The end of an era is near as more and more airlines announce the early retirement of the Boeing 747 aircraft, with British Airways as the latest airline in that list.
History of the queen of the skies
The Boeing 747 has been produced by Boeing since 1968 and the first commercial flight happened on January, 22 in 1970 as a Pan Am flight.
Initially airlines were mainly enthusiastic about the long range of the aircraft, but as the demand for flights increased payload and passenger capacity became a main factor for airlines to operate the queen of the skies.
Until now 1556 aircraft of this type have been delivered, unfortunately more and more of the B747 aircraft are retiring in the passenger segment of aviation.
Passenger Airlines that are still operating the B747
- Air China
- Air India
- China Airlines
- Iraqi Airways
- Korean Air
- Thai Airways
As you can see your chances to fly on a B747 are continuously diminishing. You have the best chance to encounter the queen of the skies when your flight involves Asia.
Outside of Asia, Lufthansa is the only carrier still offering flights with the Boeing 747. This might have something to do with the fact that they ordered some brand new B747s only a couple of years ago, so there is some hope that they will stay in service a little bit longer.
Recently, due to the Covid-19 outbreak many carriers, like KLM, Air France or British Airways retired their 747s earlier than planned.
The fleet of passenger airlines change
With the B787 and the A350 on the market, fuel efficiency has nearly go up by 50% in terms of fuel per passenger per distance. As more and more airlines struggle, every possible way to cut costs has to be taken into account.
Furthermore, the maintenance cost of an old aircraft is substantially higher than the maintenance cost of a newer one.
An era will come to an end
Nevertheless an era will come to an end within the next years. The queen of the skies was the ultimate passenger aircraft for a long time and it is a shame to see it slowly go away.