Air Serbia retires Boeing 737 fleet


Air Serbia has retired its entire fleet of Boeing 737-300 aircraft, almost 36 years since the type was first introduced by its predecessor. In a statement to the TangoSix portal, the carrier said, “The phase out of the Boeing 737 from the national airline’s fleet was planned by the end of this year. The remaining two operational aircraft had fewer cycles left in them and due to an overall reduction in flight operations, we decided to remove them earlier than planned. The decision was also made in line with goals to reduce our fleet’s greenhouse gas emissions and make savings in maintenance, training and means required to keep an aircraft of over thirty years in operation”. It added, “Keeping in mind the forecast for the industry made by relevant institutions such as Eurocontrol, the Airbus and ATR fleet will be sufficient for the operation of scheduled and charter flights in the medium-term, while the company will continue to be proactive and respond to changes on the market”.




The two remaining Boeing 737-300 aircraft that have now been withdrawn from service are registered YU-ANI and YU-ANK. The former operated its final flight from Stockholm to Belgrade on January 17, while the latter flew its final commercial service from Frankfurt to the Serbian capital on February 8. YU-ANI has held the record for being the oldest Boeing 737-300 series aircraft in regular passenger service (excluding cargo and military VIP configuration versions). The aircraft were all delivered new to JAT Yugoslav Airlines and later operated for Jat Airways and then for Air Serbia under the carrier’s dedicated charter brand Aviolet. The jets were also leased out to various foreign carriers, especially during the 1990s and early 2000s.

JAT's first B737-300 on the assembly line, Boeing Renton plant, 1985

The withdrawal of the Boeing 737s from Air Serbia’s fleet means the Serbian carrier will no longer operate US manufactured aircraft for the first time in decades. It now has eighteen aircraft in its fleet, including eleven Airbus A319s, one A320, one A330-200 and five ATR72 turboprops. In December of last year, the Serbian Minister for Finance, Siniša Mali, said the country’s national carrier would retire older noisy aircraft, as well as those producing greater gas emissions. Mr Mali said the move would be part of the company’s restructuring program which includes fleet rationalisation, the reduction of the company’s workforce and termination of select routes.

Magazine article marking the arrival of JAT's first B737-300, August 1985


Comments

  1. Anonymous09:04

    Thank you all B733's for unforgettable flying moments!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:22

      They will be remembered by many forever and will be missed greatly!

      Delete
  2. Anonymous09:05

    So once more the haters were right in saying the 737s should have been retired.
    And the costs of flying very old inefficient aircraft and having a separate pilot and flight attendant groups just for them was too high.
    Despite owning these aircraft and paying no leases.
    I am sure the former supporters of the 737s remaining active will now also support their retirement since management took it! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:50

      Fully agree.

      Delete
    2. Nemjee10:10

      Planes can't fly indefinitely. Those planes might have been in JU's ownership but they were really bad inside. Worn out cabin, outdated infrastructure and so on.
      There is only so much they could with planes that were way past their prime. If Air Serbia wants to be competitive then it also has to be modern. I loved those B733s but it was time for them to go.

      As we say: све у своје време.
      Нажалост време В733 је прошло... одавно.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous10:35

      Nemjee, you can't use the word infrastructure for an airplane. It's not a bridge.

      Equipment should be used instead.

      Cheers.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous10:47

      Yes but equipment is not the correct term either. I will think of another word then.

      Delete
    5. Nemjee10:52

      Sorry that was my comment above.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous10:52

      'Outdated equipment', or that's not what you had in mind?

      Delete
    7. Nemjee11:04

      I was referring to basically the whole structure of the plane, from the wings, operating system and so on.

      Delete
  3. Anonymous09:06

    Sad they didn't get a proper send off.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:22

      They should have done some farewell flight or sightseeing flight.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:27

      Agree. It'd pretty sad how they advised their crew that "you're not flying the aircraft anymore.... As of like tomorrow." Just horrible and outright disrespectful.

