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Flashback Fridays--Interim Liveries Part Two

Aviator C

As promised, here is another look at some more interim liveries used here at Southwest.  As I mentioned in an earlier Flashback Friday post, airlines sometimes operate aircraft in the color scheme of their previous carrier, but with modified titles.  This can happen in a merger or during a shortterm lease.  For example, the old British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) used to provide assistance to the airlines of many emerging nations; so as an example, you would see an aircraft in full BOAC colors (or in this case, “colours”) with Ghana Airways titles.

While we don’t have international connections like that, we have flown a good variety of aircraft in interim color schemes during our almost 39 year history.  Previously we have looked at a Morris Air 737-300 in the interim livery it wore after we acquired that carrier, a Trans European Airways 737-200 on lease, and two 737-700s acquired from the Ford Motor Company in Europe.

This week, I have some examples that are from a small poster showing our various liveries that appears to date from 1995 .  It contains pictures of five aircraft in interim schemes.  Let’s start with N702ML (msn 22054) below.  This is a much-travelled 737-2T4 that served with Air Florida, Air Europe, Dan Air London, Nordair, and Midway before coming to Southwest in 1991.  This photo shows the aircraft wearing the basic Midway livery with Southwest titles on the tail.   

Moving on, the next aircraft also has an Air Florida connection. N83AF (msn 22699) is also a 737-2T4, but it has a much shorter lineage than N702ML.  It was built for Air Florida, and Southwest first leased it in 1983 before purchasing the airplane and reregistering it as N130SW in 1984.   

Next, take a look below--yes Southwest did operate a "Proud Bird with the Golden Tail."  Built for Frontier in 1975, N7385F (msn 21069) is a 737-291.  When Frontier was acquired by Continental in the mid-1980s, N7385F was sub-leased in August 1987 for a little more than a year by Southwest. 

Airline geeks will recognize the livery below as belonging to the original Frontier Airlines.  Also part of Frontier's large 737 fleet, N7388F (msn 19920) has something in common with Southwest's first three 737s.  This 737-214 was also originally built for PSA.  When Continental acquired Frontier, this aircraft had been not been repainted into the new Continental colors before coming to Southwest on a shortterm lease.  Since the tail is all white, the letters match the red of the Frontier stripe.  Upon completion of its Southwest duty, it returned to Continental.  

The next photo isn’t Silver One. Actually it is a 737-3A4, N679AA (msn 23291) and it is a sister ship of the recently retired N680AA.  It was delivered new from Boeing to Air Cal as N306AC, and it wore two interim liveries during its career.  When American acquired Air Cal in 1987, American titles were applied over the basic Air Cal colors.  Later American stripped it to bare metal before Southwest acquired it in 1991.  Until we could paint it into the full SWA livery it wore a true hybrid livery with the American bare metal and red and gold stripes down the fuselage with Southwest titles on the tail.


I hope you have enjoyed this look at these unusual liveries.  Next week, I will try to move away from airplanes, and bring you some other topics from the archives.

