Boeing has been moving towards droping its long-standing tradition of using customer codes (i.e. United = 22, American = 23, Lufthansa = 30 as examples) as part of the official aircraft designations (757-222, 737-823, 747-830 etc.) since the Boeing 707.
However with the introduction of the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, which was first Boeing type to drop the customer codes (they are simply 787-8s, 787-9s etc.), Boeing has been moving towards a more simplier method of officially designating its aircraft. Now a new method has been adopted by the manufacturer and is being carried forward with all new aircraft including the upcoming Boeing 737 MAX.
According to the Puget Sound – Boeing Test Flights blog;
“Boeing will no longer use customer codes on the 737, 747, 767, 777 lines bringing them in alignment with the 737 MAX and 787 lines. These changes have already been made on the FAA Certificates. The changes are effective with the following Line numbers for each respective Production Line.
737 Line Number 6082 onward will not have a customer code in the designation – for example Southwest’s new 737-8 N8519R is officially a Boeing 737-800 (msn 36910) (not a 737-8H4).
747 Line Number 1534 onward will not have a customer code in the designation (instead it will use the 747-8F or 747-8I designation).
767 Line Number 1102 onward will not have a customer code in the designation – for example FedEx’s new 767-3 N144FE (msn 42726) is now officially a Boeing 767-300F.
777 Line Number 1422 onward will not have a customer code in the designation – for example United’s new 777-3 N2332U is officially a Boeing 777-300ER (msn/ln 62643/1461).
Copyright Photo: Joe G. Walker/AirlinersGallery.com. For example, the pictured Xiangxi Air B-1558 (msn/ln 42935/6220) was delivered by Boeing on December 28, 2016 and is officially a Boeing 737-800 under the revised method.