      Delete
    3. What is going to happen to the 737 crews now?
      Is JU going to pay to convert their licenses to the A320 type?

      Delete
  4. Anonymous09:08

    About time

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous09:12

    It makes sense.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous09:12

    Unfortunately, the planes they have to replace are the ones they own.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous09:14

    sad to see them go.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous09:14

    Finally

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous09:15

    The ATRs must also go ASAP.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:25

      The regional fleet should indeed be their number one priority now that it's down to two types. I will exclude 330 since it is being flown by some 320 pilots as well.

      The fact of the matter is this industry is not going anywhere near 2019 level for a long time, and the current 319 fleet is more then adequate to handle the future network recovery. However the turboprop fleet is aging and it needs a strategic plan to renew it so that is part of the airline for the next 20+ years. The regional ops are and will be even more important in feeding the BEG station. There are many options on the market so the decision should not be difficult which aircraft to take, but the timing is critical because as the industry globaly recovers so will the leasing or purchasing cost go up as well.

      Delete
    2. Nemjee10:54

      Industry overall might take a long time to recover but that doesn't mean JU will take as long. It all depends on how efficiently they capture re-emerging demand from various markets such as Albania, Greece, Cyprus and so on. If they are successful then they might start recovering faster than their competitors.
      YM dying has certainly helped in improving their overall finances.

      Delete
  10. Anonymous09:16

    Considering the money poured into JU they should really think about fleet renewal. Shame those neos got cancelled.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:17

      The neos would have been a disaster to have in the fleet now.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:39

      JU should take advantage of the very low leases available right now for relatively new A320 CEOs. They can renew the fleet for a lot less money than a year ago.

      Just my2cents

      Delete
    3. JATBEGMEL11:48

      JU doesnt have much use for the A320. In fact, 1 was replaced for the A319.

      Currently, their fleet is much larger than their operations. 1 flight per aircraft every 1-3 days. No need for additional aircraft anytime soon.

      Delete
  11. Anonymous09:19

    It would be nice that the last flight of YU-Ani was Frankfurt like it was the first. Unfortunately we didn't know that it was last flight, probably no one from Air Serbia also known that. Planning in reality. Thank you 737

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:32

      Planning something in advance in Serbia (same for JU management)... LOL

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:55

      Exactly my thoughts.
      Lol

      Delete
  12. Anonymous09:19

    End of an era

    ReplyDelete
  13. Anonymous09:20

    It is without saying that the remaining 2 great aircrafts fully deserved their retirement. We all know that everything must come to an end at some point of time. I am disappointed as to why Air Serbia marketing department didn’t take this historic opportunity to it’s advantage and produce a decent farewell to these birds that served JU for the past 36 years without a serious incident!? Very few air companies have that opportunity, not to mention that by doing so many media streams would have provided ample coverage and footage of the event (i.e. free marketing). Also with some added ingenuity and since the aircrafts still have available flying life they could have earned some extra cash for the company by organizing an intra ex-YU farewell flight or alternatively an airport farewell touch and go event after the last operating flight. I am sure that many passionate aviation enthusiasts would have attended these events. As another money making idea, I also read recently in some aviation magazine that a widebody bird (A380) was transformed into souvenirs that were sold to the aviation public. BIG FAREWELL to the iconic B733 from all of us who like aviation ! BIG miss for Air Serbia marketing department!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:24

      I agree with you 100%. Unfortunately very few people in Air Serbia have any connection to these aircraft or even know anything about their history. This includes the mostly foreign management team. So unfortunately I don't think they really care.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:38

      @09:24 You are absolutely correct that they do not have ties to these aircrafts nor to their history but the point is where are their marketing skills / money making skills if they do not recognize an opportunity like this!? They are not to be called Managers because they just sit and wait another salary to hit their pocket(s)!

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:49

      Guys, most of people don't care for those planes. For them they are just bunch of old metal. Common people are not like us aka big birds enthusiasts...

