What Happened To British Airways Boeing 737s?

British Airways at one point had 122 Boeing 737 aircraft, but has since completely retired the type. Where did the aircraft go? And why did British Airways seemingly give up what was once an almost all-Boeing airline?

British Airways
Boeing 737 in British Airways livery. Photo: Aero Icarus via Wikipedia

Throughout their time as an airline, British Airways had:

Boeing 737-200 50
Boeing 737-300 20
Boeing 737-400 39
Boeing 737-500 13

Where did they go?

According to the website, Planespotters, each of British Airways’ former 737s have gone onto have a long and lucrative life somewhere else in the world. Many of these aircraft are still flying today for a variety of airlines.

British Airways
British Airways had 122 Boeing 737s. Photo: Aero Icarus via Flickr

Some aircraft of note are:

  • N1285E – A Boeing 737-200 that joined the fleet in 1981. It would fly for 20 years for British Airways, before moving onwards to South African Airlines. From there it got traded around various South African firms before finding itself at Pak Africa Aviation in 2016. It is still flying there today at the ripe old age of 40.
  • PK-JGY – A twin Boeing 737-200 flew for British Airways from 1980 to 1992, before moving over the United States to fly for Sun West Airlines. In 2003 it was sold to Jatayu Airlines in Indonesia where it still operates today.
  • N837AL – This Boeing 737-200 had a very colorful history. Flying for British Airways in 1985 to 1999, it then went on to serve Pegasus Aviation in the US faithfully for many years. Then in 2000, it flew for Aerolineas Argentinas and then to Aloha Airlines in 2006. However, in 2008 the airline went out of business and the aircraft was stored.
  • N375CK – This Boeing 737-500 actually flew for Maersk Air in 1996 then was leased to British Airways in 1999. The aircraft flew until 2001 and then went back to Maersk Air. It eventually found its way to a charter airline in the US.
A Boeing 737-300. Photo: Pedro Aragão via Wikipedia

Bottom line

In the end, British Airways retired the Boeing 737 aircraft and moved onwards with the Airbus A320. During a merger with British Caledonian Airlines, British Airways inherited some Airbus A320s. Using the type they noticed that it was better suited for their needs over the Boeing 737 and in the end decided to switch teams and order Airbus short-haul aircraft.

“British Caledonian (BCAL) was indeed a launch customer of the A320 and they ordered seven of the A320s with options on another three for delivery in the spring of 1988. BCAL merged with BA in late 1987 as a result of which BA took on BCAL’s order and hence the A320 family was introduced into BA’s fleet.” – BCAL user via Airlines.net

But this might not be the end of the Boeing 737 for British Airways. Its owners, IAG, have moved to make an order for the Boeing 737 MAX, some of which may end up with BA.

What do you think of this news? Do you think British Airways should have retired the Boeing 737? Let us know in the comments.