October 1, 2022
3/30/1973: Hapag-Lloyd Flug Takes to the Skies

3/30/1973: Hapag-Lloyd Flug Takes to the Skies

DALLAS – Today in Aviation, the German leisure carrier Hapag-Lloyd Flug (HF) operated its maiden flight in 1973 with a Boeing 727-100. 124 passengers departed Hamburg (HAM) bound for Ibiza (IBZ).


Hapag-Lloyd Flug was established in 1972 by the shipping giant of the same name to carry passengers to its cruise ships.

Initially using three Boeing 727s, HF expanded its network across the Mediterranean as the holiday market grew. By 1979, its fleet had grown to eight 727s.

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Both the -200 series (pictured here) and larger -300 series of the Airbus A310 would be operated. (Photo: Pedro Aragão, CC BY-SA 3.0 GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons)

On January 1, 1979, HF took over rival Bavaria Germanair (BV). With it came a fleet of Airbus A300B4s and BAC One-Eleven -400s and -500s.

The A300s were replaced by brand new wide-body Airbus A310s, the first arriving in January 1988. These longer-range jets allowed HF to expand across the Atlantic with charter flights to North America and the Caribbean.

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HF set up a low-cost subsidiary known as Hapag-Lloyd Express (X3) in 2002 to compete with the growing number of no-frills airlines emerging in Germany. (Photo: Konstantin von Wedelstaedt (GFDL 1.2 http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html or GFDL 1.2 http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html), via Wikimedia Commons)

737-800 Launch Customer

The carrier became the launch customer for the Boeing 737-800. HF initially ordered 16 of the type to replace its aging 737-400 and -500 models. Boeing handed over its first example to the airline on April 23.

In October 2000, HF also became the first airline to fly the 737-800 with blended winglets and provided one of their airframes as a certification-test model to trial the new technology.

The iconic HF livery, unchanged for nearly 30 years, disappeared in 2002 as owners TUI AG looked to streamline their aviation businesses. In January 2007, the Hapag-Lloyd and Hapag Lloyd Express names were retired, with the airline becoming simply TUIfly Germany.

Featured image: HF would operate both the -100 and -200 series of the 727. (Photo: Riik@mctr, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Writer, aviation fanatic, and Airways European Deputy Editor, Lee is a plant geek and part-time Flight Attendant for a UK-based airline. Based in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

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