United issues press release on last Boeing 737 flight

United Airlines (Chicago) has issued the following Skynet Press Release:

“United’s last Boeing 737 – the beloved “guppy” that served our airline and millions of customers well for more than 41 years – will retire from revenue service at the end of October, in line with the fleet retirement plans announced in the fall of 2008.

The B737-322 has been specifically numbered “UA737” for its final journey on October 28.  The flight will depart Washington Dulles at approximately 6 a.m. with stops in Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles, then on to San Francisco for the decommissioning work at the maintenance base before being transported to Victorville, Calif., for storage.

Given that literally thousands of United’s employees have touched these aircraft over the years, both above and below the wing, plans are being made for teams at each of the hubs to commemorate the event during the respective ground service times.

The decision to retire all 94 of the B737s enabled United to take important proactive steps in reducing capacity at a time when fuel costs had hit record-high levels. That, along with the removal of six older B747s, positioned United at the forefront of the industry in adjusting capacity to help increase pricing power – a step that is still serving us well, given the weakened economy and demand as well as fuel prices that continue to be volatile.

United introduced its first B737-222 into revenue service in April 1968, adding the B737-300s in 1986 and the B737-500s in 1990. The fleet, which totaled more than 220 aircraft at one point, have since become our oldest and least fuel-efficient jets. By retiring the aircraft, we have now simplified our total fleet in terms of overall maintenance cost and reduced the future investment required to maintain a modern fleet, giving us one of the youngest fleets in the industry.

The decision also positively impacts our customers, as the B737s were generating the lowest customer satisfaction scores among our narrowbodies and operating at lower overall reliability levels.”