ANA Sets Boeing 737-500 Retirement Date

All Nippon Airways, better known as ANA, has firmed up the date for the last flight of the 737-500 in its fleet. The aircraft, which has worked in the ANA fleet for more than a quarter of a century, will operate its final revenue flight from Fukuoka to Haneda on June 14th.

ANA wings 737-500
ANA’s long relationship with the 737-500 will come to an end next week. Photo: G B_NZ via Wikimedia

A week left to fly the ANA 737-500

The 737-500 has been a staple of the ANA fleet for a quarter of a century. Known by the airline as the ‘Super Dolphin,’ the first joined the fleet in July 1995. Across the group of airlines under the parent company ANA Holdings, a total of 25 737-500s have been flying the ANA name over the past 25 years.

Now, the groups’ relationship with the small 737 is coming to an end. The very last flight of the 737-500 will take place on June 14th, operating between Fukuoka and Haneda under flight number NH254.

According to Aviationwire, there will be a ceremony at Fukuoka Airport before it takes off, beginning at 12:15. The aircraft will leave the airport at 13:15, arriving into Haneda at 14:55 that afternoon.

ANA Super Dolphin
Nicknamed the ‘Super Dolphin’, all ANA’s -500s have dolphins painted on the engines. Photo: G B_NZ via Wikimedia

The last 737-500 is registered JA306K and operates for ANA’s regional subsidiary, ANA Wings. It was delivered to Air Nippon in 1999, a short-haul subsidiary of ANA, which was eventually merged into the main ANA brand. The aircraft was in the ANA mainline fleet from 2003 until 2005 when it was moved to Air Next, an ANA owned low-cost carrier.

ANA’s regional airlines ANA Wings was launched in 2010 through the merger of Air Next, Air Central and Air Nippon, and this Boeing 737 became part of its fleet. Now, after just over 21 years of service, it will finally be retired later this month.

ANA’s long history with the 737-500

All the 737-500s still in the group were moved into ANA Wings when it formed in October 2010. To date, 22 have already left the fleet, leaving just three still officially in service. However, two of those three have already been parked, leaving just JA306K still in service.

ANA Wings Boeing 737-500
The ANA group has operated the 737-500 for 25 years. Photo: lasta29 via Wikimedia

Of the 737-500s that already left, five were scrapped, and three are in storage, likely to be scrapped in the future. 13 have moved to US firm Unical Aviation, a major parts supplier to the industry. Therefore, it’s likely these aging planes will be stripped down for parts in the coming years.

One 737-500, however, has been retained by ANA. JA301K was retired in 2018 but has been preserved at Haneda Airport as a maintenance training jet. The company says this is to “assure its maintenance technicians have the best tools for training and to ensure the highest level of quality maintenance.”

With the final three set to leave the fleet in the next week, this will leave ANA Wings with a fleet of just Bombardier Q400s. The airline has 24 in its fleet, and six more on order. It also has an order in place for the Mitsubishi Spacejet, also known as the MRJ90.

However, it’s not the end of the 737 for ANA entirely. The mainline fleet still has a grand total of 47 737s in operation, mostly of the 737-800 variety but also with eight 737-700s. ANA also has a firm order for 10 Boeing 737 MAX 8s in place, with options for a further 10, and deliveries of those are due to begin next year.

Will you miss ANA’s 737-500 ‘Super Dolphins’? Let us know in the comments.