The 757 was a hit for Boeing, with the advent of ETOPS opening the design up to a wider range of operators. The US planemaker produced more than 1,000, of which the majority belonged to the -200 series. However, did you know that this variant had a rather less popular sub-variant? Known as the 757-200M, Nepal Airlines flew the only example.
What was the 757-200M?
As is customary for Boeing, the ‘M’ suffix denotes the fact that the 757-200M was a ‘Combi‘ plane. This means that its main deck was split between passengers and cargo. In contrast, most other 757s, which loaded their main deck with one or the other. As seen below, there was a side cargo door (with the grey underline) towards the front of the left side.
This is where the unique aircraft’s additional cargo space was located. It is important to note that Nepal Airlines’ 757-200M was unique in the sense that it was the only 757 specifically ordered as a Combi. However, as the aircraft has aged, there have been a few projects that have seen older examples converted to have a similar configuration.
According to data from ch-aviation.com, Nepal Airlines’ Boeing 757-200M arrived at the carrier in September 1988. It had taken its first flight two months previously, with Nepal Airlines placing the order for it in February 1986. The aircraft bore the registration 9N-ACB.
Unsuccessful sales attempts
9N-ACB ended up serving Nepal Airlines for over 30 years. Towards the end of this time, ATDB.aero notes that it picked up landing gear damage in Doha, Qatar. The incident occurred in May 2017. Following this, the aircraft spent an extended storage period at Singapore’s Seletar Airport (XSP). This lasted around 18 months, until January 2019.
At this point, the plane returned home to Kathmandu, Nepal. However, by this point, it was over 30 years old, and Nepal Airlines was ready to sell up. However, with the 757-200M being just about Boeing’s most niche commercial variant, it proved hard to find a buyer.
As Simple Flying reported in November 2019, Nepal Airlines even tried reducing its asking price to just $4.25 million. This was despite the fact that, even today, ch-aviation lists 9N-ACB’s market value as being around $9 million. So, where has this left the aircraft?
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Retired with minimal fanfare
Unfortunately for Nepal Airlines, even its lower offer was unable to attract any interest from potential buyers. This meant that it could do little else but withdraw the 31-year-old aircraft with minimal fanfare. According to Aviation Nepal, local enthusiasts were disappointed to learn that the carrier wasn’t doing anything to commemorate the type’s retirement.
Now more than 33 years old, the aircraft remains in storage in Kathmandu, with a potential reprieve seemingly unlikely. Interestingly, its retirement marked something of a watershed moment for Nepal Airlines. Indeed, it represented the departure of the carrier’s final Boeing aircraft, as it now only flies Airbus and de Havilland designs.
Did you know that Nepal Airlines used to fly the Boeing 757-200M? Perhaps you’ve even traveled on this rare ‘Combi’ aircraft? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!