Some of the oldest commercial planes still flying are Boeing 737 aircraft – although not all are flying commercial service anymore. Did you know that there is a sizable number of first-generation 737s still operating? Most of these aircraft are above or approaching 50 years in age. Simple Flying takes a look at the oldest Boeing 737s in operation.
The oldest Boeing 737s
There are two Boeing 737-200s still in operation that are over 50 years in age, according to data from Planespotters. FAP353 and FAP354 are Boeing 737-200s that fly for the Peruvian Air Force. Both have long histories operating first for Aer Lingus starting in 1969 and 1970, respectively. Aer Lingus then leased these jets out to several airlines including Air Algerie, Zambia Airways, Nigeria Airways, and Bahamsaair, among others. After a few years in passenger service with TANS, a now-defunct Peruvian airline, they joined the Air Force of Peru.
Two other aircraft, K3187 and K3186, are just over 49 years old. They were first delivered in 1971 to Indian Airlines. In the early 1990s, however, these planes were transferred over to the Indian Air Force.
Finding the 737-200s in passenger service is hard. However, there are some airlines still flying them. C-GNLK is 46 years old, having been delivered to Transavia first in 1974. Since 2014, however, the plane has been operating for Nolinor Aviation in Canada. This is a charter airline flying the oldest Boeing 737-200 in passenger service. This jet is followed closely by another 45-year-old 737-200 also found in Nolinor’s fleet registered as C-GNLE.
Moving on, the next oldest Boeing 737-200 is an exceptional aircraft that is operated by Conviasa, a Venezuelan airline. YV3434 is a 44-year-old 737-200. However, it flies on behalf of the Venezuelan government.
Another such Boeing 737-200, EP-AGA, flies for Meraj Airlines in Iran. Like the previous jet, this one is also used for VIP transport and is owned by the Iranian government.
To look for more passenger-only jets, there are two 42-year-old 737s in operation. The first is YV502T that flies for Venezolana– another Venezuelan airline. Meanwhile, in Canada, Air Inuit flies C-GMAI.
Why these planes are around
Boeing 737-200s do not have all the modern comforts and conveniences we have come to expect. These planes are from the early days of jet aviation and a testament to how far we have come. Some of the Canadian 737s are especially important because they can land on unpaved surfaces in remote parts of the Canadian north. This way, airlines can provide essential air connections to those communities.
Meanwhile, for governments, aircraft efficiency and operating costs are not always taken into consideration. In addition, VIP and charter aircraft are not operating robust aircraft schedules, leaving plenty of downtime for maintenance. The older a plane is, the more maintenance it may require.
In total, according to Planespotters, there are about 70 Boeing 737-200s in active operation. However, as this crisis progresses, expect some of these older aircraft to be retired.
Have you ever flown in a Boeing 737-200? What was the experience like? Let us know in the comments!