When it comes to short-haul aircraft, many airlines favor aircraft from the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 families. This has led the pair to become hugely successful, with each selling around 10,000 examples to date. Today, Air France favors the A320 family, but it has also previously operated multiple variants of the 737. Let’s take a look at where these ended up.
According to data from ch-aviation.com, the Boeing 737 family first became a part of Air France‘s operations in the early 1980s. Specifically, 1983 saw the first seven of an eventual total of 13 examples of the 737-200 join the French flag carrier’s fleet.
The 737-200 was the second of the two models from the ‘737 Original’ range, and was longer than the 737-100. It had entered service with United Airlines in 1968. Air France’s remaining 737-200s arrived in 1986, 1987, and 1998 (two in each year), per ch-aviation.
Air France received all of these aircraft brand-new, apart from the 1998 arrivals whose original customer had been German leisure carrier Hapag-Lloyd Flug. The 737-200s left Air France in 2000 and 2001, with several joining Austral, and then Aerolíneas Argentinas. Other destinations for them included Air Comet, Ryan International Airlines, and Sky King.
Air France’s least numerous 737 variant was the -300 model, from the ‘737 Classic’ series. Boeing had first delivered this design to USAir in November 1984, and Boeing produced more than 1,110 of them between then and 1999. Air France flew nine between 1991 and 2004. Four of these aircraft joined the French flag carrier in 1991, according to ch-aviation.
Interestingly, only one was brand-new, with the others having originally been delivered to Aéromaritime International and British Midland. The remaining aircraft arrived in 1992 (two) and 1998 (three). As far as when these aircraft left Air France is concerned, the first departure occurred in 2001. Another pair left the following year, with one more in 2003.
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2004 saw the final five 737-300s leave Air France within nine months of each other. In terms of where they ended up afterward, a diverse range of carriers took these aircraft on. They included Air China, Conviasa, Garuda Indonesia, and Ukraine International Airlines.
The data from ch-aviation shows that the 737-500, the smallest model in the 737 Classic range, was comfortably Air France’s most numerous 737 variant. 27 examples of this aircraft graced Air France’s fleet, with the first four joining in 1991. Deliveries continued steadily throughout the 1990s, and even spilled into the 2000s. The last pair arrived in 2001.
Just two years after Air France’s last 737-500 arrived, the first departures began to occur. 2003 saw four aircraft leave the fleet, all of which had initially joined in 1998. Another five arrivals from 1993 and 1999 left in 2004, with the same number departing the next year. Six 737-500s left Air France in 2006, with the final seven bowing out a year later.
With regards to who these aircraft flew for after leaving Air France, ch-aviation once again lists a diverse array of carriers situated all over the world. These include Aerolíneas Argentinas, Air Namibia, Aviaprad, Czech Airlines,Donavia, FlyLAL, and Yamal Airlines.
Did you ever fly on one of Air France’s Boeing 737s? If so, which variant(s), and where did it/they take you? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!