We’ve known for a while about Japan Air Lines plan to stop using the 747 in favor of newer and more fuel efficient wide-body aircraft but yesterday’s last 747 flight for JAL was still a noteworthy moment considering the airlines relationship with the 747 over the years.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the last two remaining 747s in JAL’s fleet landed at Tokoyo Narita International Airport yesterday bringing an end to JAL’s use of the 747 which goes all the back to 1970.
The retirement of the 747 by JAL is another reminder that the iconic plane is not the long-haul flagship aircraft it once was as customers have flocked to Boeing’s own 777 and Airbus’ A380 as attractive alternatives to the 747.
With a new upgrade expected by the end of the year, the 747-8 Intercontinental, Boeing is hoping to breath life back into the aircraft but so far only two carriers, Lufthansa and Korean Air, have placed orders for the commercial version of the plane.
Although it no longer operates the 747, JAL remains a close partner of Boeing’s with a majority of the carriers fleet made up of Boeing aircraft and with 30 firm orders for the new 787 Dreamliner and an option for 20 more, JAL will continue to use Boeing aircraft for its long-haul flights but gone are the numerous 747s that use to define Japan Airlines long-haul fleet.