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fsxfan38
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Airline customer codes question

Fri Feb 16, 2018 2:12 pm

But how come when it comes to certain airlines, the number of the aircraft model changes? For example JAL called their Boeing 747-100 the "747-146" and Pan Am referred to theirs as the "747-121"

Is there a formal difference between the two?
Last edited by atcsundevil on Fri Feb 16, 2018 2:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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jetmatt777
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Re: This is probably the dumbest question you'll ever hear from an aircraft enthusiast

Fri Feb 16, 2018 2:14 pm

Boeing used to have customer codes for each airline. United was -22 and Southwest is H4. So a United 757-200 was delivered as a 757-222, a Southwest 737-700 was a 737-7H4.

I believe they have just now gotten away from this tradition.
 
ordpark
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Re: This is probably the dumbest question you'll ever hear from an aircraft enthusiast

Fri Feb 16, 2018 2:18 pm

Not dumb at all.....Boeing, until recently, had customer numbers...For example, United's customer Number was 22. Hence 747-400's became '422's No basic difference to the basic aircraft, just cosmetic stuff...And please remember there are no dumb questions, only questions that you don't know the answer to!
 
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coronado
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Re: This is probably the dumbest question you'll ever hear from an aircraft enthusiast

Fri Feb 16, 2018 2:42 pm

Northwest (and later Delta) operated 747-451 's with the ''51' suffix denoting the Boeing code for Northwest. However there were actually 2 IIRC Boeing 747-451 taken up by United Airlines. I may be off on the details, but IIRC Boeing had actually started building these 2 for Northwest, so Boeing already had them as 'work in progress' when Northwest reduced their order or reshuffled their delivery calendar with Boeing, and those two aircraft were then completed for and delivered to United, but still with the 747-451 model plate.
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tb727
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Re: This is probably the dumbest question you'll ever hear from an aircraft enthusiast

Fri Feb 16, 2018 2:47 pm

Here is the list in case you want to look at all of them. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_B ... omer_codes
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northstardc4m
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Re: This is probably the dumbest question you'll ever hear from an aircraft enthusiast

Fri Feb 16, 2018 2:50 pm

Just remember:

"The only stupid question is the one not asked" -Albert Einstein.

Customer code is assigned before delivery so there are some aberrations... for example UA had 2 (105/106) 747-451s originally built but never delivered to Northwest.

Also early on customer codes were assigned to potential sales... which is why United, Eastern, Air Canada, Delta etc got such low codes despite not ordering from Boeing until much later... though I'm still trying to find out why Northwest ended up with 51 when they were an early 707 sales target.
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ClassicLover
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Re: This is probably the dumbest question you'll ever hear from an aircraft enthusiast

Fri Feb 16, 2018 2:54 pm

northstardc4m wrote:
Customer code is assigned before delivery so there are some aberrations...


This is true, however there was at least one time where it was changed to already in production aircraft. The American Airlines Boeing 737-823 order that they dropped and handed to Qantas at the end of 2000. Those already in production aircraft were reassigned the Qantas code and became 737-838 instead.
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northstardc4m
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Re: This is probably the dumbest question you'll ever hear from an aircraft enthusiast

Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:10 pm

ClassicLover wrote:
northstardc4m wrote:
Customer code is assigned before delivery so there are some aberrations...


This is true, however there was at least one time where it was changed to already in production aircraft. The American Airlines Boeing 737-823 order that they dropped and handed to Qantas at the end of 2000. Those already in production aircraft were reassigned the Qantas code and became 737-838 instead.


Yes I'm aware and it's more than once...

