DALLAS – On October 22, 2022, Bahamasair (UP) retired the last of its Boeing 737-500 aircraft, thus ending the airline’s 10-year run with the type.
Boeing produced almost 400 examples of the short-fuselage twinjet, whose first flight was in 1989. Around 70 are still flying today.
In 2012, UP confirmed it would take delivery of two Boeing 737-500s with a 120-passenger all-economy class layout. The first 737-500 was delivered on March 30, 2012, and put into service in April 2012. The second was delivered on June 21, 2012. UP retired its last two Boeing 737-200s in September 2012 and received a third Boeing 737-500 in March 2014.
Bahamasair’s last Boeing 737-500, C6-BFD, operated its last revenue flight from Orlando International (MCO) to Nassau Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS).
The 29.4-year-old aircraft was the last of the three-strong fleet. The airline has replaced them with newer Boeing 737-700s, of which UP has three in the fleet, the first being delivered to the airline in 2019. The latest addition, the Boeing 737-700, C6-BFZ, was delivered to the carrier on October 17, 2022.
In addition to the Boeing 737NG, the airline operates three ATR 42-600s and two ATR 72-600s. The ATRs are used on high-density routes to Florida and neighboring islands.
According to UP’s Deputy Managing Director, Prince Starr, the airline plans to add one aircraft annually to its fleet through 2025.
Comments from BahamasAir
Bahamasair Deputy Managing Director Prince Star said, “We’ve replaced all of our aged DHC-8-300 aircraft with some of the most advanced turboprop aircraft in the industry, and that’s the ATR [-600]. In regards to our jet fleet, we’re still sticking in the Boeing 737 family, but we’re now replacing all of our aged -500 series aircraft…”
The director added, “We’re looking at a minimum of adding one aircraft to our fleet every year between now and 2025. We have to look at aircraft with larger capacity. We’re looking at the B737-800 which runs up to 170 seats [in Bahamasair’s two-class configuration]. This helps with the airline’s growth and helps us carry more customers going forward. It will help with our revenue streams.”
Bahamasair was founded in 1973, just as the Independent Commonwealth of the Bahamas was formed. The mandate was to provide citizens with safe and reliable air transportation throughout the Bahamian islands and internationally.
The flag carrier has played an important part in bridging Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, to the remote Family of Islands.
The airline currently serves 30 destinations from its hub at Nassau Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS). These include Orlando, Florida (MCO); Miami, Florida (MIA); Havana, Cuba (HAV); San Salvador (SAL) and others.
The airline is also in talks with local airport authorities about services to Bridgetown, Barbados, and Antigua.
Featured image: Bahamasair C6-BFC Boeing 737-500. Photo: Otto Kirchof/Airways