      Delete
    4. Anonymous09:57

      Unfortunately in Serbia, more precisely in a government organization, that's exactly what most managers do...

      Delete
  14. Anonymous09:25

    Love that scanned article "First in Europe". What a different time. Farewell.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:07

      Different time both for JU and for Boeing, not sure carriers would like to use a "first in Europe" marketing with the MAX.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:25

      +1

      Delete
    3. Anonymous03:12

      Since JP and YM have gone bankrupt, maybe it's time to create an Ex-Yu-wide airline again, like SAS and LATAM are also representing several countries. I think such airline would be much more capable of standing a chance in the competitive aviation industry and it could have the financial and organisational scale to operate long-haul routes. Question is whether the Ex-Yu people would be ready to co-operate and share on such a level and with so much visibility.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous04:37

      Not a bad idea, only problem would be like in the times of ex Yu, who will take responsibility and squabbling amongst the various groups to make it viable and work properly

      Delete
  15. Anonymous09:30

    So I understand cabin crew can fly various aircraft but what happens with the pilots that were flying to B737? Are they certified to fly other types?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:41

      No, they need to be trained and type rated on A320s.

      Delete
  16. Anonymous09:34

    Corona has helped with this because of the reduced network and destinations.
    They might want to look at the Max or A220 for Avialet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:46

      I think the Aviolet brand is dead. They is little difference between the two in form of service.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:47

      They were slowly retiring the Aviolet brand anyway. They were using more and more Air Serbia branded Airbuses on charter flights and they no longer wore a different uniform for Aviolet flights. They would just take off their scarf.

      Delete
    3. JATBEGMEL10:06

      I believe Aviolet was created to disassociate the B733's with the Air Serbia brand. Now that the aircraft are gone, there is no reason to hold onto the Aviolet brand.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous00:38

      I definitely think they could do more with Aviolet outside of summer charters. They could get 2-3 new generation Boeings and could have operated that as a low cost unit.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous01:00

      I hope they keep Aviolet. It's good to distinguish charters from the main airline

      Delete
  17. Anonymous09:45

    Those ancient 737s were being worked more than ever during Covid. Farewell old ladies.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Anonymous09:45

    This also means the end of Aviolet.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Anonymous09:49

    Can't understand why they retired the planes that have still left hours on them instead of flying them until the hours expire. Would that not be more economical instead of paying third party leasing charges by the hour ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:00

      Old aircraft require more maintenance, things break more often, dispatch reliability is lower, which could easily end up being stuck somewhere away from BEG and delay passengers for hours.

      Not to mention they burn more fuel.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:03

      I also think that a mechanic always flew on flights operated by Boeings in the last few years.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous11:18

      Mechanics also fly with ATR to every destination

      Delete
  20. They could have received some serious marketing / PR out of this. Announce the last flights with fanfare, even maybe one of this planes painted (no paint) in their original beautiful livery....

    ReplyDelete
  21. Anonymous10:18

    There goes my hope that we would ever see a special B737 livery

    ReplyDelete
  22. Anonymous10:18

    Will they preserve one for the aviation museum?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:27

      Yes

      Delete
    2. Nemjee10:56

      YU-AND from what I heard.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous11:00

      I just don't get where they are going to place it. The Museum courtyard is full.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous15:10

      Don't count on it until you see it done .. obviously within JU nobody cared to even organize a farewell. Like someone mentioned above to them this means nothing.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous17:25

      Right next to the Caravelle on display would be perfect :)

      Delete
    6. Anonymous18:08

      I hope they restore it into JU 80s B737 livery.

      Delete
    7. Anonymous21:53

      We already have Caravelle with old "egg" livery. Maybe this time YU-AND should wear "flame" livery. It was also one of the nicest despite it was used in the times that were not so nice.

