Polish-based carrier, LOT Airlines, retired it’s final Boeing 737-400 aircraft earlier this week (March 10) following almost 23 years of service from the type; Flying it’s final flight, the aircraft operated a short inter-city hop from capital Warsaw, to the country’s “second-city”, Krakow.
The final example, 737-400 registered SP-LLG, departed Warsaw Chopin Airport at 10:55am and arrived shortly after in Krakow around 11:29am. The return flight, operated with special callsign ‘LAST734’ made the return journey in 38minutes, touching down for the last time at 13:16pm in Warsaw.
A brief history: SP-LLC
The aircraft, SP-LLG, was first delivered to the carrier in June of 1997, joining the fleet of thirteen other 737-400 series aircraft. During the next seven years, the aircraft operated for LOT before being leased out to Aegean Airlines in 2004, and two brief lease stints followed between 2005-2009 with (now defunct) Centralwings and Dolphin Air. The aircraft returned in 2009 to operate ‘LOT Charters’, the carriers specialist charter arm, before rejoining the main fleet in 2017 following a shortage of aircraft and increasing demand.
So what will be replacing the jet?
Though the dash 400 variant has been retired from LOT’s fleet, the carrier continues to operate several ‘Next Generation (NG)’ types including a single 737-700 and seven 737-800s; The carrier also has five of the new 737-MAX aircraft (Though currently grounded) having recently cancelled orders for a further eight examples. It was also announced in January that the airline had signed a wet lease agreement for four Airbus A320 aircraft from Avion Express, however this is set to end on 31 May and follows a period of global decline in air travel due to Coronavirus.
Overall, though it remains to be seen how the carrier persists through the impact of Coronavirus, Travel Radar Media remains keen to see how LOT continues it’s growth, particularly having recently purchased ex-Thomas Cook airline Condor. Want to let us know your thoughts on this? Be sure to comment below!