Viva Aerobus is a Mexican ultra-low-cost carrier operating with an Airbus A320 fleet, with 50 aircraft. But, once upon a time, the airline had a Boeing 737-300 fleet, which now remains as an anecdotal tale of Viva’s beginnings. So, what happened to that fleet? Let’s investigate further.
Viva’s B737-300 fleet
To do this recount, we’re using ch-aviation’s database. Throughout a decade, Viva Aerobus had 24 Boeing 737-300 aircraft. The model served the airline well when Viva Aerobus started flying as a low-cost company in Mexico.
Viva Aerobus’ first aircraft was a B737-300 registration XA-UGL. The airline received this plane on September 6, 2006. This plane initially flew with America West Airlines between 1985 and 2005. Then it operated with Viva Aerobus between 2006 and 2011. This aircraft is currently stored at Monterrey International Airport in Mexico, waiting to be scrapped.
On October 29, 2016, Viva Aerobus said goodbye to its last Boeing 737-300. The carrier had the model for ten years, while the company took off as one of the ultra-low-cost leaders in the region.
That last flight was operated with a Boeing 737-300 registration XA-VIQ. Since its exit from Viva Aerobus’ ranks, the aircraft has moved to Venezuela, where it is currently operating. This plane now has a YV642T registration and flies with Aerolíneas Estelar, according to ch-aviation.
Fueron 10 años volando juntos y hoy despedimos al último Boeing 737-300 de nuestro primer flota. 🛫 pic.twitter.com/pFmRobynQf
— Viva Aerobus (@VivaAerobus) October 29, 2016
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What happened to most of the fleet?
Currently, most of Viva’s Boeing 737-300 fleet is stored or scrapped somewhere around the world. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic (and even before that), many old aircraft will not fly anymore.
Nevertheless, there are a few that are still flying around. For instance, Aerolíneas Estelar received three former Viva Aerobus’ 737-300 and are still active in Venezuela.
Boliviana de Aviación also has two ex Viva planes (registrations XA-VIN and EI-ERD). Air Peace, Blue Bird Airways, and Avia Traffic Company each have one, according to ch-aviation registrations.
Worldwide, there are 102 active Boeing 737-300 and 93 that are still with an operator but currently inactive.
The world’s largest Boeing 737-300 operator is currently a Mexican airline, called Magnicharters, according to ch-aviation. The charter airline has ten (seven active and three inactive).
How has Viva Aerobus replaced the 737-300 fleet?
Since retiring the last of its 737-300 aircraft, Viva Aerobus has grown exponentially. It currently has a fleet of 50 aircraft. It has 20 Airbus A320-200, 20 A320-200neo, five A321-200, and five A321-200NX.
The airline still expects to receive 40 more Airbus A321neo aircraft in the coming years. In the next six years, the low-cost operator aims almost to double its fleet.
A few months ago, after receiving its fiftieth aircraft, Viva Aerobus stated,
“This fleet expansion plan brings the carrier the necessary backup to deal with the growing demand it has had recently, even in the midst of a challenging environment worldwide. Viva Aerobus is leading the sector recovery, surpassing its pre-pandemic passenger levels.”
Currently, Viva Aerobus has carried 22% more passengers than it did in 2019. The airline has taken advantage of the demise of Interjet and the shrink of operations of Aeromexico. Viva Aerobus is close to becoming the second-largest domestic operator in Mexico after Volaris.
Did you ever fly onboard Viva Aerobus’ Boeing 737-300 fleet? How was the experience? Let us know in the comments.