PIA was the first Asian operator of Boeing 737-300. Initially a total of six Boeing 737-300s were delivered to PIA between May, 1985 and 1986. These Boeing 737s replaced its older Boeing 720Bs on PIA’s domestic and regional flights.
Copyright Photo: Ole Simon/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-340 AP-BCD (msn 23297) prepares to land in Dubai.
Shandong Airlines (Jinan, Shandong Province, China) has announced its intention to order 50 Boeing 737 aircraft including 16 Next-Generation 737s and 34 737 MAXs for delivery between 2016 and 2020. The order has not yet been finalized.
Boeing issued this short statement:
Shandong Airlines’ commitment to order 50 Boeing 737s, including 16 Next-Generation 737s and 34 737 MAXs. The airline plans to expand its capacity to meet growing demand in China and Northeast Asia, one of the most dynamic markets for commercial airplanes.
Copyright Photo: Joe G. Walker/AirlinersGallery.com. Shandong is already a large Boeing 737 operator with three Boeing 737-300s (which are being retired), three 737-700s and 58 of the pictured 737-800. Boeing 737-85N B-5785 (msn 39113) in the special DEEJ taxies at Seattle’s Boeing Field (BFI).
Nok Air (Bangkok) according to Reuters is expected to place an order for new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to replace its current Boeing 737s. The order will be announced by Boeing at the Singapore Airshow next week.
Air Lease Corporation has announced the long term lease of one Boeing 737-700 jet aircraft (msn 33015) to Airzena Georgian Airways (Tbilisi, Georgia). The aircraft is scheduled for delivery in October, 2013.
Airzena Georgian Airways is the designated national airline of Georgia, operating extensive scheduled services to many destinations in Europe, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and Russia, with Boeing 737s and CRJ regional jets.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. The carrier already operates the type but the new addition will replace an older Boeing 737-500. Boeing 737-790 WL 4L-TGM (msn 33012) taxies at Amsterdam.
Lufthansa (Frankfurt), according to this report by Reuters, is willing to endure additional strikes like last week (even with its pilots) in order to gain the flexibility it needs. The company is restructuring and is planning to eliminate 3,500 positions as it shifts more European flying to subsidiary Germanwings (2nd) (Cologne/Bonn).
Malindo Air (Kuala Lumpur) will launch operations with Boeing 737s on the Kuala Lumpur-Kota Kinabalu (three times daily) and Kuala Lumpur-Kuching (four times daily) routes on March 22.
Malindo Air is a joint venture between National Aerospace and Defence Industries (NADI) (51%) (Malaysia) and Lion Air (Jakarta, Indonesia) (49%). The name “Malindo” is a contraction of Malaysia and Indonesia.
Next the airline will add service from Kuala Lumpur to Bintulu, Miri, Sandakan and Sibu.
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Top Copyright Photo: Joe G. Walker. The pictured Boeing 737-9GP ER 9M-LNF (msn 38687) was the first -900ER to be handed over (in a basic Lion Air color scheme) on March 14, 2013. The airliner is also a milestone delivery and carries a special 7500th Boeing 737 logo by the nose (below, courtesy of Malindo Air).
Editor’s “To The Point” Observation: This new launch will sharpen the competition between AirAsia and Lion Air. To underscore this point, please read this report from Reuters about this growing feud:
Vision Airlines (Atlanta) started a new route linking Sanford (near Orlando) and Gulfport/Biloxi on February 6 per Anna Aero. Gulfport/Biloxi appears to be location of its current winter operations. The airline operates Boeing 737s on the two routes (see map below). The carrier has continuously shifted its route map in search of a winning winter/summer combination.
In June 2012 the airline cancelled its agreement with Globespan Aviation due to “Globespan’s failure to meet its financial obligations under the contract.” Globespan had tried to start a program to South Korea using Vision Airlines Boeing 767-200 ER but according to the airline, “it appears they do not have the financial support for the program.”
Copyright Photo: TMK Photography. Boeing 737-405 N745VA (msn 24271) taxies at Toronto (Pearson).