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Delta's Boeing Customer Code timing

Wed Jan 02, 2019 5:03 am

Happy New Year Everyone,

As I understand it Boeing assigned customer codes as planes were ordered, beginning wtih -21 and PA. However, recently, it's caught my attention that DL with -32 and Northeast with -95, but Northeast got 727-100 deliveries, and DL didn't get factory new Boeing jets until the 747-100. Did DL place and then cancel earlier orders for 707-720-727-737, or were the codes not entirely in sequence? I tried to find orders online but couldn't find record of any.

Thank you in advance!
...those who wait for the Lord�s help...rise up as if they had eagles� wings Isaiah 40:31
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Re: Delta's Boeing Customer Code timing

Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:31 am

The Wikipedia article about the Boeing customer codes (forever what it's worth), lists multiple sequences. So Boeing gave out customer codes of a certain sequence, then another sequence of codes, etc. This leads me to believe that this was given out one by one in ascending manner when a sale was made...

Apparently the first sequence was 21 to 99. And second sequence was 0-20 (which they reserved for themselves initially). Apparently a few years later Boeing only kept 00 and 20 for themselves (20 for the 720) and also issued the numbers 1-19 to airlines. KLM got 06, but they also didn't got any Boeing planes before the 747.

So we can assume that the first sequence was given out in "sequence" of the airplanes sold. At least at first glance. Yet, why Delta got such a low number is an interesting question. If you look at the list, numbers 21-99 are mostly 707 operators (Mostly = about two thirds): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_B ... omer_codes

But about a third of the airlines got their customer code, despite not being an early 707 customer, these are the "exceptions":
CODE / AIRLINE / fist aircraft or remark
- 32 Delta 727
- 33 Air Canada 727
- 34 Transair Sweden 727
- 35 National Airlines 727
- 42 Nordair 727
- 43 Alitalia 727
- 46 Japan Airlines 727
- 52 Aeroméxico 737
- 54 Mohawk Airlines 727
- 56 Iberia Airlines 727
- 57 Swissair 747
- 61 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) 727
- 62 Pacific Northern Airlines 720, 727 (Not del)
- 63 Faucett 727
- 64 Mexicana 727
- 67 Cathay Pacific 747
- 71 Trans International Airlines → TransAmerica 727
- 74 Iraqi - Lybian Airways Not used
- 75 Pacific Western → Canadian Airlines 737
- 76 Trans Australia Airlines → Australian Airlines 727
- 77 Ansett Australia 727
- 78 British West Indian Airways 727
- 80 Bankers Trust 727
- 81 Línea Aeropostal Venezolana Not used
- 83 Scandinavian Airlines 737
- 89 Japan Domestic Airlines → Toa Domestic Airlines → Japan Air System 727
- 90 Alaska Airlines 727
- 91 Frontier Airlines 727
- 92 Southern Air Transport 727
- 93 Pacific Air Lines 727
- 94 Syrian Arab Airlines 727
- 95 Northeast Airlines 727
- 97 Aloha Airlines 737
- 98 Capital Airlines Not used
- 99 AVENSA Not used
- 99 Caledonian Airways → British Caledonian 707 (SAME NUMBER AS AVENSA)

This can only lead to two presumptions. Either Boeing did not give out the numbers in sequence or the numbers were not given out when a sale was made, but already when some form of MOU or LOI was signed, or even when sales persons said that the sales talks were going in the right direction. Perhaps Boeing eben assigned codes to former loyal customers, just on the basis that these airlines were customers before and Boeing expected them to keep buying Boeing.

I think we deal with a mix of both. The list of "exceptions" above tells us a lot about the way the numbers were given out. Like there are airlines listed, which were given a number, but never have ordered any aircraft in the end. Conclusion: There must either have been a contract, which was later cancelled or the numbers were given out already while still in sales talks, or to old Boeing customers before the 707 times. Also there are two airlines, which got numbers of other airlines, that never took up any frames. Conclusion: also here airlines got assigned a number, but never took up frames, thus we know that Boeing had assigned these numbers early and just later reissued them to someone else.

So my guess is that the numbers were given out mostly in an ascending manner, but Boeing also gave out numbers to former customers and when sales talks were looking good. There must be some logical reason why Swissair (first aircraft 747) got the 57 and Aeromexico (first aircraft 737) got the 52. Or while ANA got the 81, which initially was assigned to some (to me unknown) airline from Venezuela.

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