      Delete
  23. Anonymous10:22

    :(

    ReplyDelete
  24. Anonymous10:23

    Sad to see them go but it was time.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Anonymous10:24

    Ok it is obvious now that Air Serbia will need to get more aircraft. Obviously they don't need them at the moment but in 1 or 2 years I think they will have to expand their fleet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:26

      Which type could they choose?

      Delete
  26. Anonymous10:26

    I believe these B737s have landed at every commercial airport in ex-Yu. Crazy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous11:23

      and also at lot of commercial airports in Australia in JAT colors. LOL

      Delete
  27. Anonymous10:27

    Quite a transformation. From Boeing being the dominant member of the fleet 7 years ago to none left.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:34

      In my opinion ATRs should also be phased out sooner rather than later.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous11:20

      I do not think so. They just need to replace older one's , ALO and ALN, with younger and more comfortable versions

      Delete
  28. Anonymous10:41

    This is quite emotional for all JU and Boeing lovers. Flew first time in 1986 to London, heavy winds, diverted to Gatwick instead of Heathrow. Last time flew to Stockholm with JU-ANI, so much more comfortable than Airbus fleet. Always thought that B737 have like more subtle "air suspension" than A320.

    I recall when Aviogenex B727 was retired. Crazy that they didn't even have an idea to organise a last farewell flight, to place on youtube and so.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Anonymous11:22

    I have read for the first time that Joe Sutter, father of Queen of the sky 747, originated from Slovenia. Thank you EX-YU for this kind of information and this kind of articles. #737forever

    ReplyDelete
  30. Anonymous13:16

    Given the history of these aircraft, they absolutely should have organised a farewell flight to see the aircraft type leave the fleet to maximise the PR opportunity (just like every normal airline does) - especially during such a shitty period in aviation ....

    They should have had a ballot across all ex-yu countries inviting 144 people (ie. the capacity of the aircraft) to enter a ballot for a free last farewell flight. Could you imagine the PR mileage that this would have generated ?

    Sadly though, when you have foreigners running the airline, they are simply too far removed from the history and the people of ex-yu to think of doing something like this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous13:26

      +1000% When you point out something to them they even don't bother replying.

      Delete
  31. Anonymous13:20

    E stvarno smo narod koji nema naviku i ne ume da neguje tradiciju. Pa od ovog dogadjaja bi englezi napravili spektakl a ovi nasi nisu uradili nista sem rekli pilotima da nema vise letenja. Sramota!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous15:07

      ЈУ има јако лош маркетинг. То је нешто што не могу решити већ дуги низ година. Ово се савршено уклапа у све то.
      Да су паметни, а нису, организовали би лет по региону а карта би била 400 евра. Људи би платили да буду део историје. Али нема шта, ми то не разумемо.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous16:15

      @15:07 не зам баш да ли би плаћали по 400е јер за многе на овим просторима то представља реалне паре али све остало што сте написали је 1000% тачно!

      Delete
    3. Anonymous22:02

      Slažem se da je cena malo jača... Ali zamislite recimo da avion popune zvezde muzičke, filmske, zabavne i sportske scene... To bi bio pravi PR spektakl a tim ljudima cena sigurno ne bi bila problem.

      Šteta... Velika praznina ostaje i kao što neko gore reče, englezi bi napravili od ovoga spektakl! Pa prošle godine ovi iz Qantasa su napravili let za "nigde" i to su dobro naplatili.. Jer kažu ljudi se uzeleli letenja tokom korone i lockdowna...

      Delete
    4. Anonymous09:16

      E vidis te iste "zvezde" ne bi znale da razlikuju ATR72 od B733 a cesto su bas takvi i najtvrdji na dinaru.

      Delete
  32. Steta za ova dva aviona. Tip 737 je jedan od najkomotnijih i najsigurnijih aviona. Jedino sam vise voleo da letim sa DC 9. A sto se tice marketinga- kako nacionalna aerolinija tako i cela Srbija. Na Balkanu nista novo.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I bet on few new sukhojs in ju fleet.... must satisfy all masters..

