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Size, energy efficiency, cargo and passenger load, comfort and cost. There are a lot of factors involved in making an airplane design appealing to airlines and, in turn, their customers.

But which are the best-selling civil airplanes of all time, and what made them stand out from the rest? Let’s take a look at the top eight, based on total deliveries as of December 31, 2021.

8. Airbus A330

In production: 1992 to present

Deliveries so far: 1,527

The wide-body A330 went into service 28 years ago this month, and was conceived by its European manufacturer Airbus as a successor to the A300 – the world’s first twin-engine wide-body plane.

The 63.66-meter long A330-300 was the first variant, with capacity for up to 440 passengers, and a versatility that meant it was suitable for both short-haul trips and long-range distances of up to 6,350 nautical miles.

It was followed by the smaller-scale A330-200, and then later the two “neo” craft, the A330-800 and A339-900, both with revolutionary curved wingtips.

Read more: When the A330-900neo was introduced in 2018

7. Boeing 747

In production: 1968 to present

Deliveries so far: 1,527

Affectionately known as “Queen of the Skies,” the four-engine 747 was the first wide-body plane and the original “jumbo jet.”

It entered service in 1970 with legendary airline Pan Am and soon became synonymous with the glamorous age of international travel. Since 1990, it’s been the US presidential choice, with the Air Force One fleet comprising two customized 747-200Bs.

In recent years, many airlines have been replacing their passenger 747s with bigger, more efficient twin-engine planes.

Boeing expects to deliver the last ever jumbo – 747-8 Freighter – to customer Atlas Air later this year.

5 things you didn't know about the 747
01:05 - Source: CNN

Read more: Five ways Boeing’s 747 jumbo jet changed travel

6. Boeing 777

In production: 1993 to present

Deliveries so far: 1,677

The twin-engined “Triple Seven” isn’t as humungous as the Queen of the Skies, but at nearly 64 meters in length the long-range wide-body is still longer than seven telephone poles laid end to end and can accommodate 440 passengers.

It was the first jetliner to be wholly designed by computer and the first Boeing aircraft to have weight-saving, computer-operated “fly-by-wire” controls.

It’s now a growing family of eight variants, with the extra-large 777X aircraft – the 777-8 and 777-9 – the newest additions. The much-delayed 777X-9 is projected to enter service in 2024 while production of the 777X-8 has yet to begin.

5. Boeing 727

Read more: Boeing’s huge 777-9X airplane takes its first flight

In production: 1962 to 1984

Deliveries: 1,832