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 737-20050
Boeing 737-30020
Boeing 737-40039
Boeing 737-50013

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.


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Daniel Baglietto Seymour

I enjoyed my travels on board BA ‘s Boeing 737-200/300/400’s when they operated by GB airways from Gibraltar to both London Gatwick & Heathrow.Beautiful aircraft for BA.Boeing aircraft still fly in BA livery in South Africa for Comair.

Dave Williams

Judging by the issues BA are having with their A319/320/321 fleets I’d guess they’re beginning to regret the decision to change.

Michael Flynn

I flew in their 737s on the Heathrow to Newcastle route many times in the 1998 – 2010 time frame. They were fine. Much roomier seating than economy on most US airline. Pilots brought me and my young son into the cockpit during the flight to have a look (must have been before 9/11). in 1990s on flights like that almost no children. All adults in business suits – except me.

Tim Hudson

British Airways should stick with Airbus

Tom Allan

I’m horrified that 737 Max could be in the BA fleet

David Holness

737 still in use by British airways in South Africa , why do you say they have stopped using them ?

David Holness

British airways still use the 737 in South Africa ?

Richard Middleton

Buy Airbus and support the UK industry.737 max they must be mad.

Martin Greathurst

Hello to all my happy passengers, that I used to fly out of Gatwick on the 737. It was a fabulous aircraft that looked after us all. Boeing will overcome their present issues.

Kevin Mobbs

BA should avoid the 737 type it’s tainted and will never be a passengers choice. Stick with the 320neo the only smart choice. Clearly a year grounding of the 737 is not just a software/instrument issue it’s got significant modification issues. If you started today with a clean sheet the 737 is the last design Boeing would come up with.


You missed the point. The 737 does not support containerised baggage. Which BA exclusively uses.

P Begg

I’d fly a 737 any day over an airbus. Have missed them and the 757 at BA for years. Bring on the MAX



Krishna pradad Hiremagalur

No.They Should have Continued usage of the same by continuously Improving the Technical Competence.