My personal feeling is that it's due to paperwork. For the NW to UA 744s the paperwork was advanced far enough that to restart it all to change it from 451 to 422 wasn't worth it. In the case of the AA to QF change as the aircraft were being exported the paperwork probably had to be changed anyways so the code was changed.
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
 
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BWIAirport
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Re: Airline customer codes question

Fri Feb 16, 2018 4:01 pm

In terms of the operations of the aircraft, there is no difference between, say, United's (former CO) 757-224s and American's 757-223s, both RR-powered aircraft. IMO it doesn't actually add anything practical to the aircraft, it's just neat to see where the metal originally came from. I also felt a lot smarter telling my friends they're flying on 777-232/ERs than just a 777-200.
SWA, UAL, DAL, AWE, ASA, TRS, DLH, CLH, AFR, BAW, EIN, AAL, FFT | E190 DC94 CRJ2 B712 B733 B737 B738 B739 B744 B752 B753 B762 B77W A319 A320 A20N A321 A333 A343 A388 MD88
 
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reffado
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Re: Airline customer codes question

Fri Feb 16, 2018 4:38 pm

BWIAirport wrote:
In terms of the operations of the aircraft, there is no difference between, say, United's (former CO) 757-224s and American's 757-223s, both RR-powered aircraft. IMO it doesn't actually add anything practical to the aircraft, it's just neat to see where the metal originally came from. I also felt a lot smarter telling my friends they're flying on 777-232/ERs than just a 777-200.


Same here. Plus, it's kind of interesting to know where exactly the frame started its life (most of the time). I remember when the first Dreamliners went into service, a.net would have them listed as 787-816 Dreamliner, for example. Marketing at Boeing apparently decided this shouldn't be a thing anymore, but I liked it better. Way better.
 
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klm617
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Re: This is probably the dumbest question you'll ever hear from an aircraft enthusiast

Fri Feb 16, 2018 6:37 pm

ClassicLover wrote:
northstardc4m wrote:
Customer code is assigned before delivery so there are some aberrations...


This is true, however there was at least one time where it was changed to already in production aircraft. The American Airlines Boeing 737-823 order that they dropped and handed to Qantas at the end of 2000. Those already in production aircraft were reassigned the Qantas code and became 737-838 instead.



Wardair also had a Continental 747-124 delivered as a 747-1D1
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benbeny
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Re: Airline customer codes question

Fri Feb 16, 2018 6:37 pm

So, what does the customer code actually mean? Different configs, perhaps? But, I bet Boeing can do just fine without those numbers. Look at 787, for example.
 
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northstardc4m
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Re: Airline customer codes question

Fri Feb 16, 2018 6:57 pm

benbeny wrote:
So, what does the customer code actually mean? Different configs, perhaps? But, I bet Boeing can do just fine without those numbers. Look at 787, for example.


For Boeing, who bought the thing basically. Airlines have different configs even different engines on the same model and customer number. So basically it means nothing in the end except who Boeing says it was bought by.
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
 
WPvsMW
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Re: Airline customer codes question

Fri Feb 16, 2018 7:11 pm

Or more accurately, in nearly all cases, the entity that placed the order as of the date the line number was assigned.
 
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TurboJet707
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Re: Airline customer codes question

Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:42 pm

Interestingly, the range started with -20 (Boeing), not -01. The numbers were assigned in a chronological order. I believe the numbering started with the 707. That plane's first customer was PanAm, so PanAm got 707-121s (and later 707-321s). United got -22, -23 was for American, -24 for Continental and so on, until -99 was reached. Next customer was given -01 (Piedmont).
KLM had customer code -06. When seeing a 747-406, someone could think that KLM was earlier than PanAm to order Boeings, but that was not the case: as a very loyal Douglas customer they were late to the party and -06 was in fact one of the last of the 'normal' customer codes. After -19, Boeing reverted to combinations like -H4 which were more difficult to identify.

I think it's a shame that Boeing stopped with the customer codes: when you see a picture on Airliners.net of an old 707-328 in the colours of an obscure and short-lived African charter airline, for example, you immediately know that it started its life as an Air France bird. For some reason I find that kind of information fascinating.

The code did not necessarily say anything about the plane's specification. Only exception that I can think of is the 707-138 which was a unique short-body, long-range version of the 707 specially developed for and only sold to Qantas. One could argue that the later 720 was inspired by this design.
 
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ClassicLover
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Re: Airline customer codes question

Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:16 pm

TurboJet707 wrote:
Only exception that I can think of is the 707-138 which was a unique short-body, long-range version of the 707 specially developed for and only sold to Qantas. One could argue that the later 720 was inspired by this design.


