Aircraft of the week and Air Serbia’s Boeing 737 fleet

Air Serbia officially retired its remaining 2 Boeing 737-300s on the 18th of February after almost 36 years in operation with JAT Yugoslav Airlines, JAT Airways and Air Serbia for the older aircraft. The 2 aircraft, which are registered YU-ANI and YU-ANK, have recently been operating for Air Serbia’s charter division, Aviolet (note how the Yugoslavian registration prefix, YU-, has been kept in place in Serbia). Although Air Serbia intended to retire its 737s at the end of this year, it announced that due to greenhouse gas emissions and maintenance costs, that it would retire them earlier. YU-ANI was first delivered to JAT Yugoslav Airlines in December 1985. It had been leased to Constellation Airlines (a Begian scheduled airline that ceased operations in 1999), Cameroon Airlines, Air Malta, Tunisair and MAT Macedonian Airlines before JAT Yugoslav Airlines was renamed JAT Airways in 2003 and the aircraft was returned from lease in 2005. At this time in history, Yugoslavia no longer existed and a country called the Republic of Serbia and Montenegro would last until 2006. The country would subsequently break into Serbia and Montenegro. YU-ANI would be leased to Air Ivoire (the flag carrier of Ivory Coast in Africa, which went bankrupt in 2011 and was replaced by Air Côte d’Ivoire) in November 2008 and returned from lease in May the next year. JAT Airways was rebranded Air Serbia in 2013 and YU-ANI was transferred to Aviolet in July 2014. It operated its final flight from Stockholm to Belgrade on January 17th this year. YU-ANK followed a similar course, but was only leased to Constellation Airlines and Cameroon Airlines. It operated its last flight from Frankfurt to Belgrade on February the 8th this year. Another JAT Yugoslav Airlines Boeing 737, that was retired just before YU-ANI and YU-ANK, YU-AND, operated for Ivorian airline Air Afrique and Nigerian carrier Bellview Airlines. It is interesting to see how many of these aircraft were leased to African airlines. This is probably because Western European carriers weren’t willing to lease their aircraft for cheaper prices into the African market, which JAT Airways was, considering that Yugoslavia had just been through a war and that Serbia was in a desperate need for money. JAT Yugoslav Airlines operated a total of 15 Boeing 737s (12 737-300s and 3 Boeing 737-400s) in its history, of which 8 Boeing 737-300s were moved to Air Serbia in August 2013, 2 Boeing 737-400s were sent to Indonesian carrier Adam Air, 1 Boeing 737-300 was scrapped, another stored and the last Boeing 737-400 was sent to an American aerospace elctronics equiptment company. 2 Boeing 737-300s were leased to Air Serbia from Bulgaria Air. Most of Air Serbia’s Boeing 737-300s were broken up in November 2018. I think it is quite sad to see such old aircraft go. They have been everywhere and have seen so much, and that makes them almost alive. I believe aircraft aren’t just machines that you can ditch at a command, but that they are majestic birds and that each have their own personality and needs: no aircraft is alike. Air Serbia probably doesn’t have a need for Boeing 737-300s any longer, as they aren’t big enough to transport cargo, and their capacity (128 to 149 seats, please refer yourself to my “Boeing 737 (part 2)” article) is similar that of the Airbus A319 (124 to 156 seats). YU-ANI was the oldest Boeing 737 to be used in passenger service. The Boeing 737 maintains the total record for jet aircraft deliveries, 10’636, but its total amount of orders, 14’643, has now been surpassed by the Airbus A320 family, which, they say, includes the Airbus A320neo family. 21st of February 2021.

Afficher l’image source
JAT Airways’ YU-AND.

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