What Happened To Flybe’s Boeing 737s?

Flybe’s recent financial struggles lead to it being taken taken over at the beginning of this year. Before these issues, the airline had bolstered its fleet with fresh aircraft in the previous decade. This fleet included four Boeing 737s that the airline no longer holds on to.

These four 737-300s were all delivered to the British carrier throughout 2005. However, it didn’t take long for the jetliners to find a new home elsewhere. In fact, all of the units were sold within one year of Flybe receiving them. According to Air Fleets, each Boeing 737 plane that was delivered to Flybe in 2005 found itself at a different operator by 2007.

Boeing 737-33A
This Boeing 737-33A was only with Flybe for one month before it was shifted. Photo: Pedro Aragão  via Wikimedia Commons

The first of these to go was registration SX-BBT, which was transferred one month after its delivery date in April 2005. The short-lived airline Astraeus took the 737-33A in May 2005 under a new registration of G-STRI. This unit was shifted between the British based outfit and other airlines four times until Astraeus’ demise in 2011. Iceland Express placed the aircraft in storage from June of that year until Eastern Skyjets scrapped it in April 2012.

The next member of the 2005 delivery to go was the 737-3Y0, which was leased under registration G-STRB. This model was initially leased by Flybe from Astraeus in April 2005 until it was converted and sold in July 2006. Belgian cargo airline, TNT Airways (now known as ASL Airlines Belgium) took this jet on as registration OO-TNG.

This aircraft changed hands between Jet Time, Jet2 and Titan Airways before TNT leased it again in January 2014. Mistral Air then took on the airliner later that year before placing it in storage. Maltese firm, Maleth Aero are now the owners of this 737, operating it since May 2018.

TNT Airways Boeing 737-300 OO-TNG
TNT held this Boeing 737-3Y0 twice after Flybe operated it. Photo: Abutcher15 via Wikimedia Commons

Global shifting

Flybe’s Boeing 737-3S3 was the next of these deliveries to go. The airline also leased registration G-STRA from Astraeus before the model shifted across continents to Indonesia. AdamAir snapped up the plane under registration PK-KKY in December 2006.

The Indonesian airline ceased operations in 2008 so Silver Air purchased the unit before selling it to Safair in August 2010. This 737 switched hands a couple of times before African outfit, Swazi Airways, stored it from winter 2016.

The first Boeing 737 that Flybe received was the 737-36N, which was the last one that it relinquished. The airline received this model from Astraeus under registration G-STRE in March 2005 before transferring it to Estonian Air in January 2007. British low-cost carrier Jet2 leased this airliner in March 2012 and still operate it under registration G-GDFK.

Astraeus Boeing 737-300 (G-STRA)
Astraeus held all of Flybe’s Boeing 737-300s at one point, including this 737-3S3 pictured. Photo: Arpingstone via Wikimedia Commons

Operational struggles

The quick turnaround of newly delivered aircraft may have been a sign of the struggles ahead for Flybe. The regional airline was sold to Connect Airways in February 2019 following a series of negotiations. This deal placed the airline under the consortium of Virgin Atlantic and Stobart Aviation.

Despite the deal, Flybe continued to face problems throughout 2019. Earlier this year, the company announced that it will close two bases and stopped 23 routes. The brand and its new parent will be hopeful that fortunes will change in the new decade. With a colorful history and a service that travels to 85 destinations, the airline has the capacity to turn things around.