Last week, Cathay Pacific marked the end of the ultra-large aircraft era by retiring the "Queen of the Skies," the Boeing 747. The airline had three of it in its fleet, and the last one made its final flight from Hong Kong to Haneda last September 30. They've started the retirement process of the aircraft since 2005. They had 32 units flying across Asia to Europe, to the United States, and more.
The Boeing 747 has been part of Cathay Pacific's fleet since 1979, and this led to the emergence of many ultra-large aircrafts during that time. According to Stuff New Zealand, the aircraft was well loved by both cabin crew and passengers and it made the world a 'smaller place' to travel.
From the makers' standpoint, it will be no surprise if they cease all manufacturing of the 747 - especially that it has been suffering from poor sales as of late. This goes not only for the passenger version, but for the cargo version as well.
It will be replaced with the Boeing 777-300R, which is a bit smaller than the former, but equipped with more economical twin jet engines. The South China Morning Post also reports that the retiree aircraft was laid off duty by the new aircraft as soon as it landed on Japanese seas.
A lot of airlines are now shifting to smaller and more efficient aircrafts due to economical reasons. Tony Britton, project manager at Cathay Pacific, says that the new 777s go in line with their efforts of increasing flight frequency and connectivity. As of time of publishing, the airline boasted of having five flights to London using the new aircrafts on duty.
Cathay Pacific was the first airline to acquire 777-300Rs in their fleet back in May 1997. The airline describes as a "stretched-out version" of the Boeing 777-200. It can carry a little bit less than the 747s, but the airline still guarantees a pleasant trip each time.
Here's a short tribute to the iconic Boeing 747:
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