft of all time and what sets them apart from the rest? Let’s take a look at the top eight, based on total deliveries as of December 31, 2021.

8.Airbus A330

In production: 1992 to present

Deliveries to date: 1,527

The A330 widebody entered service 28 years ago this month and was designed by its European manufacturer Airbus to succeed the A300, the world’s first twin-engine widebody.

The 63.66 meter long A330-300 was the first variant, with a capacity of up to 440 passengers and a versatility that made it suitable for both short-haul and long-haul routes of up to 6,350 nautical miles.

It was followed by the smaller-scale A330-200, and later by the two “neo” aircraft, the A330-800 and A339-900, both featuring revolutionary curved wingtips.

7.Boeing 747

In production: 1968 to present

Deliveries to date: 1,527

Affectionately known as the “Queen of the Skies”, the four-engined 747 was the first jumbo jet and the original “jumbo jet”.

It entered service in 1970 with legendary airline Pan Am and quickly became synonymous with the glamorous era of international travel. Since 1990, it has been the US presidential choice, with the Air Force One fleet including two customized 747-200Bs.

In recent years, many airlines have replaced their 747 passengers with larger, more efficient twin-engine planes.

Boeing expects to deliver the last jumbo jet, the 747-8 Freighter, to customer Atlas Air later this year.

As airlines such as Air France begin phasing out the iconic Boeing 747 Jumbo Jets, here are some interesting facts about the ‘Queen of the Skies’.

6.Boeing 777

In production: 1993 to present

Deliveries to date: 1,677

The twin-engine “Triple Seven” isn’t quite as huge as the Queen of the Skies, but at almost 64 meters long, the long-range jumbo jet is still longer than seven telephone poles laid end to end and can accommodate 440 passengers.

It was the first airliner to be designed entirely by computer and the first Boeing aircraft to have computerized “fly-by-wire” controls to save weight.

It’s now a growing family of eight variants, with the extra-large 777X aircraft – the 777-8 and 777-9 – the newest additions. The much-delayed 777X-9 is expected to enter service in 2024, while production of the 777X-8 has yet to begin.

5.Boeing 727

In production: 1962 to 1984

Deliveries: 1,832

This medium-sized aircraft, with a T-shaped tail and three rear-mounted engines, had range for transoceanic flights, but was also versatile enough to land on short runways at smaller airports.

Boeing’s original plan was to build just 250 aircraft, but it would be the first commercial aircraft to hit the 1,000 sales milestone.

In one of aviation’s greatest unsolved mysteries, in 1971 a man known as DB Cooper hijacked a 727 in the northwestern United States before parachuting to the ground with 200,000 $ of stolen cash strapped to his body.

The daring escape was only possible because an early design quirk of the 727 meant that the rear door could be opened in mid-flight.

The Boeing 727 jet airliner made its debut in 1962.

AFP via Getty Image

4. Bombardier CRJ

In production: 1991 to 2020

Deliveries: 1,945

Regional jets are smaller aircraft, usually under 100 seats, designed for short-haul routes. The Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet family is the best-selling of its kind.

Canadian manufacturer Bombardier launched the program with the 50-seat CRJ, which was certified in 1992, before expanding it with the 70-seat CRJ700 in 1997, the 86-seat CRJ900 in 2000 and the 100-seat CRJ1000 in 2007.

The last of the popular short jets was delivered to Utah-based SkyWest Airlines in February 2021.

NEW YORK - AUG 24: A Bombardier CRJ-900LR operated by Delta Airlines takes off from JFK Airport on August 24, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

A Bombardier CRJ-900LR operated by Delta Airlines takes off from JFK Airport in 2019.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

3.Airbus A320

In production: 1986 to present

Deliveries: 10,176

This is where the competition starts to get serious. Airbus delivered its 10,000th A320 last summer and, if we were to base this list on orders as well as deliveries, the A320 overtook the Boeing 737 as the most popular aircraft of the 21st century in 2019.

The first A320 entered service in March 1988 and the twin-engine single-aisle craft has logged more than 280 million flight hours in the years since.

Variants include the A318, A319 and A321, while the A320neo Family entered service in 2016.

An Airbus A320-232 operated by JetBlue takes off from JFK airport in 2019.

An Airbus A320-232 operated by JetBlue takes off from JFK Airport in 2019.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

2.Boeing 737

In production: 1968 to present

Deliveries: 10,877

The Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 are the mainstays of aviation that most of us will have flown many, many times.

The narrow-body classic has been flying the skies for more than half a century, and the improved next-generation civilian version was produced from 1996 to 2019.

However, high-profile issues with the fourth-generation 737 MAX, which was involved in two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019, have hurt Boeing’s reputation and profits.

Major airlines are removing some 737 Max planes from service after Boeing announced the carriers need to fix a potential electrical problem.

1. Cessna 172

In production: 1968 to present

Deliveries: 45,000 and more

While the 737 and A320 are the best passenger jetliners in the world, the plucky little four-seat Cessna 172 is the most successful civilian aircraft in history, with more than 45,000 of them flying. would have been built.

Its primary use is as a training aircraft, and generation after generation of pilots have cut their teeth on it. The high wings of this single-engine machine provide pilots with better visibility, which allows them to more easily find their bearings on the world around them and also to land.

The large cab doors allow trainees and the instructor to get in and out easily, meaning this is a popular design classic that lives on.

An American Flyers pilot training school instructor and student taxi in their Cessna 172 single-engine aircraft January 7, 2002 at Palwaukee Municipal Airport in Wheeling, IL.  Spotting dangerous pilots is no easy task, flight schools say.  Few flight schools have safety measures in place that could have saved a Florida teenager from crashing a small plane into a skyscraper.  Instructors say that even with the heightened awareness after the September attacks, there is little they can do to identify a potentially dangerous pilot, although some are revising their safety procedures.  (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

An American Flyers Pilot Training School instructor and student taxi in their Cessna 172 single-engine aircraft in Illinois in 2002.

Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Jack Guy and Howard Slutsken contributed to this report.