Old Jul 14, 2013, 4:18 am
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Delta Air Lines Boeing 747-400 Fleet Status/Information

Of 16 frames: 0 Active, 1 Preserved, 15 Retired/Stored,

Registration / Ship# (Delivery Month/Yr): Status/other information

N661US / 6301 (12/89): Preserved at the Delta Flight Museum. Was the first 744 ever built. Last revenue flight was HNL-ATL arriving on the morning of 09/09/15. Arrived at the Delta Flight Museum 04/30/2016 and was renovated to be a permanent exhibit. To learn more about the project visit this website. (DL museum website is here)
N662US / 6302 (03/89): Retired, flew to MZJ on 10/15/17. Was the first 744 (in 2012) to be renovated into the 376 pax configuration after the DL/NW merger.
N663US / 6303 (01/89): SCRAPPED, flew to MZJ on 11/05/15.
N664US / 6304 (04/89): SCRAPPED, en-route (DTW-ICN) over China on 06/17/15, was severely damaged by hail. Temporary repairs to make it air-worthy were made. It flew directly from ICN to MZJ on 07/10/15.
N665US / 6305 (09/89): SCRAPPED, flew to MZJ 12/01/16. Was the first 744 (in 2008) to be re-painted in the Delta livery after the DL/NW merger.
N666US / 6306 (08/89): Retired, flew to MZJ 12/26/17. Was the last 744 (in 2017) to perform a revenue passenger flight (12/19/2017 DL158 ICN-DTW).
N667US / 6307 (07/90): Retired, flew to MZJ 11/18/17.
N668US / 6308 (07/90): Retired, flew to MZJ 12/06/17.
N669US / 6309 (08/90): Retired, flew to MZJ 12/23/17.
N670US / 6310 (08/90): Retired, flew to MZJ 12/26/17.
N671US / 6311 (03/99): Retired, flew to MZJ 09/30/14. Due to 6304's damage, it was pulled from storage on 06/28/15 and re-entered revenue service. Was flown back to MZJ and re-retired on 10/31/15.
N672US / 6312 (07/99): Retired, flew to MZJ 10/01/14.
N673US / 6313 (08/99): Retired, flew to MZJ 10/31/16.
N674US / 6314 (10/99): Retired, flew to MZJ 01/03/18. Was the last 744 in the fleet to retire (in 2018).
N675NW / 6315 (03/02): Retired, flew to MZJ 10/25/15.
N676NW / 6316 (04/02): Retired, flew to MZJ 10/01/14.

Fleet Notes:

Final scheduled flight: DL158 ICN-DTW 12/19/17 (N666US).
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DL 747 fleet operation

Old May 19, 2013, 6:00 pm
  #121  
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist
That explains a lot, but I'm amazed that DL would schedule a 747 to normally be on the ground for 22 hours. Maybe in low season, if DL perceives that they have extra 747s, so that the parked one is basically a spare exATL, but not if those 747s can be used profitably somewhere in the network.

So apparently ATL-NRT is late every day because it's now waiting for the aircraft to arrive from some other route.

This sounds like an expensive mess for DL. I'm almost surprised that they haven't made some other arrangement to get most of those passengers into NRT in time for connections. For example, DL could notify people that there's an early 767 departure with a fuel stop on the west coast and try to reroute others through various other international gateways. Not good, but it beats rerouting through Europe with partner flights.
Other airlines are letting 747-400's go because they are fuel hogs and as I noted residual values are low on these. Some of Delta's oldest are leases and I wonder how long they have left on them or if they are being leased on a monthly bases or if there is a special arrangement because they were Ex Northwest planes or due to bankruptcy court rulings.

I was reading on another forum Delta was looking for 777-300ER and/or newer used 747-400's but I don't know the truth to these claims. So far no deals have been reached assuming they were looking to acquire.

Delta has some really strong JV's for various markets which they could make better use of and/or acquire their own replacement jets and some of these will come into play on some of the 747-400 routes.

But as for 2013 it looks like they will be fully utilizing the 747-400 fleet till decisions are finalized at some point in time.

I do hope that if they continue to utilize the oldest 747-400's they do intense checks on these. Fortunately the standards on the 747-400's were extremely high and far exceeded those used on the older 747 Classic's which have been retired from all the commercial airlines in the USA already for passenger usage.

Last edited by adamj023; May 19, 2013 at 6:06 pm
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Old May 20, 2013, 2:22 am
  #122  
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DL.com is showing two NRT-ATL flights en route, both 747s:
DL9932 NRT-ATL, a reposition flight to allow ontime departure of ATL-NRT today (6 days later.. yay!) - N667US per flightaware.
DL296, as scheduled - not sure which bird. As far as I can tell it could only be N669US or one of the birds from maintenance (N662US, N674US) but the flight doesn't show on flightaware.

Could it be that there isn't really DL296, and DL just pushed it up by 3.5 hrs? Sounds unlikely but I can't find the plane..

