Types of Jet Planes

Commercial Transport Plane
Commercial Transport Plane (Image: Jet image by Timothy Lubcke from Fotolia.com)

Modern jets are divided into different categories: commercial transport, general aviation, military, sea and special purpose planes. The types of jets used in passenger service by the major airlines fall into the commercial transport planes classification. The U.S. Department of Transportation Airline Financial Data report for the third quarter of 2009 lists seven top revenue-generating airlines. These are USAirways, Delta, Alaska, Northwest (acquired by Delta), United, American and Continental. Passengers flying on one or more of these airlines fly in Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, Embraer and McDonald-Douglass aircraft.


Airbus is second, behind Boeing, as the most used fleet aircraft in U.S. air commercial transportation. USAirways and United use Airbus and Boeing aircraft. USAirways uses six different models and United uses four. The models in these fleets are two- and four-engine craft that carry from 266 to 314 passengers.


Boeing is the most widely used aircraft in U.S. commercial transportation. All of the top seven airlines have Boeing aircraft in their fleet. United and Alaska have the largest fleet of Boeings with five different models. American, Continental, Delta and USAirways use four different Boeing aircraft. Alaska uses one Boeing 737. These Boeing aircraft are propelled with two or four engines and carry from 277 to 524 passengers.

Bombardier and Embraer

Alaska Airlines uses the Bombardier CRJ700. It is a relatively new aircraft that has two-engines and carries 70 passengers. USAirways uses the Embraer 190. It is also a small, two-engine jet but carries 20 more passengers than the Bombardier CRJ700 for a total of 90.


Delta uses three different McDonnell-Douglas aircraft. One is a three-engine model that carries 233 passengers, and the other two are two-engine models that carry up to 314 passengers.

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