Spencer Bennett provides this insight into Boeing 757 operators in Europe today.
The news of TUI recently retiring their last Boeing 757s caused dismay among many aviation enthusiasts.
The Boeing twin jet is a very popular aircraft with both passengers and enthusiasts alike, so the news of another airline removing the type from service was met with sadness.
The 757 first flew in 1982 and was put into commercial service on January 1st 1983 by launch customer Eastern Air Lines.
Over 1,000 757s were built, with the aircraft being utilised on short- and medium-haul sectors and transatlantic services to and from East Coast of the USA and Europe, but the aircraft is now being replaced by newer, more economical types such as the Boeing 737 MAX series and the Airbus A320/321Neo.
However, for fans of the sleek airliner all is not lost, as there are still some operational examples to be seen in European skies.
Passenger 757 Operators
Jet 2 has 8 Boeing 757 aircraft still in its fleet, although 4 have been parked at Manchester Airport for some time. However, G-LSAC, G-LSAE, G-LSAJ and G-LSAK are all currently operational flying mainly between Manchester and popular holiday destinations. All four aircraft wear the Jet2 Holidays livery.
The Icelandic airline has 23 Boeing 757s still listed in its fleet, although at least 10 are currently parked and it is unclear if these will return to service.
Icelandair operates different variants of the aircraft including two pure freighters, TF-FIG and TF-FIH, and also two -300 variants, TF-FIX and TF-ISX.
The airline can also boast arguably the most photogenic 757 ever to grace the skies in the form of TF-FIU, which wears the Aurora Northern Lights special livery.
TF-FIR also wears a spectacular livery to promote 80 years of aviation in Iceland, although this is one the aircraft currently parked.
Finally, 757 TF-ISX also wears a special livery with the Icelandic flag running the length of the (extended) fuselage to commemorate 100 years of Icelandic Independence. The aircraft can still be seen operating to destinations in Icelandair’s network which include airports in the UK, Ireland, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Belgium, although aircraft types are changed due to demand. In the UK, Icelandair currently flies to London Heathrow, Manchester, Glasgow and London Gatwick.
Only 55 of the stretched Boeing 757-300 aircraft were ever built, but the German leisure airline Condor still has 13 of the variant in its fleet, with only 1 currently parked.
The aircraft can regularly be seen in Germany and at popular holiday destinations across Europe.
D-ABON is another aircraft sporting an eye catching special livery named Wir Lieben Fliegen (which translates into English as We Love Flying) to promote the airline’s 50th anniversary.
The UK charter airline still has two 757 aircraft in its fleet which can be seen operating ad hoc charter flights, often on behalf of other airlines.
The airline’s main operating base is London Stansted but Titan aircraft are regularly seen at many UK airports.
A Spanish charter airline operating a mixed fleet, including one 757 aircraft, EC-HDS.
The airline operates ad hoc charters, often for sports events. So its aircraft can be seen all over Europe.
The Russian charter airline operates a fleet of 10 Boeing 757 aircraft, which can be seen regularly at airports serving popular holiday resorts across Europe.
RA-73029 wears a striking special livery promoting the Lujo Hotels brand.
Azur Air Ukraine
The Ukrainian division of Azur Air became a 757 operator in May 2020 when the airline acquired a 757-300 series and has since acquired two more.
As with the Russian division, the aircraft are mainly used on leisure services to popular holiday resorts. They are most commonly seen in Turkish and Egyptian airports.
Royal Flight is another Russian airline primarily operating leisure flights to airports in Europe, close to popular holiday hotspots.
The airline has four Boeing 757-200 series aircraft including one, VP-BOO, in a special livery promoting The Land of Legends Theme Park in Antalya.
A charter airline from Kazakhstan. Sunday Airlines has four 757 aircraft operated by SCAT Airlines.
Although seeing one of these aircraft in Europe would be a rare sight, holiday makers to Turkey and Antalya in particular could be rewarded with seeing these rare and colourful 757’s.
The Ireland-based VIP Private Jet charter operator has one 757 in its fleet in the form of SX-RFA, although the aircraft has not been operational recently.
Freight 757 Operators
The logistics giant DHL operates a large fleet of 757 freighters which can be seen at airports all across Europe.
The main hubs in Europe are Leipzig in Germany, East Midlands in the UK and Brussels in Belgium.
The majority of flights operate in the evening but some occur in the day.
Some aircraft have special stickers promoting causes such as Cancer awareness and Tusk Trust raising awareness of illegal wildlife trading.
Another giant of the logistics industry, FedEx has over a hundred 757s still operational around the world, and some of these aircraft can be seen in Europe at hubs such as Paris Charles de Gaulle in France, Leige in Belgium and Cologne Bonn in Germany.
A daily 757 flight has operated between Birmingham, Manchester and Paris for several years.
The Madrid-based cargo operator has four 757 aircraft flying to Leipzig, Basel, Billund, Cologne, Gdansk, Tallin and Pisa amongst other airports.
Their aircraft are painted in a mixture of liveries with some sporting blue and red stripes on tail but others having a full Cygnus livery with a bird-like symbols on the tail.
A large cargo operator with several divisions, based in Belgium, France, Hungary, Ireland and the UK. ASL currently has two 757 aircraft which can be seen operating to Liege, Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen, Bucharest, Leipzig, Oslo, Stavanger, Nantes , Brescia amongst others.
Three Boeing 757s are currently operated by Swift Air of Spain, flying cargo flights on behalf of logistics companies.
Aircraft can be seen regularly at airports such as Cologne Bonn, Vitoria, Seville, Madrid, Liege, Tenerife, Las Palmas and others.
Other airlines operating the 757 worldwide
Boeing 757s remain on strength with other carriers around the world. Some of the more notable ones include:
Delta Air Lines (USA)
United Airlines (USA)
Both Delta and United continue to operate large fleets of 757 aircraft and both used the type into Europe pre-covid, but it is not clear if these aircraft will be returned to transatlantic flights in the future.
National Airlines (USA)
Tajik Air (Tajikistan)
Uzbekistan Airways (Uzbekistan)
SF Airlines (China)
Turkmenistan Airlines (Turkmenistan)
Northwestern Cargo (China)
Blue Dart Aviation (India)
Olympic Airways (Greece)
E-Cargo Airlines (Russia)
UPS Airlines (USA)
In addition to the above, there are a number of private VIP configured 757 aircraft still operational.
All photos (c) Spencer Bennett unless stated.
Find out more about the Boeing 757 and its different variants in Flying Firsts – a month-by-month guides to airliner first flights, with histories, facts, statistics and colour photographs of all airliner types and variants. It’s an amazing airliner reference book for the aviation enthusiast!