Once upon a time, easyJet had some Boeing 737s. In fact, it had more than 80 of the type. However, today easyJet is an Airbus-only airline. So what happened to all those 737s?
The well-known UK based low cost carrier easyJet is renowned for being an Airbus-only operator. With 329 in its current fleet, spread across all the A320 family, and 112 outstanding on order, they are one of Airbus’ most significant narrowbody operators, outnumbered only by American Airlines with its fleet of 400 of the type.
However, things weren’t always this way, as previously easyJet operated a sizeable fleet of 737s too. Over the course of its history, easyJet flew a total of 84 Boeing 737 aircraft, split between the -200, -300 and -700 variants. Where are all these aircraft now, and when did easyJet stop flying them?
The Boeing 737-200s
The acquisition of two Boeing 737-200s comes with an interesting back story. When easyJet first started operations in 1995, it had no AOC. As such, its first flights were conducted using two wet-leased 737-200s, operated by GB Airways. This is interesting because, in 2008, easyJet took over GB Airways entirely, ending more than 70 years of operations.
These two aircraft were sold by GB Airways to Virgin Express in 1997, a short-lived venture by Richard Branson which has since been absorbed into Brussels Airlines. The pair stayed together, being sold to a US leasing company and working out their lives for airlines in Argentina. Both have now been scrapped.
The Boeing 737-300s
easyJet operated a large fleet of 49 737-300s between May 1996 and December 2006. Many of these arrived as part of the acquisition deal for former British Airways LCC Go Fly. easyJet bought Go in 2002 in a deal worth £374m ($456m). Records show that, at takeover, Go had 27 Boeing 737-300s in its fleet, all of which moved to easyJet.
Similarly, a number came from a merger with TEA Basel, which now operates as easyJet Switzerland. According to Air Fleets, 11 737-300s moved to easyJet when they took over this carrier.
In terms of where they ended up, many of these 737-300s are still in service, which is not entirely surprising as many were not really all that old. 16 have been converted to cargo carriers and are still in use all over the world.
Two went on to work for Southwest Airlines and one for AirAsia but all have since been scrapped. Three ex-Go 737 went to KD Avia, Sriwijaya Air and Adam Air before being scrapped also. Several have worked for airBaltic, who are rapidly moving towards becoming an all-Airbus A220 airline.
Some are still in service as passenger jets, including one at Iran’s Sepehran Airlines as EP-FSI, one at Asian Express in Tajikistan as EY-556, two at Azman Air as 5N-YSM and 5N-HAI, and two at Malta’s Maleth Aero as 9H-BRE and 9H-ZAK. Air Peace has two flying as 5N-BUO and 5N-BQV, and Canadian North has three registered C-GPNL, C-GCNO and C-GICN. Fly Jordan has a couple of them too.
One worked for now defunct UK airline bmibaby (G-TOYD), but has been in storage since the airline closed its doors. Two are still in service in the UK, however, working for British carrier Jet2.
One was written off. Ex-Go Fly’s 737, G-IGOF was flying under registration as PK-CJY for Sriwijaya Air when it caught fire while undergoing maintenance. Three are marked as ‘preserved’, but seem to be used for crew and firefighting training, so you won’t find them in any museums.
easyJet had a total of 33 737-700s delivered between October 2000 and May 2004. The last of these left its fleet in 2011, after just eight years in service. Unlike the -300s, most of which arrived through acquisitions, all the 737-700s were delivered new to easyJet, having been ordered from Boeing by the airline.
Perhaps, with all the incoming 737s from Go and TEA, easyJet once thought it would be a Boeing only airline. However, with the swift offloading of the entire fleet, many of which had only been in service for a few years, they clearly changed their mind on this pretty quickly.
As to where they are now, four have already gone to the great scrapheap in the sky. Seven are in storage, waiting for a new operator (or dismantler). 21 are still in active service, however. In fact, if you fly low cost in the US, you’ve probably been on one, as eight went to Southwest Airlines. Another US LCC, Sun Country, also ended up with two.
Five are in South America, four working for GOL in Brazil and one for AeroMexico, while the final five are spread around other carriers all over the world.
However, one did not have a happy ending. HK-4682 (previously G-EZJU) was operating for AIRES Colombia when it was involved in a landing accident at San Andres Island-Gustavo Rojas Pinilla Airport (ADZ). Poor weather was identified as a contributing factor, which saw the aircraft crashed and broken into three parts, killing two and seriously injuring nine of the passengers.
Did you realize easyJet used to fly the 737? Do you wish they still did? Let us know in the comments.