One 757 was destroyed in service on October 2, 1990 when B-2812 was struck whilst waiting for take-off by an out of control Xiamen Airlines 737. The 737 had been hijacked and the lone hijacker grabbed the controls when the aircraft was forced to land due to lack of fuel at Guangzhou. Landing too fast it sideswiped a China Southwest 707 and then hit the 757 just aft of the wing. 128 people died in the disaster including 46 of the 110 passengers on the 757.
The 757s shared their place in the fleet with an impressively growing fleet of new 737s which had replaced the original series 200s which themselves had grown to eight in number, by mid-1994. The 737s were a mix of series 300s and smaller series 500s. By June 2006 24 737-300s and 13 737-500s had completed delivery. As is often the case in China registrations were out of sequence with B-2521 being the first aircraft and 2542 the second. B-2548 was actually the eighth aircraft delivered.
Considering it had been a staunch Boeing customer it was perhaps surprising that in 1997 the airline set its fleet replenishment around the Airbus A320 family though in hindsight this was merely the start of what has become a familiar pattern for the Chinese majors whereby they balance their fleets between Airbus and Boeing jets. China Southern's fleet of 737-300s decreased to 15 by mid-1999 but the 2003 consolidation of the industry which saw China Southern absorb China Xinjiang saw the addition of not just the airline's 8 737-300s but also its 11 757s.
The 737-500s served until 2006/2007 with aircraft being exported abroad to Aerolineas Argentinas, Transaero and Ukraine International. B-2548 went to the latter where she has become UR-GAU. She was fitted with blended winglets in early 2009. The 737-300 fleet stayed intact until after mid-2012 with four remaining in service in January 2015. The 757s have slowly decreased in number since 2005 but there were still 19 in June 2010 and 13 in January 2015. The secondary destination of the 757s has been diverse with 3 going to British LCC Jet-2, 5 ending up with FedEx, 2 at Chinese cargo airline SF Air, 2 at SBA of Venezuela, 4 with three separate Khazakh operators and a singleton at Thomas Cook. China Southern has invited bids for seven of the remaining 13 757s but at present all remain in service.
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: