ANA's Subsidiary ANA Wings has flown the 737-500 one last time before retirement
The aircraft, registered as JA306K, had flown on a fully booked flight from Fukuoka to Tokyo Haneda in rainy conditions and was greeted with adoring fans back home.
Operational History of JA306K
The aircraft was nicknamed “Super Dolphin” because some claim it resembles a cetacean in spirit. And a reference to the print of a dolphin on its engine, that the Japanese call them “rice ball type” as their analogy apart from the “hamster pouch” some parts of the world call them.
The final flight of the 735 flew as NH254, a regularly scheduled flight from Fukuoka to Tokyo Haneda. Normally, the flight would be operated with a 777 due to high demand. However, due to today’s happenings, they are flown on the 737-500 as demand drops.
A ceremony was held at the gate in Fukuoka with a speech from the captain, Seiji Oyama:
“I can take off and land on a short runway, so I could go to various places from Wakkanai in Hokkaido to Ishigaki in Okinawa in the south.”
The flight took of at 1:26PM local time and landed at 3:03PM local time after an hour and a half of flight time.
What will replace the 737-500?
ANA Wings, after complete retirement of the classic 737, will only be left with the Dash 8-Q400 in its fleet, while good for some lower demand routes, more would be needed for some of the more popular routes, that the 737 would’ve done comfortably. ANA Wings possesses only 24 Q-400s. The airline does have orders for the Mitsubishi MRJ-90 SpaceJet, although it will be left with a 100% Q-400 fleet until March of 2021. The date may even be pushed back due to COVID-19.
Do you think it was the right time to retire the 737-500 now? Have you flown with ANA’s 737-500 before?