A silent phone led to the iconic Boeing 737, or Bobby

Text: Toomas Uibo, Head of Communications at Nordica Photos: Unsplash Published: 29/07/2019

ON 19th FEBRUARY 1965, Gerhard Hjölte, CEO and Chief Engineer of the largest airline in Germany - Lufthansa - was waiting for a call from the company's board of directors to find out what aeroplanes to buy. The phone didn't ring and Hjölte decided to take control

Since there were already Boeing 727 machines in his fleet, the government was pressuring the company to avoid ordering more Boeing planes - not to have everything invested in one company. Here however, Hjölte saw an opportunity to get an aeroplane built in cooperation with his airline. Lufthansa and Boeing agreed on the design of a new model to support the needs of the German airline to the maximum. The engines were placed under the wings, which reduced the weight of the aircraft, improved aerodynamics and allowed the passenger compartment to be extended. On 15th March 1965, Boeing and Lufthansa signed an agreement for an order of 21 of these new aeroplanes.

"This is how this commercial aviation icon was born - an aeroplane that breathed new life into the American manufacturer, and later got the nickname Bobby."

Article was published in Nordica´s in-flight magazine Time Flies (spring-summer 2019)