The Romanian aviation market will soon welcome a new long-haul player. Cristian Rada, the owner of the local low-cost carrier Blue Air, is establishing a new long-haul airline called Hello Jets, which will fly 32-year-old ex-Blue Air Boeing 737-500 aircraft.
Established in February 2021 by the Romanian businessman who owns 99.99% of Blue Air shares, the new long-haul carrier has just received the air operator’s certificate (AOC). The Civil Aviation Authority of Romania granted Hello Jets authorization on July 26, 2021, local media reports.
Instead of following Blue Air’s fleet and becoming another budget air carrier in Romania, Hello Jet is supposed to enter the passenger service focusing on long-haul operations only. However, the air carrier has not provided the exact date of the launch yet.
The new Romanian airline currently has a single Boeing 737-500 jet in its fleet, leased from Blue Air in July 2021, Planespotters.com data shows. Speaking to local media on July 26, 2021, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Blue Air Oana Petrescu confirmed that Blue Air leased the jet to the newcomer as his airline would no longer fly the jet.
“The plane is one of the older generations that following the fleet renewal program, Blue Air has decided not to use anymore, as it is an aircraft with high maintenance costs and few seats, which does not have the necessary parameters for profitable operations for our business model. Being practically unused, we leased it to Hello Jets“, Petrescu was quoted by Romania-insider.com
The plane, registered as YR-BAG, already counts 31.4 years of service. The Boeing 737-500 jet started passenger services with the Danish airline Maersk Air in 1990. After three years of operating the Maersk Air network, it was leased to Asiana Airlines. After flying as part of the South Korean airline’s fleet for almost five years, between 1993 and 1998, the plane was handed over for its first owners’ subsidiary Maersk Air UK.
During a decade between 1998 and 2008, the jet had been re-registered and leased a few times in a row for various owners, including Air Malta, Estonian Air, Sterling Airlines, Jet Time, and even for the United States-based banking association WFBN Wells Fargo Bank Northwest. Currently, the Boeing 737 still holds the registration number and even a livery of its previous owner Blue Air.