Explorer C
Brian, thanks for the GREAT pictures and history lesson! I fly Southwest frequently and often wonder about the history of an aircraft when the tail number doesn't end in SW or WN.
Explorer C
Brian, Thanks for the look at the old schemes; I'd completely forgotten about the old bare metal looks of the ex-OC/AA -300s. As a public service to all of my fellow airline geeks out there, here are some other aircraft that may be of interest: N7379F (737-2C0, msn 20071) Along with N7385F and N7388F, this was third member of what were affectionally known internally as the "Three Little Pigs". One of these three (N7385F)was an "(ADV)anced model of the 737-200 (like all our 737-2H4 models at that time), and N7379F and N7388F were older "Basic" model 737-200s. (Any 737-200 produced after 1971 was an ADV model. For those interested in the tech details, see the excellent 737 site at: Advanced All three aircraft started flying for Southwest in August of 1987, with N7379F and N7388F returning to Continental in September, 1988. The last one, N7385F, was returned in December of 1988. EI-ASH (737-248, msn 20223) and EI-BEE (737-281, msn 20413) These two 737 "Basic" models started flying for Southwest in September and October, respectively, of 1983, and both would return to Aer Lingus in April of 1984. I can't find my own picture of EI-BEE in Southwest colors, nor do I find any on some of the popular airliner photo sites, but I'm sure there's one out there somewhere. N721ML (737-2T4, msn 22697), and N722ML (737-2T4, msn 22698) Along with N130SW (Nee N83AF, 737-2T4, msn 22699) previously mentioned in your original blog post. these three 737s were all sister ships (note the sequential msn), all originally delivered to Air Florida. Having previously dispatched for Air Florida in the 1981-1982 period, I can tell you they were the latest and greatest 737s from Mr. Boeing, and all had the most powerful variant of the JT8D engine, the -17. Air Florida based two 737s in MSP each winter to run charters to warmer climes, and these newest aircraft could handle MSP to Mazatlan, Mexico and other distant destinations with ease. With Air Florida's demise in 1984, N81AF and N82AF would go to Midway Airlines as N721ML and N722ML, respectively. After Midway shut down some years later, N721ML and N722ML would both enter service for Southwest in May of 1991. Sharp-eyed airline geeks will notice that both aircraft were re-registered in June of 1992, keeping the same N721 and N722 numbers, but deleting the "ML" suffix, and replacing it with the "WN" suffix. N702ML, previously discussed in your original blog post, and also an ex-Air Florida and ex-Midway aircraft, would retain its "ML" suffix, as that particular aircraft had a different lessor, who wanted (for whatever reason) to keep the registration unchanged.
Explorer A
I've always wondered what this was on ebay Now I know - Arvin
Explorer C
I love the Air Florida one. Cool. I grew up in Tampa and was sad to see "Palm" go. Glad one of their birds found a good home in Texas. 🙂
Explorer A
Explorer C
Interesting to see the changes in branding and color over the years. How big were the seats on these planes?
Explorer C
Did all these airplanes have 17" seats, too? Oh what am I thinking, probably smaller than that! BECAUSE WE WERE A SMALLER NATION THEN! Adjust with the times, Southwest: Request that the airplane manufacturers make you some larger seats for your planes. As you well know, where there is a demand, someone will fulfill the request to make the almighty dollar! Try to bury it with pretty pictures and pretty stories of airplanes - Still doesn't hide the UGLY truth of lies and disrespect.
Explorer C
no one reads your lame blogs! 5 posts is what the you usually get...but 1600 each for the two kevin smith ones. you guys really screwed up! hahah. i bet you're loving the temporary attention.
Explorer C
Yeah, 1600 posts written by 6 or 7 slackers that live in their parents basements. I think the employee that took Smith off was wrong, but all that happened was that a millionaire filmmaker had to take another flight an hour or so later, oh the humanity.
Explorer C
Hey Anonymous, Your post drips with irony. I mean the fact that you read and commented on this unrelated post says something. I figured you'd be more interested in KS' temporary attention timed exactly when he has a movie coming out. You probably are too narrow minded to understand things like "The Big Picture" and "Irony" and that's cool. But please, keep your trolling to your "1600" post thread. K? Thx. Bai.
Explorer A
>>>Try to bury it with pretty pictures and pretty stories of airplanes - Dear Cathy ZeeM, It's called "moving on with life" and you should try it, rather than hijacking someone else's blog post on a different topic...
Explorer C
ALL YOU Southwest haters need to GET A LIFE What a bunch of Patehetic LOSERS. AND the next person that posts a comment about the Kevin Smith fiasco on this BLOG is The biggest IDIOT of ALL
Explorer C
I LUV stories about Southwest Airlines' history! Thank you for sharing these stories and pics, Brian!!! Julie Vessigault
Explorer C
You sure do have alot of extra time on your hands Cathy Z pain. Y dont you hang out on a Kevin Smith Blog and leave your Annoying attitude for another Airline.
Explorer C
I am not a freequent flyer, but when necessary, I always fly SW....they are simply the best at what they do, from their website to their outstanding friendly service....No one can touch them..
Explorer C
Its cool for me that you posted a photo of N679AA because i flew that same plane from Manchester to Nashville back in 2003.