For decades she was the backbone of the European fleet of Scandinavia. Now SAS says goodbye to the last Boeing 737.
In Europe, several large network airlines said goodbye to the Boeing 737. Tap did it again in the late 1990s. For Air France, the end came in the summer of 2007, and for British Airways in the fall of 2015. Lufthansa sent Bobby into retirement with the change in the 2016 winter flight schedule.
Now the 737 era is coming to an end in far northern Europe. SAS is scheduled to take delivery of the last six remaining Boeing 737-700s at the end of November. Hence, Scandinavia is meeting the timetable it has set for itself. In April 2018, they announced that they would phase out their 67 Boeing 737 aircraft by the end of 2023 and replace them with Airbus aircraft.
The Boeing 737 was the backbone of the European fleet
This marks the end of an era at SAS. SAS acquired its first Boeing 737, a 737-500, following its merger of shares of Swedish airline Linjeflyg. Over time, twin-engine aircraft became the backbone of the short- and medium-haul fleet. Over the years, 120 Boeing 737s have flown to Scandinavia.
SAS had all versions from the 737-400 to the much larger 737-800 in its fleet. In recent years, the number has decreased continuously. So the 737-600 was cancelled. Boeing 737-800 aircraft were sold or converted into freighters. Current US President Joe Biden used a SAS Boeing 737-500 as his campaign aircraft.
New location canada
At the end of September 2023, there are still six 737-700 aircraft in the SAS fleet. Five aircraft have already found a new buyer. The two jet engines, which are between 13 and 23 years old, will head to Canada. It was purchased by a wholly Inuit-owned airline from Inuvialuit and Nunavik. Canadian North wants to replace its nearly 42-year-old 737-200 with former SAS aircraft.
The first aircraft, bearing registration LN-RNW, arrived at its new home in Canada on 26 September. The Boeing 737-700 flew from Ostrava in the Czech Republic to Ottawa in Canada in about eight and a half hours. The second 737, registered LN-TUM, is currently in the Czech Republic and will then travel to Canada in the next few days.
24 years in the air for SAS
The last Boeing 737 to leave SAS is the aircraft with registration LN-RPJ. The aircraft is currently leased to the Norwegian Air Force and is transporting wounded Ukrainian soldiers from Oslo via Rzeszow in Poland to Europe. When the machine is retired at the end of November, it will hold an all-time record.
It is the Boeing 737 that has been in service for SAS for the longest period, 24 years. As a farewell, the aircraft will fly one last commercial flight on November 19 – as flight SK737.
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