by Jake Hardiman | September 25, 2021
The Boeing 737-300 was the first variant from the 737 Classic series to take to the skies, doing so in 1984 with USAir. Boeing produced 1,113 of these aircraft, accounting for over half of 737 Classic deliveries as a whole. Now 37 years on from the type’s first flight and entry into service, let’s take a look at which airlines still fly this popular 737 variant.
The largest operators
According to data from ch-aviation.com, there are present 109 active passenger 737-300s left in the world. This version of Boeing’s best-selling narrowbody family is the mid-size variant in the 737 Classic series, being larger than the -500 and smaller than the -400.
Its largest current operators each have eight examples in their respective fleets. These are Canadian North, iAero Airways (USA), and the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (China). Mexican holiday specialist Magnicharters is just behind, with seven examples.
There is then a gap down to the next-largest active 737-300 fleets. These belong to Kyrgyzstan‘s Avia Traffic Company and Gambia’s Mid Africa Aviation (four each). Several operators worldwide have three remaining active 737-300s. These are Air Peace, Belavia, Boliviana, MaxAir, Star Perú, and Trigana Air Service. But what about even smaller fleets?
The 109 remaining active 737-300s represent less than 10% of the total production output for the type. Of these, several are in pairs at different airlines worldwide, with some even flying solo. Examples of operators with two 737-300s include Aerolíneas Estelar, ALK Airlines, Broadsword Aviation, Bul Air, Cally Air, Coulson Aviation, and Dana Air.
There are also military operators with two 737-300s, such as the Mexican Air Force. The remaining companies that fly the type are flyPersia, Jordan Aviation, Saha Airlines, Sands Aviation, SCAT Airlines, Tarom, and Varesh Airlines. Of course, it’s important not to forget the several operators worldwide that fly a single remaining 737-300.ADVERTISEMENT
These are widespread, and include Africa Airlines, Air Bucharest, ATA Airlines, Azman Air, and B&K Aero. Elsewhere, sole 737-300s can be found at Blue Bird Airway, Fanjet Express, Fly Jordan, FlyJet, Jonika Airlines, and even the Korean Air Force. Finally, Lumiwings, Mirage Aviation, Nauru Airlines, NordStar, Rutaca Airlines, Sideral Linhas Aéreas, Tarco Aviation, Tayaranjet, Trans Air Cargo, UR Airlines, and Yan Air also have a single example.
Running out of time
While a decent amount of Boeing 737-300s are presently active, this number will only get smaller as time passes. The fact of the matter is that these aging twinjets are likely approaching the end of their service lives. Data from ch-aviation shows that several examples have exceeded three decades of service, with the oldest about to hit 37 years old.
Even the youngest active examples have comfortably exceeded two decades of service, at around 22 years old. That being said, while the 737-300 is a dying breed, it does also play a useful role. Being an older design, it can be a cheaper option for smaller airlines in developing aviation industries, enabling air service in far-flung corners of the world.