This Saturday, October 29, Lufthansa will be broadcasting via Facebook the retirement ceremonies surrounding the last 737 in the fleet.
Her last day of work is scheduled to be on October 29th with a few roundtrip flights from Frankfurt. As of now, she is scheduled to fly to Geneva, Stuttgart and Nuremberg. The final landing of the 737 is scheduled to take place at 7:40p when she returns from Nuremberg (LH153) and the simulcast will capture the moment. Tickets are still available for these final flights.
To tune into the broadcast, please use this link (you will be redirected to Facebook). You can also track events on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag of #ThankYou737.
One of the retired workhorses of the LH Fleet…..
There’s a lot attention being paid to this final 737 due to the fact that Lufthansa was the launch customer for the aircraft nearly 50 years ago and is responsible for the aircraft’s existence.
Lufthansa approached Boeing in the 1960s looking to replace a propeller driven regional fleet with jets so that they can better serve their European destinations. Boeing and Lufthansa announced February 19, 1965 that LH would be the launch customer, and almost exactly 3 years later on February 10, 1968, the first 737 joined the fleet. In all, 155 737 aircraft had been part of the LH fleet at one time or another over the last 48 years.
Had it not been for LH, there’s no guarantee that the 737 would have ever been developed and become one of history’s best selling and most popular aircraft.
Lufthansa gives birth to the 737
Lufthansa’s 737 retirement schedule
Earlier this week, Lufthansa took the final step to retire a long serving member of their fleet when they arranged for the sale of their last 737-300 aircraft. For those of you keeping score at home, they are:
D-ABEC Entered service on July 9, 1991
D-ABED Entered service on July 12, 1991
D-ABEE Entered service on July 18, 1991
D-ABEF Entered service on July 31, 1991
D-ABEH Entered service on August 15, 1991
D-ABEK Entered service on November 21, 1991
D-ABEN Entered service on January 16, 1992
These final 7 have been sold to Automatic LLC, a firm specializing in leasing aircraft. The aircraft will be delivered to Automatic LLC between October and December and will be refit for further sale or leasing.
To see what a Lufthansa 737 looks like along with all the other Lufthansa aircraft, please visit my Lufthansa Gallery on Aero-Shots.com.
H/T: FlyerTalk / Oliver2002
Lufthansa has published the final operating date for the 737 for each city that it serves. The dates range from the middle of July all way through to the end of October. If you’re an ‘avgeek’ or collector of interesting and nostalgic flights, this list should be useful to planning any remaining 737 ‘experiences’. In case you missed my earlier piece on the 737’s retirement, you can get caught up here.
The date after the city pair is the last date that Lufthansa will be operating the 737 on that particular route (sorted by end date).
Frankfurt – Bydgoszcz: July 18
Frankfurt – Copenhagen: August 5
Frankfurt – Birmingham: August 8
Frankfurt – Nice: August 14
Frankfurt – Warsaw: August 19
Frankfurt – Marseille: August 24
Frankfurt – Toulouse: August 26
Frankfurt – Krakow: August 27
Frankfurt – Manchester: August 27
Frankfurt – Paris (CDG): August 29
Frankfurt – Dresden: August 30
Frankfurt – Tirana: August 31
Frankfurt – Friedrichshafen: September 5
Frankfurt – London (LHR): September 5
Frankfurt – Bremen: September 7
Frankfurt – Venice: September 7
Frankfurt – Brussels: September 8
Frankfurt – Amsterdam: September 10
Frankfurt – Gothenburg: September 11
Frankfurt – Billund: September 12
Frankfurt – Milan Linate: September 12
Frankfurt – Milan Malpensa: September 5
Frankfurt – Lyon: September 30
Frankfurt – Bologna: October 29
Frankfurt – Geneva: October 29
Frankfurt – Hanover: October 29
Frankfurt – Katowice: October 29
Frankfurt – Leipzig: October 29
Frankfurt – Nuremburg: October 29
Frankfurt – Prague: October 29
Frankfurt – Stuttgart: October 29
Frankfurt – Zurich: October 29
Last week Lufthansa revealed their plans to retire the last of their Boeing 737s that are still in service. If plans go to form, the last 737 will be removed from the fleet in October of this year, marking the end of a 48 year era. Over these 48 years, 155 737s have been in the LH fleet and 7 still serve today. Lufthansa first began using the 737 back on February 10, 1968.
This announcement is part of a larger strategy that has the Lufthansa Group retiring their aging aircraft. SWISS and Austrian are also in the midst of retiring some of their vintage birds including the Fokker family by Austrian and the Avro Regional Jet by SWISS.
As these birds are retired, they’ll be replaced by new and far more efficient Airbus narrow body aircraft helping improve the passenger experience on short and medium haul routes.
I had the chance to witness the retirement of one of these 737s when D-ABIB was brought to Lufthansa Technik Component Services in Tulsa, Oklahoma. For an avgeek, it’s a bit of a bittersweet moment to see an aircraft taken out of the fleet.
D-ABIB shortly after arriving in Tulsa for her retirement….
Today (February 19) marks another important milestone in the evolution of Lufthansa as a major global airline.
On February 19, 1965 Lufthansa announced it would be the “Launch Customer” for Boeing’s 737. The initial order for 21 aircraft would be the first time that a Non-US based carrier would be a launch customer for a new model from Boeing. Over the course of time, Lufthansa would ultimately operate 155 737s. The cost of initial order was 65 million US dollars. Adjusted for 2014 it would be valued at approximately 475 million US dollars. The first Lufthansa 737 entered service on February 10, 1968 and LH would ultimately operate 155 737s over the years.
This was the first time that a jet was being designed specifically for short haul markets. Previously, jets were primarily used for transcontinental travel, but with the emergence of air travel’s popularity, it had become necessary to provide jet service on shorter distances. In Boeing’s development of the 737, Lufthansa played a vital role in the engineering of the aircraft. Professor Gerhard Holtje, Lufthansa’s board member in charge of engineering at the time was instrumental in the design of the new aircraft that would become the work horse of airlines the world over. This also put Lufthansa’s mark on the map as a significant and influential member of the airline community.
Some interesting facts:
* Approximately 8100 Boeing 737 (including various derivatives) have been manufactured.
*Boeing still builds approximately 45 737s EACH Month!
* There is a 737 landing or taking off every 5 seconds.
* 737’s have carried over 12 billion passengers
* 737’s have flown approximately 65 billion miles (120 billion km)
* The 737 represents approximately 25 percent of the global airline fleet.
Today, Lufthansa still operates 22 737s but it is phasing them out as more efficient aircraft are delivered to the fleet. I had a chance to witness the retirement of a 737 and was in Tulsa when it landed at Lufthansa Technical Component Services where it would be ‘decommissioned’. The last of the 737s should disappear from LH’s fleet by next year.
A very early 737…courtesy of Wikimedia.