The Forgotten Boeing 737 Variant? A Look At The -600

The Boeing 737-600 has never been popular a popular aircraft. There are just 12 in active use across…

The Forgotten Boeing 737 Variant? A Look At The -600

The Boeing 737-600 has never been popular a popular aircraft. There are just 12 in active use across three operators: ‘Janet’ (operating for the US Air Force by AECOM Federal Services); Air Algerie; and Tunisair. The two airline operators have just six active 736s. While WestJet has 13, all are currently stored – but they’re bookable from August onwards. Will they return?

WestJet’s 736s are due to return from August. Photo: Johnnyw3 via Wikimedia.

What’s happening with WestJet’s 736s?

WestJet is absent in the active users list. With 13 112-seat 736s, the Canadian carrier is the largest remaining operator, following SAS retiring the type in 2019. However, in the wake of coronavirus, WestJet has removed reference to the 736 from the “Our aircraft” page on its website, although the B737-700, -800, and MAX 8 all appear.

According to, all its 736s are stored. Have they been permanently retired, like the carrier’s B767-300ERs, or will they be brought back to action? The type is still scheduled and bookable to operate from August onwards, as shown below. Whatever happens, the 736 has just a tiny role to play in terms of total 737 Next Generation operations.

Calgary-Vancouver is scheduled to be the 736’s second-largest airport-pair this summer. Image:

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Just 0.15% of all Next Generation capacity

Assuming WestJet does use them again, the 736 will have just 0.15% of all Boeing 737 NG capacity this year. Not that it was ever high. In 2004, for example, the type had 3.39% of all NG capacity, analyzing Cirium data indicates. In other words, just over three in every 100 NG seats were by the baby 737.

The 736 has well under 1% of all NG seats worldwide this year. Source of data: Cirium.

Less attractive economics

Like with the A318, the unpopularity of the 736 is largely because of its higher weight in relation to equivalent aircraft. The -700, only slightly heavier, has a much greater payload. This means that the economics of the -600s are not favorable. It also reflects the trend for higher-capacity narrowbodies with lower unit costs and greater revenue opportunities.

Tunisair and Air Algerie are currently the only active airline users of the variant. Photo: Getty Images.

SAS was the #1 airline

SAS retired the last of its -600s in November 2019 after 21 years. It was the launch customer of the variant in 1998. SAS was the largest 736 operator, with a total of 30 examples operated in all. If 2004-2019 is added up, the Scandinavian operator had half (51%) of all seats by the 736 worldwide.

In the last year, over three-quarters of seats were deployed domestically. The 429-mile link from Stockholm Arlanda to Luleå was the number-one domestic route, while internationally it was Arlanda to Helsinki. Indeed, Sweden saw eight in ten 736 seats in the final year.

SAS retired the 736 in 2019. In that final year, the aircraft was mainly used to, from, and within Sweden Photo: BriYYZ via Wikimedia.

Algiers-Marseille is the top route this summer

Across Air Algerie, Tunisair, and WestJet, the top-15 736 routes this summer are as follows, with all subject to change. Algeria is set to have nearly half a million seats, particularly domestically and to France. Its French network will encompass four Algerian cities and six airports in France.

At the time of writing, Tunisair’s only active B737-600, TS-IOK, is en route from Paris Orly to the tourist destination of Monastir. Image:
  1. Algiers to Marseille
  2. Calgary-Vancouver
  3. New York La Guardia-Toronto
  4. Algiers-Oran
  5. Algiers-Constantine
  6. Algiers-Jijel
  7. Calgary-Victoria
  8. Monastir-Nice
  9. Edmonton-Vancouver
  10. Djerba-Lyon

Have you flown the 736? If so, with which operator and what are your memories? Let us know in the comments.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Wizz Air’s CEO Wants The Return Of Airport Slot Rules

Wizz Air CEO Jozsef Varadi has condemned Air France CEO’s comments about the use-it-or-lose-it slot rules. Ben Smith…

Wizz Air’s CEO Wants The Return Of Airport Slot Rules

Wizz Air CEO Jozsef Varadi has condemned Air France CEO’s comments about the use-it-or-lose-it slot rules. Ben Smith of Air France stated the suspension of slots rules should continue while airlines recover. However, Varadi has said it’s time for the rule to return. Some airlines are pushing to have the rule suspended until the end of this year.

Wizz Air’s CEO thinks it’s time to reinstate the airports use-it-or-lose-it slots rule. Photo: Budapest Airport

As the global pandemic hit last year, one of the first major decisions to help airlines was the suspension of traditional airport slots rules. Commonly referred to as the use-it-or-lose-it rule, airlines were forced to use 80% of take-off and landing slots on a specific route or would be forced to give it up to competition who could make use of the slots.

With the global downturn, the suspension of this crucial rule meant airlines could operate flights when possible rather than operating empty aircraft. Suspending the rule certainly made sense at the time. However, there is now disagreement about when the rule should be reinstated.

The rule might benefit some airlines above others

As reported by Reuters, Air France CEO Ben Smith and Wizz Air CEO Jozsef Varadi both spoke at a panel at the Paris Air Forum today, and they had very different views on the situation. Smith said the lower threshold for the rule was “logical” and said, “We don’t see our industry in a position yet to put that in place.”  

Suspending the airport’s slots rules benefitted all airlines. However, reinstating it might give an unfair advantage to some. Photo: Frankfurt Airport

But Varadi disagreed. He said that the continued suspension of plot rules unfairly benefitted state-owned airlines or airlines receiving government bailout money. Varadi went on to say that governments were “protecting that investment” made in airlines but not reinstating the slots rules. The French government recently increased its stake in Air France-KLM to 28.6%.

It easy to see both perspectives in this situation. As European borders open and short-haul makes a much faster recovery than long-haul, low-cost, short-haul airlines will want to see a return to pre-pandemic aviation. However, for airlines like Air France-KLM, the suspension of the use-it-or-lose-it rules continues to make sense.

Inconsistent recovery poses a problem

As more airlines worldwide look to recover, it is going to be hard to implement global standards. The difference in demand between domestic and international flights and between long-haul and short-haul operations make it challenging to implement standardized rules that will fairly apply to all airlines.

Air France’s CEO thinks the slots rule should remain suspended or risk damaging recovery. Photo: Air France

Another potential difference in recovery rates was pointed out by Smith. Smith highlighted that budget airlines are better positioned to utilize foreign crew on cheaper contracts. This would aid a faster recovery at a lower cost.

As traffic returns throughout the summer season, the slots rule may have a big impact on airlines’ operations. Keeping the rule suspended benefits the major carrier who have yet to see enough demand. This puts carriers on the road to recover, looking to expand at a disadvantage. But in contrast, reinstating the rule could play havoc on already struggling carriers.

What do you think? Should the slots rule be reinstated now? We’d love to hear what you think, so let us know in the comments.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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