    ReplyDelete
  34. Anonymous17:23

    They will be missed

    ReplyDelete
  35. Anonymous17:24

    About 10 years too late

    ReplyDelete
  36. Anonymous17:25

    It's nice to hear that they will save one of the B737s. They deserve it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous17:26

      Why too late? Since 2013 these B737s made good money on charters and were always there when the ATRs or Airbuses had tech problems. It was a smart move keeping them on.

      Delete
  37. Anonymous17:26

    And to think they declared those planes rubbish in 2913 when the new management came and said how they would retire them ASAP only to turn out that those planes have been a saviour for JU on so many occasions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous18:08

      It's funny how they outlived those people who wanted to retire them. :D

      Delete
    2. Anonymous22:11

      I am one of the people that wanted Boeings to retire earlier and I outlived them :D

      Delete
  38. Anonymous19:19

    New, improved image for Air Serbia was initially projected onto more modern Airbus aircraft with glass cockpit and true 2+2 business class. Aviolet brand was created to protect that Air Serbia image and allow 737s to be utilized for domestic audiences looking for outbound charters. Over time things changed but Boeings never carried Air Serbia titles and livery. That could be one of the reasons there was no retirement party for the old bird. Cost savings are another.

    Anyway, 737s deserve a nice retirement in the future civil aviation hangar at the Museum painted in original bare-metal JAT livery it was delivered in.

    Air Serbia on the other hand just significantly lowered average jet fleet age, down to probably under 15 years. They also streamlined operations and maintenance. Old ATRs are next, hopefully to be replaced with ATR 72-600 model or at least much newer -500s.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Anonymous21:54

    A positive out of this is that Air Serbia's average fleet age has now come drastically down. I believe it now has a younger fleet than Croatia Airlines.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous22:09

      ATRs are old and are weighing them down but Airbus fleet is now okay. Latest additions are only 10 years old.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous00:42

      According to Airliners.net, Croatia Airlines is still younger (16 years vs. 18.7 years.)

      https://www.airfleets.net/ageflotte/Croatia%20Airlines.htm
      https://www.airfleets.net/ageflotte/Air%20Serbia.htm

      Delete
  40. Anonymous21:54

    Timeless classic :)

    ReplyDelete
  41. Anonymous21:55

    Turned out these B733 were just fantastic, really sad they are now history.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous00:26

      If ever there was a type of plane that has been fully exploted by an airline then it was this one. Time to let the old birds go now.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous00:36

      They served their company well :)

      Delete
  42. Anonymous00:27

    Air Serbia seriously needs to start thinking about what it is going to do with its fleet. They just don't seem to have any strategy at the moment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous00:55

      How so? Their strategy is Airbus for jet and ATR for regional. The regional one might be replaced with another type in the future.

      Delete
  43. Anonymous00:37

    Well done Jat/JU/Aviolet. At the end of the day, operating 36 years of aircraft without a single fatality is simply remarkable. This makes the companies one of the oldest and safest in the world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous05:24

      There are statistics to compare safety records of airlines.

      BTW, it is JAT, Jat, Aviolet.

      Delete
    2. Air Serbia gets MC-21s in the very near future ;)

      Delete
    3. Anonymous17:57

      If you are not following, Air Serbia has consolidated jet fleet to be all Airbus, and of those mainly smaller A319. Your planes are not even close to be the right fit. Enough already with Superjet/MS-21 trolling.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous19:26

      Andy and his wet dreams!

      Delete
  44. Anonymous07:41

    I last flew one of these just as JAT was winding down and becoming Air Serbia, and of course many times before. Once, on an all economy charter flight to Egypt, I even got to sit in a business class seat in the front of the cabin. But I remember distinctly when these were first acquired in the mid-eighties. I was about five years old and already had a number of flights under my belt (and was already hooked on aviation!), mostly on DC-9s to Dubrovnik. But 737s were something else, with that metallic livery that seemed like out of this world back in the day.

    ReplyDelete

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