MIAMI — Lufthansa is set to retire its last 737-300 in service today, October 31 after 48 years of Boeing 737 service and over half a century after it initially placed the launch order for the jetliner.
The aircraft (D-ABEC • MSN 25149 • LN 2081) is scheduled to return to Frankfurt, following a ceremonial final flight from Hamburg as flight LH9924. The election of this aircraft was not coincidental, as D-ABEC is also the registration of the first 737-100 delivered to Lufthansa in December 1967.
The last Lufthansa Boeing 737 scheduled revenue passenger service took place on October 29, with flight LH153 from Nurnberg to Frankfurt. The aircraft (D-ABEF • MSN 25217 • LN 2094) landed at Frankfurt Airport with 131 passengers at 18:53 local time.
Before the final flight, three other 737-300s arrived to Frankfurt from Stuttgart, Geneva and Leipzig/Halle.
50+ Years of Legacy
Lufthansa became the launch customer for the Boeing 737-100 on February 19, 1965. The first of 22 aircraft ordered (D-ABEC • MSN 19015 • LN 4) was delivered on December 27, 1967. With just 30 737-100s built, Lufthansa was the major operator of this 737 variant until its final retirement in 1982.
The Boeing 737 became the workhorse of the short-haul route. Popular with passengers, the jetliner was immediately accepted as a member of the family by crews who nicknamed it “Bobby.”
During its 50+ year career with the German airline, the 737 had an impeccable safety track record. In total, Lufthansa operated 155 737s, including the 737-100, -200, -200C, -300, -300QC (Quick Change), -400 and -500.
Although the 737 is now officially gone from Lufthansa’s fleet, progressively replaced by the Airbus A320neo, the maintenance division of the group, Lufhansa Technik has two Boeing 737-500s, which serve as trainers for the coming generations of technical staff.