In either case, looking good for ATL-NRT today, but worse for poor old N661US. Must be a pretty bad deal if DL flies a 747 all the across the world.
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Old May 20, 2013, 2:41 am
  #123  
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Since the ill bird is the first 747-400, it feels like it's an old family friend.
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Old May 20, 2013, 6:58 am
  #124  
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Wow... I'd love to know what is/was wrong with that 747 bird that took so long to fix, or if it is even fully repaired.
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Old May 20, 2013, 9:43 am
  #125  
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Originally Posted by rylan
Wow... I'd love to know what is/was wrong with that 747 bird that took so long to fix, or if it is even fully repaired.
N661US is the sick bird. Last landed in ATL on May 14. I hope it feels better soon.
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Old May 20, 2013, 9:49 am
  #126  
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Originally Posted by DL2SXM
N661US is the sick bird. Last landed in ATL on May 14. I hope it feels better soon.
This is a very inconvenient and expensive illness for DL. They must be pulling out all the stops in ATL to get that bird well and flying again ASAP. I'd bet that some executives are even losing sleep over this.
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Old May 20, 2013, 9:52 am
  #127  
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Originally Posted by DL2SXM
N661US is the sick bird. Last landed in ATL on May 14. I hope it feels better soon.
All airlines have had eq issues on older jets. Nothing new here.

N661US will get phased out eventually.
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Old May 20, 2013, 9:54 am
  #128  
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Originally Posted by adamj023
All airlines have had eq issues on older jets. Nothing new here.

N661US will get phased out eventually.
No, please don't euthanize my old friend. After a good dose of TLC and maybe a nice long rest, that bird will be soaring again in fine form for DL (we hope).
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Old May 20, 2013, 9:57 am
  #129  
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist
No, please don't euthanize my old friend. After a good dose of TLC and maybe a nice long rest, that bird will be soaring again in fine form for DL (we hope).
Spread your wings and flyyy! Who wants to be on the first flight? It's a re-inauguration
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Old May 20, 2013, 10:17 am
  #130  
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist
This is a very inconvenient and expensive illness for DL. They must be pulling out all the stops in ATL to get that bird well and flying again ASAP. I'd bet that some executives are even losing sleep over this.
I don't believe that at all. I know older legacy based carriers tend to run aircraft a lot longer than others and N661US doesn't seem to have a known upgrade path to date but the plane is essentially at the end of its life cycle.

But for whatever internal reasons, Delta didn't want to commit to new aircraft yet.

Delta has acquired spare birds for other types which will be with them for awhile. But they haven't done that with the 747's.

Management could very well have a strategy internally but it hasn't been released to the public and is in final stages right now.

Delta has loads of options here. N661US could just be at the final stages of the lease agreement and could be brought back to its leaseholder.

American Airlines ordered and received super quick deliveries on the 777's which will be coming in till 2014.

I thought Delta would have acquired replacements by now, but they seem to have run their 747-400's for a long time.

Last edited by adamj023; May 20, 2013 at 10:26 am
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Old May 20, 2013, 10:21 am
  #131  
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Originally Posted by adamj023
I don't believe that at all. I know older legacy based carriers tend to run aircraft a lot longer than others and N661US doesn't seem to have a known upgrade path to date but the plane is essentially at the end of its life cycle.

But for whatever internal reasons, Delta didn't want to commit to new aircraft yet.

Delta has acquired spare birds for other types which will be with them for awhile. But they haven't done that with the 747's.

Management could very well have a strategy internally but it hasn't been released to the public and is in final stages right now.
This bird would have been reconfigured recently at considerable cost as well as time out of service. DL wouldn't have done that if they were planning an early retirement soon after the interior mods. Has it had a major check recently or is one due soon?
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Old May 20, 2013, 10:30 am
  #132  
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Originally Posted by misterbean
Spread your wings and flyyy! Who wants to be on the first flight? It's a re-inauguration
Well based on the extensive time of repairs and associated checks, its likely to be in the best condition in years.

Lets hope there weren't any structural fatigue issues discovered. This is the same bird that had an uncontained engine failure last fall.
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Old May 20, 2013, 10:33 am
  #133  
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Originally Posted by misterbean
DL.com is showing two NRT-ATL flights en route, both 747s:
DL9932 NRT-ATL, a reposition flight to allow ontime departure of ATL-NRT today (6 days later.. yay!) - N667US per flightaware.
DL296, as scheduled - not sure which bird. As far as I can tell it could only be N669US or one of the birds from maintenance (N662US, N674US) but the flight doesn't show on flightaware.
Indeed, N667US and N669US made it over to ATL overnight. So ATL has the spare bird now. Lookout for delays on NRT-Asia 747 routes if US-NRT are delayed.

My guess is we will probably see a ATL-DTW 747 reposition when 661 heals, or possibly a ATL-SEA reposition to start SEA-NRT.
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Old May 20, 2013, 10:41 am
  #134  
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Originally Posted by misterbean
Indeed, N667US and N669US made it over to ATL overnight. So ATL has the spare bird now. Lookout for delays on NRT-Asia 747 routes if US-NRT are delayed.

My guess is we will probably see a ATL-DTW 747 reposition when 661 heals, or possibly a ATL-SEA reposition to start SEA-NRT.
This sounds like DL is not expecting a speedy recovery for the ailing bird.
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Old May 20, 2013, 10:44 am
  #135  
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Now imagine this situation with the new routes when that spare is being heavily utilized... this could easily result in days of cancellations.
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