Friday, March 14, 2014

Air Do retires 'Bear Do'; five Boeing 737-500s remain.

AIRDO's (HD/ADO) (d.b.a. Air Do) first special-theme aircraft Boeing 737-54K JA8196 'Bear Do' (yes, it rhymes) flew its last revenue service today on March 14th with HD024, from Sapporo/New Chitose (CTS/RJCC) to Tokyo/Haneda (HND/RJTT). Carrying 121 passengers, who received 'Bear Do' memorabilia and a last flight certificate upon boarding, the flight departed New Chitose at 1406 and arrived at Haneda at 1548, local time.
Boeing 737-54K JA8196 'Bear Do' arrives at Haneda. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

JA8196 was originally delivered to All Nippon Airways' (NH/ANA) now-defunct subsidiary Air Nippon (EL/ANK) new from the manufacturer on October 23rd, 1996, and was leased to Air Do in March 2009. It was painted in the 'Bear Do' livery from the beginning and entered service on April 2nd, 2009. Since then, the 126-seat B737-500 has accumulated a total of 9924 flights connecting Hokkaido with other cities in Japan. Now, JA8196 will be returned to ANA Holdings and is expected to return to service with ANA Wings (EH/AKX). Its replacement, B737-781(WL) JA08AN (Air Do receives fifth Boeing 737-700.), entered service on March 10th.
Air Do's mascot 'Bear Do' was present at the gate. (Photo: Air Do)

In 2012, Air Do started receiving larger 144-seat B737-700s, which they claim are about 10% more fuel efficient than the B737-500s on their sectors. Leased from 14% owner ANA Holdings, the B737-700 fleet will eventually grow to nine to replace the remaining five B737-500s, excluding 'Bear Do', by January 2016. The Hokkaido-based airline is also evaluating the larger B737-900/800 for acquisition in fiscal year 2015.

Most B737-500s with ANA are staying for a few years more, as to-be-successor Mitsubishi Regional Jet's (MRJ) first delivery has now been pushed back to the second quarter of 2017.

Source: Air Do @ Facebook (in Japanese)
Source: Aviation Wire, March 14th. (in Japanese)

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