The UK’s Royal Mail postal service is known for its unmistakable red and yellow color scheme. It is most often seen on the company’s vans and lorries, with 15 Class 325 trains also bearing this livery. However, did you know that these famous colors were also once applied to an aircraft? Let’s take a look at the story of the Royal Mail liveried Boeing 737.
Originally a passenger aircraft
The aircraft that wore the Royal Mail livery was a being 737-300 with the registration G-ZAPV. According to data from ch-aviation.com, this particular example made its first flight in January 1990, making it over 31 years old today. It spent the first eight years of its life flying for Philippine Airlines under the registration EI-BZH.
Data from Planespotters.net shows that, while at Philippine Airlines, EI-BZH had a one-class 141-seat configuration. However, when it moved to UK carrier Go Fly in April 1998, this figure increased to 148 passengers. At this point, its registration became G-IGOC.
According to ATDB.aero, the aircraft then joined fellow British budget airline easyJet in July 2002. G-IGOC reportedly retained its Go livery, owing to an ongoing merger between the two carriers. The aircraft eventually left easyJet in November 2003. Its destination was Now Airlines, but, after this acquisition was canceled, its career took a rather different path.
Converted to carry mail
The aircraft eventually fell into the hands of Titan Airways, who received it in February 2004. This UK charter operator flies both passenger and freight services, and elected to convert G-IGOC to serve the latter purpose. Titan operates overnight post flights for Royal Mail on two UK routes: Bournemouth-East Midlands and Exeter-London Stansted.
Now registered as G-ZAPV, the newly converted 737-300 freighter was used to celebrate Royal Mail’s partnership with Titan by painting it in the former’s famous red and yellow livery. After its conversion, G-ZAPV entered service as a freighter in August 2004.
G-ZAPV enjoyed the longest tenure of its career thus far at Titan, flying mail within the UK for nine years. This came to an in December 2013, just after Titan had agreed on a new contract with Royal Mail, with additional routes serving Belfast and Edinburgh.
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Still active today
After leaving Titan Airways, G-ZAPV joined fellow UK cargo carrier Atlantic Airlines in December 2013. Here, it took on the registration G-JMCT. Atlantic Airlines became known as West Atlantic UK in November 2017, and is a key British freight operator.
G-JMCT is now more than 31 years old. However, with cargo operators often favoring older planes, this has allowed it to stay in service with West Atlantic. At the time of writing, the aircraft could frequently be found on overnight cargo shuttles between London and Edinburgh. RadarBox.com also listed Vilnius, Lithuania among its destinations.
Did you know about the Royal Mail liveried Boeing 737? Perhaps you’ve even seen it on your travels? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!