Commercial jet flight as we know it today has been around for well over 50 years. That is an amazing span of time across which many new technologies, aircraft, and even planemakers have arisen and made their names in the market– though some of them are no longer flying. Here are, however, some of the oldest operating commercial jet aircraft.
Focusing on regular commercial aircraft, there are several Boeing 737-200s that are in operation ferrying passengers. Nolinor, a Canadian charter airline, flies C-GNLK and C-GNLE. The former is 46-years-old while the latter clocks in at 45-years-old. At 42-years-old, Air Inuit has C-GMAI, and Venezolana has YV502T.
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Unsurprisingly, these aircraft are also some of the oldest Boeing 737s flying passengers.
The Queen of the Skies, which will soon be ceasing production, still has a venerable legacy as an aircraft. Some of these are also quite old. Flying passengers, the oldest of the type flies for Mahan Air. At 31-years-old, this aircraft is registered as EP-MNB. Atlas Air, a charter airline operator, flies N465MC, which is 30 years old, and N464MC, which is 28 years old.
Thai Airways flies HS-TGO, which is 27 years old, followed by Air India’s 26-year-old VT-ESO and VT-ESP. Air China has 26-year-old B-2445, while Wamos Air has EC-KXN. Another 26-year-old aircraft is Iraqi Airways’ YI-AQQ.
The Boeing 757 has been in operation since the late-1980s and is an excellent aircraft that carriers use for various missions. Jet2’s G-LSAE, G-LSAB, and G-LSAA all clock in at 31-years-old. Delta, meanwhile, flies 31-year old N649DL, N650DL, N651DL, and N652DL.
Looking at the 767s, Eastern Airlines is flying a 36-year-old 767-200 registered as N605KW. Just a year younger are N603KW and N602KW. At 32-years-old, Eastern Airlines also has N604KW. N706KW is 30 years old and is a Boeing 767-300ER. Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines is also flying 30-year-old N175DN 767-300ER. Back in the 767-200ER lineup, Air Zimbabwe has a 30-year-old Z-WPF.
The Airbus A300 is the jet that launched Airbus as a global player in the market. Iran Air has 40-year-old EP-IBS, followed by 36-year-old EP-IBG. Mahan Air, which also flies old 747s, has a 33-year-old A300 registered as EP-MNG. Iran Airtour, another airline in Iran, flies 33-year-old EP-MNI. Qeshm Air has 29-year-old EP-FQK.
What are the oldest operating jets?
Taking this list into consideration, we can start to figure out which aircraft are the oldest operating ones carrying passengers:
- Nolinor’s C-GNLK (46-years-old)
- Nolinor’s C-GNLE (45-years-old)
- Air Inuit’s C-GMAI (42-years-old)
- Venezolana YV50T (42-years-old)
- Iran Air’s EP-IBS (40-years-old)
- Iran Air’s EP-IBG (36-years-old)
- Eastern Airlines’ N605KW (36-years-old)
- Eastern Airlines’ N603KW (35-years-old)
- Eastern Airlines’ N602KW (35-years-old)
- Mahan air’s EP-MNG (33-years-old)
- Iran Airtour’s EP-MNI (33-years-old)
- Eastern Airlines’ N604KW (32-years-old)
- Jet2’s G-LSAE (31-years-old)
- Jet2’s G-LSAB (31-years-old)
- Jet2’s G-LSAA (31-years-old)
- Delta’s N649DL (31-years-old)
- Delta’s N650DL (31-years-old)
- Delta’s N651DL (31-years-old)
- Delta’s N652DL (31-years-old)
- Mahan Air’s EP-MNB (31-years-old)
This is, however, not a complete list. Several museums also have older aircraft that will not fly commercially but rather jet around whenever there is a special occasion or a tour flight. Commercially, there are also cargo aircraft or passenger jets converted to cargo-only jets that are flying and are well over 30-40 years of age. Simple Flying only focused on passenger planes for this article.
Most passenger airlines will retire their aircraft once they hit 20-25 years of age. Some airlines, however, keep their planes for a longer time. This is especially true if the airline has no good replacement for the type. Nevertheless, most planes can get up there in age with extensive maintenance and planning and still be safe for passenger operations.
What is the oldest aircraft that you have flown on? Would you fly a 30+-year-old aircraft? Let us know in the comments!