Which of course was the original 707 that Qantas contracted for before Boeing lengthened it for everyone else.

http://www.adastron.com/707/qantas/707-development.htm

The full fascinating story of that is at the link above.
I do enjoy a spot of flying, especially when it's not in economy!
 
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ClassicLover
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Re: Airline customer codes question

Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:17 pm

ClassicLover wrote:
TurboJet707 wrote:
Only exception that I can think of is the 707-138 which was a unique short-body, long-range version of the 707 specially developed for and only sold to Qantas. One could argue that the later 720 was inspired by this design.


Which of course was the original 707 that Qantas contracted for. Boeing lengthened it for everyone else, and Qantas managed to get them to agree to build the original version just for them.

http://www.adastron.com/707/qantas/707-development.htm

The full fascinating story of that is at the link above.
I do enjoy a spot of flying, especially when it's not in economy!
 
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ClassicLover
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Re: Airline customer codes question

Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:17 pm

TurboJet707 wrote:
Only exception that I can think of is the 707-138 which was a unique short-body, long-range version of the 707 specially developed for and only sold to Qantas. One could argue that the later 720 was inspired by this design.


Which of course was the original 707 that Qantas contracted for. Boeing lengthened it for everyone else, and Qantas managed to get them to agree to build the original version just for them.

http://www.adastron.com/707/qantas/707-development.htm

The full fascinating story of that is at the link above.
I do enjoy a spot of flying, especially when it's not in economy!
 
UA444
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Re: Airline customer codes question

Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:40 pm

Boeing is still using them. There’s been many employees in production threads who have verified such.
 
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TurboJet707
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Re: Airline customer codes question

Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:07 pm

ClassicLover wrote:
TurboJet707 wrote:
Only exception that I can think of is the 707-138 which was a unique short-body, long-range version of the 707 specially developed for and only sold to Qantas. One could argue that the later 720 was inspired by this design.


Which of course was the original 707 that Qantas contracted for. Boeing lengthened it for everyone else, and Qantas managed to get them to agree to build the original version just for them.

http://www.adastron.com/707/qantas/707-development.htm

The full fascinating story of that is at the link above.


Thanks ClassicLover, didn't know that!
Thanks for the link. Actually I visit that website quite regularly, it's great! The lengthy report on bringing VH-EBA, Qantas' first 707 (and first jet on the Australian register) back to life from a derelict state and flying it home from the UK to Australia is an absolutely fascinating read. Well recommended for any aviation enthusiast and certainly for those with an interest in the early jet airliners!
 
trex8
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Re: Airline customer codes question

Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:18 am

The best thing about customer codes and all the various aircraft subtypes is that it gives you an endless number of possible passwords you will remember!!
 
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tb727
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Re: Airline customer codes question

Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:34 am

TurboJet707 wrote:
I think it's a shame that Boeing stopped with the customer codes: when you see a picture on Airliners.net of an old 707-328 in the colours of an obscure and short-lived African charter airline, for example, you immediately know that it started its life as an Air France bird. For some reason I find that kind of information fascinating.


I always enjoyed thinking about the great history of the old Boeings I flew based on their codes.
727-225 (Eastern)
727-224 (Continental)
727-2M7 (Hughes Airwest)
727-2H3 (Tunisair)
727-2B6 (Royal Air Maroc)
727-264 (My rare bird, Mexicana although it never flew for them, it went to Dubai for their government, then Emirates and then Qatar)
Too lazy to work, too scared to steal!
 
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tb727
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Re: Airline customer codes question

Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:34 am

TurboJet707 wrote:
I think it's a shame that Boeing stopped with the customer codes: when you see a picture on Airliners.net of an old 707-328 in the colours of an obscure and short-lived African charter airline, for example, you immediately know that it started its life as an Air France bird. For some reason I find that kind of information fascinating.


I always enjoyed thinking about the great history of the old Boeings I flew based on their codes.
727-225 (Eastern)
727-224 (Continental)
727-2M7 (Hughes Airwest)
727-2H3 (Tunisair)
727-2B6 (Royal Air Maroc)
727-264 (My rare bird, Mexicana although it never flew for them, it went to Dubai for their government, then Emirates and then Qatar)
Too lazy to work, too scared to steal!
 
