US Airways says goodbye to the 737 Classic

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US Airways ceased 737-400 revenue service yesterday, ending 30 years of 737 Classic operations. The final flights, flown between their Charlotte, Dallas/Ft. Worth and Philadelphia hubs, were appropriately designated AWE737.

The date comes almost exactly 25 years after its merger with Piedmont Airlines which added 125 737-200, -300s, and -400s to its fleet. Piedmont Airlines had been an early customer of the 737, becoming the fourth operator of the type in 1968.

US Airways had the distinction of having both the 737-300 and 737-400 prototypes in its fleets. The 737-300 prototype was removed from the fleet in 2005 and subsequently scrapped while the 737-400 continued flying until this month. (Incidentally, the 737-500 prototype was retired by Southwest Airlines in 2012 and subseqently scrapped.)

The backbone of US Airways' narrowbody fleet today consists of 93 A319s, 68 A320s, and 104 A321s according to Aviation Week Fleet Intelligence Network's database. The A321 continues to be its narrowbody of choice, with 13 new deliveries this year alone. Its merger with American Airlines will add even more A319s and A321s as well as a large fleet of 737-800s.

Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines are the last two scheduled U.S. carriers operating passenger services with 737 Classic aircraft.

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