airBaltic will retire its remaining Boeing 737-300s and Dash-8 Q400s early.
The Latvian flag-carrier has announced it will retire its remaining 3 Boeing 737-300s and 12 Q400s early as a result of the aircraft aging, leases running out, and wanting a simplified fleet.
airBaltic ended all scheduled operations on March 14, 2020, after the government closed borders. airBaltic continues to operate cargo flights using its Airbus A220s.
The airline’s 737-300s were originally supposed to be retired at the end of summer 2020, or even sometime in early 2021, but it looks like that has been accelerated by months.
Once airBaltic resumes scheduled operations, both the 737-300s and Q400s will not fly, meaning their last revenue flights were in March.
According to WorldAirlineNews, the airline’s 737-300’s last revenue flight was on March 16, 2020, with these three remaining aircraft:
YL-BBJ – flight BT246 FRA-RIX arriving at 1852 (6:52 pm) local time
YL-BBX – flight BT122 GOT-RIX arriving at 1650 (4:50 pm) local time
YL-BBY – flight BT405 KBP-RIX arriving at 2204 (10:04 pm) local time (the final Boeing 737 revenue flight)
airBaltic has been planning an all-Airbus fleet for some time now, according to CEO Martin Guass:
'We were planning on our fleet to be completely made up of Airbus planes anyways. We were planning to still use several Boeing 737-300 aircraft this year and possibly next year, but this has been concluded and we are not making any regular flights with Boeing aircraft anymore. ‘‘It is clear that we will discontinue the use of these planes as well in the future. We will focus on simplifying our activities and will only use Airbus aircraft in the future.’’
The airline currently has 22 Airbus A220-300s in its fleet with 28 more on order, with options for 18 more aircraft.
Really sad to see more aircraft retirements accelerated. The subfleets of Boeing 737s (-300, -400, -500, etc.) are becoming more uncommon as they become less efficient compared to aircraft like the A220.