Huw Hopkins' 2011 blogGAR Entries

DEC 02 2011
blogGAR: easyJet Retires Last Boeing 737s

Founded in 1996 by Stelios Haji-Ioannou was an airline we now all know simply by the shade of orange painted on its aircraft – easyJet. Operations first began from the company's base at London Luton with two wet-leased (where one airline provides an aircraft, complete crew, maintenance, and insurance to another) Boeing 737-200s.

As the airline rapidly expanded, even having its own hit TV show 'Airline', more modern 737-300 and later 737-700 models were added, serving as the backbone of the fleet on easyJet's hundreds of routes across Europe.

In 2004 the first Airbus order was placed by easyJet for the A319-200 and, following the takeover of GB Airways in 2008, a number of A320s and A321s were acquired.

When I was first getting into aviation photography and was more interested in airliners, I learnt much of my craft from the fence known as the ‘crash gate’ at Luton. The 737s made up for the majority of movements on my first visit in November 2005, but less so on my last visit in September 2009 and there was always the mind-set of “Oh not another easy’ 737!”, but now that they have all been retired I can look back and smile at the bright orange Boeings.

Many of the remaining 737s were sold off or returned to their lessors, going to airlines such as Sun Country and Aero Mexico – indeed I saw G-EZJJ departing Luton for the last time resplendent in her new Sun Country scheme. On the 31st of October 2011 the final two Boeings (G-EZKC & G-EZKD) were retired from the fleet, going to Kemble ready to be stripped of parts and scrapped, and thus the transition from an all Boeing to an all Airbus fleet was complete.

Having spent so much time shooting them from the fence and having flown on them to many a holiday destination I will miss seeing the old girls and will remember them fondly!

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