TSS
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Re: Airline customer codes question

Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:58 am

TurboJet707 wrote:
The code did not necessarily say anything about the plane's specification. Only exception that I can think of is the 707-138 which was a unique short-body, long-range version of the 707 specially developed for and only sold to Qantas. One could argue that the later 720 was inspired by this design.


I'd imagine the customer code refers to which options a given airline wants installed from the factory on all their models of a specific type as well as information about the planned number and locations of lavs and galleys so that all the below-deck plumbing can be of sufficient capacity and stubbed in at the factory.
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RetiredWeasel
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Re: Airline customer codes question

Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:59 am

tb727 wrote:
I always enjoyed thinking about the great history of the old Boeings I flew based on their codes.
727-225 (Eastern)
727-224 (Continental)
727-2M7 (Hughes Airwest)
727-2H3 (Tunisair)
727-2B6 (Royal Air Maroc)
727-264 (My rare bird, Mexicana although it never flew for them, it went to Dubai for their government, then Emirates and then Qatar)


Northwest of course got those 727-2M7 models from their merger with Republic who had got them from their merger with Hughes. Five of these aircraft were flying out of Guam during NW's 3 year GUM operation. Five was the most frames they had in GUM (92-95). Damn nice 727's to fly and 2 of them had the aux tanks in the belly which were nice to have when flying GUM-SEL with a full load.
 
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ClassicLover
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Re: Airline customer codes question

Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:06 am

TurboJet707 wrote:
Thanks ClassicLover, didn't know that!
Thanks for the link. Actually I visit that website quite regularly, it's great! The lengthy report on bringing VH-EBA, Qantas' first 707 (and first jet on the Australian register) back to life from a derelict state and flying it home from the UK to Australia is an absolutely fascinating read. Well recommended for any aviation enthusiast and certainly for those with an interest in the early jet airliners!


It is a fantastic site, and I agree - anyone who is interested in the early jets should read it. As a matter of fact, it should be recommended reading for all aviation fans - you should never forget your history.
I do enjoy a spot of flying, especially when it's not in economy!
 
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tb727
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Re: Airline customer codes question

Sun Feb 18, 2018 2:03 am

RetiredWeasel wrote:
tb727 wrote:
I always enjoyed thinking about the great history of the old Boeings I flew based on their codes.
727-225 (Eastern)
727-224 (Continental)
727-2M7 (Hughes Airwest)
727-2H3 (Tunisair)
727-2B6 (Royal Air Maroc)
727-264 (My rare bird, Mexicana although it never flew for them, it went to Dubai for their government, then Emirates and then Qatar)


Northwest of course got those 727-2M7 models from their merger with Republic who had got them from their merger with Hughes. Five of these aircraft were flying out of Guam during NW's 3 year GUM operation. Five was the most frames they had in GUM (92-95). Damn nice 727's to fly and 2 of them had the aux tanks in the belly which were nice to have when flying GUM-SEL with a full load.


Sadly for me the one I flew never had a red tail, it left before the merger. It was childhood dream to fly for NW:(
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7BOEING7
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Re: Airline customer codes question

Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:20 am

TSS wrote:
TurboJet707 wrote:
The code did not necessarily say anything about the plane's specification. Only exception that I can think of is the 707-138 which was a unique short-body, long-range version of the 707 specially developed for and only sold to Qantas. One could argue that the later 720 was inspired by this design.


I'd imagine the customer code refers to which options a given airline wants installed from the factory on all their models of a specific type as well as information about the planned number and locations of lavs and galleys so that all the below-deck plumbing can be of sufficient capacity and stubbed in at the factory.


Actually Boeing uses "block/variable numbers" to define differences in a specific models modifications (seating, etc) An example is ANA which on their 788's use block/variable numbers ZA500-5??, ZA100-114,
ZA115-1?? and ZA135-1?? (not sure about the correct span of numbers) to define their 4 different seat configurations.

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