Monday, August 25, 2014

Solaseed Air to retire Boeing 737-400 on September 29th.

Skynet Asia Airways (6J/SNJ), doing business as Solaseed Air, will retire the Boeing 737-400 on September 29th, with the last revenue flight currently planned to be flight 6J090, service from Oita (OIT/RJFO) to Tokyo/Haneda (HND/RJTT). The stretched variant of the second generation 'Baby Boeing' was the first type to be flown by the airline when they launched on August 1st, 2002, with Haneda – Miyazaki (KMI/RJFM).
Boeing 737-46Q JA737B awaiting its next flight at Tokyo's Haneda. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

For September, the 737-400 is scheduled for just three round-trips: Haneda – Nagasaki (NGS/RJFU), Haneda – Oita, and Haneda – Kumamoto (KMJ/RJFT). Two of the type remain in service: 737-46Q JA737B and 737-46M JA392K. The former started out its carrier with now-defunct Istanbul Airlines (IL/IST) as TC-IAB in June 1998, while the latter was first delivered to Virgin Express (TV/VEX) as OO-VED in January 1997.

Boeing 737-400 Flight Schedule:
Haneda – Nagasaki 1 of 4 daily operated with 737-400.
6J031 HND 0650 – 0840 NGS 734 Daily *Until Sep/29.
6J034 NGS 0910 – 1055 HND 734 Daily *Until Sep/29.

Haneda – Oita 1 of 4 daily operated with 737-400.
6J091 HND 1215 – 1350 OIT 734 Daily *Until Sep/29.
6J090 OIT 1425 – 1555 HND 734 Daily *Until Sep/29. Last revenue flight.

Haneda – Kumamoto 1 of 5 daily operated with 737-400.
6J017 HND 1630 – 1810 KMJ 734 Daily *Until Sep/28.
6J022 KMJ 1845 – 2025 HND 734 Daily  *Until Sep/28.

The company's 11th 737-800 is expected to be delivered in September, however, their schedule from October only calls for 10 737-800s, so the 11th will be used as back-up equipment. Solaseed will receive their 12th in May 2015, which will coincide with an expansion of their network, the details of which will be announced this autumn. It will most likely be a 'transfer' of less profitable routes from de facto parent ANA Holdings' subsidiary All Nippon Airways (NH/ANA). ANA Holdings holds a 8.56% stake in Solaseed.

I was fortunate enough to fly on JA737B last year (CoachFlyer 6J034: NGS - HND on Solaseed Air's Boeing 737.). After Solaseed Air retires the 737-400, Japan Transocean Air (NU/JTA) will be the sole Japanese operator of the variant 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.). Catch them while you can!

Reference: FlyTeam, August 25th. (in Japanese)

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