What Happened To Surinam Airways’ Sole Boeing 747?

Between 2004 and 2009, Surinam Airways had one Boeing 747-300. The airline used this Queen of the Skies to connect with long-haul South America-Europe flights. Nevertheless, it’s been a while since Surinam retired its B747. What has happened to it since? Let’s investigate further.

Suriname Airways
Surinam Airways operated one Boeing 747-300. Photo: Alan Wilson via Flickr.

What do we know about Surinam Airway’s B747?

Surinam Airways’ Boeing 747-300 had the registration PZ-TCM. Its serial number was 23508, according to ch-aviation’s database.

This aircraft was first ordered by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines on December 17, 1985. It had its first flight on September 20, 1986, nearly 30 years ago. Boeing delivered the plane on October 3, 1986.

While flying with KLM, the B747-300 had a PH-BUW registration. KLM used this particular aircraft between 1986 and 2004. KLM only ever had three Boeing 747-300. They had the registrations PH-BUU, PH-BUV, and PH-BUW, and the European airline retired them between 2003 and 2004.

The South American carrier Surinam Airways is among the few operators in the region ever to have a B747. Among other airlines that had a Queen of the Skies in South America were Aerolíneas Argentinas, Avianca, the Venezuelan operator VIASA, and obviously, the Brazilian Varig.

Surinam Airways
Surinam Airways’ B747 flew with the carrier between 2004 and 2009. Photo: Pedro Aragão via Wikimedia Commons.

How did Surinam Airways replace its 747?

Surinam Airways received its B747 in 2004 after it bought it directly from KLM. The airline called its aircraft Ronald Elwin Kappel in honor of a Surinamese commercial pilot.

The airline used its Queen of the Skies to connect Paramaribo with Amsterdam. For instance, in September 2007, Surinam Airways operated 13 flights between both capital cities, according to data recorded by Cirium. It offered 397 seats per flight, having a monthly capacity of 5,161 seats each way.

For five years, Surinam Airways used its Boeing 747. Nevertheless, in 2009, the airline retired the aircraft and stored it. The plane is currently parked at Pinal Airport in Marana, Arizona. It is partially scrapped, according to ch-aviation.

Then, Surinam Airways substituted PZ-TCM with a newer Airbus A340-300, registration PZ-TCP.

Surinam Airways
Surinam Airways also had two Airbus A340. Photo: Paul Spijkers via Wikimedia Commons.

What has happened with Surinam Airways ever since?

In the last few months, Surinam Airways has faced deep economic troubles. According to local reports and ch-aviation, the airline doesn’t have a fleet currently. So, what happened to its long-haul fleet?

Surinam Airways didn’t hold onto its Airbus A340 fleet for long. The carrier rejected the lease of its aircraft in 2019 and went on to take delivery of a Boeing 777.

This new aircraft had a registration number PZ-TCU and previously flew with Singapore Airlines. Boeing Aircraft Holding leased the plane to Surinam Airways.

Nevertheless, Surinam Airways rejected the lease earlier this year. The aircraft required expensive repairs, and the airline was not keen on taking those costs in the middle of a global pandemic and airline crisis.

Regarding its single-aisle fleet, Surinam Airways has also faced problems. According to luchtvaartnieuws.nl, the lessors took possession of the two Boeing 737-700 it had after lack of payment. Surinam Airways has had to wet lease an Airbus A321 from the Lithuanian carrier Avion Express to continue flying domestically. To fly to Amsterdam, Surinam Airways is leasing an Airbus A340-300 from Air Belgium. Currently, Surinam Airways is looking to rent an Airbus A330.

Did you ever fly onboard Surinam Airways’ Boeing 747? Let us know in the comments below.