British Airways (London) is nearing the end of an aircraft era – the last operational single-aisle Boeing 737. BA is now down to just three active 149-seat Boeing 737-436s (G-DOCO, G-DOCW and G-DOCX), all based at London’s Gatwick Airport. The older Boeing 737-400s are being replaced by newer Airbus A320 Family aircraft.
The older Boeing 737-400s have been gradually retired to the desert at Victorville, CA (VCV) and other locations and other operators.
Boeing 737-436 G-DOCO is now planned to be ferried to VCV on September 2.
The last two remaining 737-436s will close out a long line of BA Boeing 737 operations on September 30. Currently the last scheduled revenue flight of a BA 737 is between Turin (TRN) and London (Gatwick) (LGW) on September 30 with either of these two aircraft (G-DOCW or the pictured G-DOCX above). Of course, as with any aircraft type retirement, the last flight is always subject to operational needs as a possible replacement aircraft.
Above Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. The original BA Boeing 737 type, the new Boeing 737-200s were delivered in the pictured 1973 livery which featured a lower case “airways” for titles.
BA has been a long-time Boeing 737 operator. In July 1978, BA placed an order for 19 new Boeing 737-200s (above) to start the Trident replacement process. The new type entered revenue service in February 1980. The carrier gained experience with the type with leased-in 737-200s from Transavia Airlines starting in November 1977.
Above Copyright Photo: Richard Vandervord/AirlinersGallery.com. Later an experimental silver top version of the updated 1980 livery (with just “British” titles) was tried. Boeing 737-236 G-BKYA (msn 23159) arrives at the London (Heathrow) base when it was the main short-range BA airliner.
The company operated the venerable 737-200 (below) until 2001.
Below Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-236 G-BKYJ (msn 23168) taxies at Zurich in the 1984 Landor color scheme.
Above Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-34S G-OGBC (msn 29109) in the “Flowers from Mazowsze” Utopia tail design was actually operated by franchise carrier GB Airways in British colors.
The newer and larger 737-300s were operated from 1988 to 2009 (above) and the 737-500 (below) from 1996 through 2009.
Above Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-5H6 G-GFFJ (msn 27355) of British Airways departs from Lasham.
The larger Boeing 737-400s were introduced into the fleet in October 1991 with the delivery of three 141-seat 737-436s. The stretched 737 has served the carrier well over the years. A total of 37 Boeing 737-400s have been operated and the fleet has been gradually reduced as newer Airbus A320 Family aircraft have been introduced.
The Boeing 737-400 fleet was initially based at London’s Heathrow where the type replaced earlier Boeing 737-200s. When the new Airbus A319s and A320s arrived, the older Boeing 737-400s were moved to London’s Gatwick Airport. LGW has became the last stronghold of a BA 737.
Unfortunately for this historical Boeing 737 Classic tradition, BA decided not to order the Next-Generation advanced 737 models and instead elected to go with Airbus as replacements.
The Boeing 737 is sunsetting at British Airways. It served BA very well over the years. Farewell.
Top Copyright Photo: Terry Wade/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-436 G-DOCX (msn 25857) arrives back at the LGW base with the red nose in support of Red Nose Day.
British Airways aircraft slide show: