When i see thing on the internet about aircrafts it often has a number at the end of the model number such as B737-300, what does the number after the dash mean?

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    $\begingroup$ Absolutely NOT a duplicate. This question asks what the -xxx MEANS, the other question asks how the numbers of the -xxx are CHOSEN. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 18:21

2 Answers 2


In the case of the 737, the first series produced was the 737-100. Not many were made.

Then the 737-200 was built, which was very popular.

The third generation of the 737, known now as the "Classic", had three variants, the -300, the -400, and the -500. All are very similar, the significant difference being the size. The -300 has bigger (more powerful, as well as physically larger) engines than the older -200 did, and a longer cabin. With its success, Boeing decided to lengthen the cabin further, resulting in the -400. They also made a variant that was essentially the length of the shorter -200, and since it came along third it got the next designation, the -500.

The next generation of 737's, known as the "Next Generation", runs from the -600 through the -900, and this time Boeing decided to make the numbers correspond with the fuselage length, so the -600 is about as long as the -200 and -500 (roughly), the -700 is comparable to the -300, the -800 is longer as the -400 was, and the -900 is longer than anything before.

Now they're out of numbers, and so the NEXT generation of 737's, known as the Max, gets single digit numbers... the Max -7 (i.e. 737-7) corresponds roughly to the length of the -700, the Max -8 to the -800, the Max -9 to the -900, and so on.

The point of this long discussion is simply that the numbers following the dash represent different variants of the aircraft. In some cases, it may be a new generation design; in other cases it may simply be a different fuselage length.

As the suggested-as-duplicate question discusses, HOW those numbers are chosen is sometimes driven more by marketing than it is by mathematical progression. Often, though, the higher number indicates a later version, and often-but-not-always, a newer generation. But you really have to know the particular aircraft line to know which it is.

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    $\begingroup$ It might be interesting to mention that there is one type, A320, where the variants modify the main number. A319 is to A320 as 737-500 is to 737-300 (but then they still have the variant number and A321-200 is to A321-100 about as 737-9 is to 737-900, i.e. same size, upgraded design). $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 22:58
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    $\begingroup$ Also, Airbus did not repeat this with the other models. A330 has -200 and -300 be the different sizes. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 23:00
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    $\begingroup$ It should be noted that -700 (or -600, -800, etc) is a model series with a basic configuration. Each example of the aircraft will have a different model number if it differs from other variants. So there are a large number of different model numbers. From the Type Certificate Data Sheet (TCDS) A16WE, the -700 series starts with the -705, -724, -732, -752... TCDS are available on the FAA website here. $\endgroup$
    – Gerry
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 23:06

The number after the dash is basically just the variation of that aircraft type. For example we have the Boeing 777-300, however there is a newer model coming out called the Boeing 777-900.

It just helps differentiate the different models of that aircraft types.

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    $\begingroup$ welcome to av.se! $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 18:38
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    $\begingroup$ Is it really -900? I thought it was just 777-9? $\endgroup$
    – Jeff B
    Commented Dec 31, 2016 at 4:29

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