Taiwanese flag carrier China Airlines is set to retire its remaining fleet of passenger B747-400s in the next few months, and has announced a special farewell event for the jumbo aircraft.
According to flightglobal.com aircraft registration B-18215 will operate a “flight to nowhere” on February 6, flying toward Mt Fuji in Japan before returning to Taipei.
China Airlines took delivery of its first B747-400 in 1990, and it is understood that aircraft B-18215 was the final B747-400 to be produced by Boeing.
The airline continues to operate B747-400 freighter aircraft, although in December it took delivery of the first of its B777F aircraft, which will replace the B747-400F in the long-term.
The Covid-19 pandemic led several carriers to accelerate the retirement of their B747 fleets in 2020, including:
- British Airways – the carrier retired around 30 B747s in the second half of last year, with four being saved from the scrapheap and set to become permanent exhibitions, film sets and even a business, conferencing and private hire venue
- Virgin Atlantic – the airline staged a farewell pop-up event on its final B747 last month. Business Traveller attended the event within Virgin’s hangar at Heathrow airport
- Qantas – the Australian flag carrier brought forward the retirement of its jumbo fleet by six months, with the final aircraft performing a flyby of Sydney Harbour in July last year
Last summer Boeing also confirmed it would end production of the B747 in 2022, following the delivery of the final orders of freighter aircraft.