MIAMI – Fiji Airways (FJ) announced the retirement of its Boeing 737-700 bearing the name ‘Island of Koro’ on Monday. The 22-year-old aircraft, registered DQ-FJF, was flown to storage at Teesside International Airport (MME).
‘Island of Koro’ was one of the longest serving aircraft in the fleet, having replaced older variation of Boeing 737 upon delivery.
A Long-Serving History
Delivered in September 1998, DQ-FJF flew for nearly 15 years as an Air Pacific aircraft prior to the 2013 re-branding to Fiji Airways. The aircraft logged over 66,087 total aircraft hours and operated 23,232 cycles, according to FJ.
The aircraft, also known as “Foxtrot”, made its final flight in four parts. First traveling from Nadi (NAN) to Honolulu (HNL), the aircraft went on to make a cross-country flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Bangor (BGR) in Maine. After a three-day trek, Foxtrot came to it’s final resting place at MME in the UK.
It is still unclear whether the 22-year-old 737-700 will fly with another carrier, or be sent for scrap.
Fiji Airways is the latest to retire the aging -700 variation of the popular Boeing 737. Delta Air Lines (DL) also retired all ten of theirs over the last two weeks, with many suitable replacements available. Southwest (SW) is also expected to phase out its fleet of 495, favoring the 737 MAX 8 upon recertification.
This is not quite the case for FJ, as its fleet is now reduced to 10 aircraft – only two of which are narrow-body. The oneworld Alliance member operates a fleet of predominately long-range, wide-body aircraft.
Fiji Airways will look to a pair of Boeing 737-800 as likely replacements for the newly retired ‘Island of Koro’. The Fiji flag carrier does not currently have any aircraft on order.
Featured Image: DQ-FJF over Auckland in 2013. PHOTO: Noel Jones/Wikimedia