This has been a bad year for the Boeing 747. As the pandemic has made larger, four-engine aircraft less attractive, carriers have accelerated retirement plans for the Queen of the Skies. Now another airline, China Airlines, has indicated it too will retire its 747 passenger fleet.
China Airlines Will Retire 747 Passenger Fleet In Early 2021
Taiwanese-carrier China Airlines has four 747-400 aircraft in its passenger fleet, but has the distinction of operating the final 747-400 passenger variant produced, which rolled off the Boeing assembly line in 2005.
The announcement came as China Airlines listed the four aircraft for sale according to CNA.
Once the mainstay of China Airlines’ longhaul fleet, the 747 has taken a backseat to newer and more fuel-efficient aircraft including the Boeing 777-300ER and Airbus A350-900. Lately, the 747 has been operating to regional destinations including Guangzhou, Okinawa, and Shanghai.
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China Airlines is hardly immune from the impact of the pandemic and has recently reported a third quarter net loss of nearly 25 million USD.
You’ll still see 747s bearing the China Airlines logo in the air: the carrier will maintain and continue to operate its fleet of 17 747-400F freighters.
Add China Airlines to the long list of 747 operators that have moved up the retirement of the Queen of the Skies. That list now includes British Airways, Corsair, KLM, Qantas, Thai Airways, and Virgin Atlantic.
Have you flown the 747 on China Airlines? Which airline will next retire the 747?