What Happened To Asiana Airlines’ Boeing 737 Aircraft?

Asiana Airlines of South Korea have three Boeing models in its fleet currently. They are the 747, 777 and 767. But the airline once owned 737s. Let’s take a look at where they ended up.

Asiana 737
What happened to Asiana’s 737s. Photo: Ken Fielding via Flickr

Asiana Airlines didn’t just have a few Boeing 737s; it had a lot. In total, the airline owned 34 in a mixture of -200, -400 and -500. But Asiana Airlines was most partial to the -400 series. It had 26 of them in comparison to seven -500s and one -200, according to Planespotters.

The very first Boeing 737 was delivered to Asiana Airlines in 1988 and over the next 12 years, the rest of the fleet was padded out. Here’s where it all began…

The -400 series

Asiana Airlines took delivery of its most used 737 series first. Two 737-400 aircraft arrived at the airline in December 1988. The 737-400 was the aircraft that Asiana Airlines started its operations with. The aircraft flew the original service with the airline to two domestic locations in South Korea.

In 1989, Asiana Airlines began to expand with regularly scheduled services to other South Korea locations and then its first international chartered flights to Sendai in Japan. It was then that Asiana really began to branch into the international market. It started offering flights to three more Japanese destinations in 1990.

To cope with the expansion, Asiana received seven -400 series between January 1989 and August of the same year. In 1990 it received one more -400 series and its first two -500 series aircraft.

What Happened To Asiana Airlines’ Boeing 737 Aircraft?
Asiana used the -400 series for expansion. Photo: FotoNoir via Wikimedia Commons

The majority of the -400s made it into the 21st Century operating with Asiana. But some did not.

The second -400 Asiana had delivered was registered HL7252. It left the fleet in 1996 to join ITT Flight Operations. The aircraft is now listed as active with Arabasco from Saudi Arabia. It has belonged to the fleet since 2015.

HL7256 and HL7255 were both acquired in 1989 but left the fleet in March 1997. HL7256 left for Virgin Express in Belgium and is now stored with Lao Central Airlines. HL7255 went to French Air Provence Charter and had a long history of serving 16 individual airlines after that. It is now active with YanAir.

The other -400 series which were acquired between 1988 and 1990 left Asiana Airlines between 2003 and 2005. They were all passed onto other airlines including Turkish Airlines, Lion Air and Adam Air.

The -500 series

The two -500 series acquired in August 1990 both left the fleet after just seven years in October 1997. Both went onto Nordeste Linhas Aereas. HL7261 is now stored with Ansett Worldwide (AWAS) after being delivered in June 2012. HL7262 was scrapped by the same company.

What Happened To Asiana Airlines’ Boeing 737 Aircraft?
Nordeste Linhas Aereas operated some of Asiana’s 737-500. Photo: Kambui via Wikimedia Commons

The next -500 series that Asiana acquired was the only aircraft that met with an unhappy ending. The aircraft arrived in November 1992 but crashed in July 1993 on approach to Mokpo Airport in South Korea. There were 110 passengers and six crew members on board, according to Air Fleets, when the aircraft twice missed its approach. The accident killed 68 people.

Before the crash, another -500 was acquired. It operated for five years between January 1993 and 1998 until it was sent to Maersk Air UK. The aircraft is now active with Blue Air.

Return of the -400 and -500

After acquiring the first two -500 series, Asiana Airlines took on two more -400 series. They came in July 1992 and left exactly 12 years later in July 2004. They were the last planes to be scrapped in those years, which saw seven 737 aircraft retired from the fleet.

A year after acquiring its last -500, Asiana Airlines turned back to the -400. In 1994 it acquired two; one in January and one in October. The first B-2990 was active until March 1998 and then went to Hainan Airlines. It is now stored with Nigerian Hak Air. SX-BGV operated all the way until 2003 before leaving for Aegean Airlines. It is now active with Southern Air.

But 1994 also saw the return of the -500. It was registered HL7232 and operated with the airline until November 2008. It then went to Air Busan. It has since been scrapped.

In 1995, Asiana Airlines got its final two -500 aircraft which were also sent to Air Busan in October 2008. Air Busan scrapped one and HL7250 was moved on to Aircraft Engine Lease Finance. It is now stored with Avior Airlines of Venezuela.

Air Busan

By 2008, Air Busan had already taken three aircraft off Asiana Airlines’ hands. After Asiana finished operating the 737, it took another four.

The next was in March 2009. HL7510 arrived at Asiana Airlines in September 1996. A month later, HL7517 went to Air Busan. It arrived at Asiana Airlines in July 1997. In February 2010, Air Busan took HL7508 which arrived at Asiana Airlines in May 1996. And, finally, in February 2013, it also took HL7513. The aircraft had been with Asiana since March 1997.

What Happened To Asiana Airlines’ Boeing 737 Aircraft?
HL7510 started operating for Air Busan. Photo: Aeroprints.com via Wikimedia Commons

1996 to 1997

But there are still eight 737-400 unaccounted for. They arrived between 1996 and 2000. N752MA was delivered in 1996 and flew for 10 years before moving to Miami Air International.

N763AG arrived in January 1997 and retired in February 201 to Aviation Capital Group. EI-DOV also arrived in 1997 but left the fleet way earlier than its predecessor. In June 2006 it went to Air One.

The last aircraft of 1997 was N753MA. It went to Miami Air International in November 2006.

The last four -400s

Of the last four -400s, one was delivered in 1999 and the other three in 2000.

TC-SKF came in 1999 and went to Sky Airlines in September 2005. N284CH which arrived in 2000, also left in 2005 but went to Boullioun Aviation Services.

The other two -400s went to Enter Air in 2010 after ten years with Asiana Airlines.

The sole -200

What Happened To Asiana Airlines’ Boeing 737 Aircraft?
Asiana only owned one -200 series. Bryan via Wikimedia Commons

Safe to say, Asiana Airlines’ loyalties lied with other models of Boeing 737. However, it owned one -200. But it’s ownership didn’t last long. The aircraft arrived in July 1998 but left in November 1998 for Aloha Airlines. It was used for cargo but has since been scrapped. Another -200 never entered Asiana Airlines’ fleet again.

Do you remember Asiana Airlines’ 737 fleet? Was it right to remove the model? Let us know in the comments.