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China Airlines Becomes Latest Carrier to Retire Boeing 747 Operations

Another airline is permanently grounding the “Queen of the Skies” in favor of modern aircraft. China Airlines flew its last Boeing 747-400 flight for passengers, marking the last time the previous-generation airframe will carry a load of paying passengers.

China Airlines is the latest airline to bid farewell to the Boeing 747, after the COVID-19 pandemic changed the demand for aviation around the world. FlightGlobal reports the Taiwanese carrier operated their farewell flight on March 20, 2021.

Flight Circles Japan’s Mount Fuji Before Final Landing in Taipei

The aircraft – officially registered as B-18125 – was added to the airline’s fleet in 2005. Although the “Queen of the Skies” was a critical part of the carrier’s international fleet, the COVID-19 pandemic forced carriers to cut their schedules and change around their entire operations. With newer and more fuel-efficient aircraft able to carry nearly as many passengers, the Boeing 747 is no longer needed.

The final passenger-carrying flight of any Boeing 747-400 variant departed Taipei Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) carrying 350 passengers and the flight crew. The five-hour-40-minute flight flew north to circle Japan’s Mount Fuji, before returning to Taiwan. The farewell flight was pushed back over a month due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

“China Airlines thanks the 747-400 passenger aircraft for its contributions to Taiwan and China Airlines,” the airline said in a statement to FlightGlobal. “And hopes that every passenger will always remember the Queen of the Skies.”

The occasion marks the end of a 45-year history of the Boeing 747 with China Airlines. Although the carrier still operates a number of 747 freighters, they will ultimately be phased out in favor of the Boeing 777F.

China Airlines Becomes Fourth Carrier to Permanently Ground Aircraft

With the landing, at least four international airlines have permanently walked away from the world’s most famous jet. In 2020, both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic permanently parked their 747s, while Lufthansa announced they would phase their 747-400s out starting in 2021.

yeldogt March 23, 2021

Remember the first time sitting in Pan Am ... 1J. JFK -- NRT I had arrived

emcampbe March 23, 2021

Good riddance to those CA 747s. We flew one BKK-TPE a couple of years ago, when we misconnected with TG and were rebooked on this (I wish they would have rebooked on EVA instead). Honestly, these were probably worse interiors than the old ratty UA 747s.