Monday, September 29, 2014

Solaseed Air bids farewell to the Boeing 737-400.

On September 29th, Skynet Asia Airways (6J/SNJ), doing business as Solaseed Air, retired the Boeing 737-400. The last revenue flight was 6J022, departing Kumamoto (KMJ/RJFT) at 1900 JST and touching down at Tokyo/Haneda (HND/RJTT) at 2022 with a load of 136 passengers, three flight attendants, and two pilots. It was operated by 737-46M JA392K. Passengers were handed out last-flight certificates, magnets, and stickers.
Boeing 737-46Q JA737B at Nagasaki. She became the penultimate 737-400 in the fleet, operating its last flight on September 23rd as 6J034 from Nagasaki to Haneda. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

The second variant of the new generation 'Baby Boeing' was the first type to be flown by the airline when they launched operations on August 1st, 2002 as the third child of Japan's deregulation with a Haneda – Miyazaki (KMI/RJFM) service. Skynet Asia has since flown a dozen different 737-400s, operating 10 at peak time between July 2010 and April 2012. However, the introduction of the 737-800 in July 2011, which coincided with their re-branding into Solaseed Air, marked the gradual transition to the Next-Generation 737.
Boeing 737-4Y0 JA391K in Skynet Asia Airways' original livery. It was retired in April 2012. ANA owns a 8.56% minority stake in the Miyazaki-based carrier, but maintains a much greater near-subsidiary influence. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

Last year, I had the opportunity to fly on JA737B (CoachFlyer 6J034: NGS - HND on Solaseed Air's Boeing 737.), which was retired six days earlier. With fleet modernization now complete, Solaseed Air's average fleet age will be reduced to just 1.75 years. It operates 11 737-800s, with the 12th due in May 2015. Japan Transocean Air (NU/JTA) is now the sole and last Japanese operator of the 737-400 with a dozen, though that fleet too will be replaced by 737-800s starting in January 2016 (JTA finalizes order for 12 Boeing 737-800s.).

Reference: FlightLiner, September 29th. (in Japanese)

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