Romanian low-cost carrier Blue Air has operated six different variants from Boeing’s popular 737 family over the years. Among these have been all three versions of the 737 Classic series, which comprises the 737-300, -400, and -500 models. With the airline looking to modernize its fleet, most of these aircraft have now left the carrier. But what has become of them?
According to Planespotters.net, five Boeing 737-300s have passed through Blue Air’s fleet over the years. The first two arrived in December 2004, although one (CS-TLL) returned to EuroAtlantic Airways after just a month on lease at Blue Air. The second (YR-BAA) served the airline until September 2010 before returning to Irish lessor Ansett Worldwide.
The next 737-300 to arrive at Blue Air was YR-BAF, which came in May 2008. After more than a decade of service, Blue Air placed it into storage in October 2019. YR-BAP, which flew for Blue Air from May 2016 to October 2019 (including a brief lease to Montenegro Airlines), has experienced a similar fate. Meanwhile, YR-BAC was broken up in Bucharest in October 2020, having been withdrawn by Blue Air four years earlier.
A large contingent of 737-400s
By some distance, Blue Air’s most numerous example of this series was the 737-400. It operated a total of 15 of these aircraft across a 13-years spell. After the first arrival in December 2006, Blue Air’s remaining 14 737s arrived between then and May 2015. Their departures spanned a nine-year period from November 2010 to December 2019.
After leaving Blue Air, these planes had a wide variety of different fates. For example, several returned to lessors, including AerSale, Aircraft Engine Lease Finance (AELF), and ILFC. Five ended up at New Zealand-based general aviation company Airwork, with two transferred to Copenhagen Air Taxi. Other destinations for these aircraft included Maltese charter carrier Air Horizont, Lao Central Airlines, and Volitio Aviation.
Still going strong – the 737-500
Five examples of the 737-500 have left Blue Air’s fleet since 2008. The first of these (YR-BAB) went on to Bulgaria Air, before sadly being written off in 2013 having crashed in Kazan while serving Tatarstan Air. The second (YR-BAH) left in 2011 for VIP work at European Aviation. After this spell, it went on to fly for the likes of Volotea and Montenegro Airlines. Blue Air placed the other three examples into storage between October 2019 and March 2020.
Blue Air announced in 2019 that it would retire all of its remaining 737 Classic series aircraft in 2020. However, this has not quite been the case, and three examples of the 737-500 remain in its fleet. Of the three, two (YR-AME & YR-BAG) are active, with the third (YR-AMD) having been parked in Bucharest since returning from a lease to Air Senegal last month.
However, these aircraft have an average age of more than 30 years old. As such, their time at Blue Air, and indeed anywhere else, appears to be running out. Looking to the future, Blue Air is set to modernize its fleet with 10 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. The first of these planes (YR-MXA) entered service with the Romanian low-cost carrier on April 2nd this year.
Have you ever flown on one of Blue Air’s 737 Classic series planes? If so, what was it like? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.