16 JANUARY 2017
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Early retirement has been confirmed for the United Airlines Boeing 747 fleet, with the airline saying it will now take place towards the end of this year instead of in the third quarter of 2018.
Airline president Scott Kirby announced the decision in a letter to staff, calling occasion “bittersweet”. He added: “This jumbo jet with its unmistakable silhouette once represented the state-of-the-art in air travel.
“Today, there are more fuel-efficient, cost-effective and reliable widebody aircraft that provide an updated inflight experience for our customers travelling on long-haul flights.”
United, which introduced the 747 in 1970, operates 20 of the Dash-400 model in a 374-seat configuration between its San Francisco hub and Beijing, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Seoul Incheon, Taipei and Tokyo Narita.
The carrier says it will begin replacing its 747s with new 366-seat B777-300ERs in March, with the San Francisco – Hong Kong flight first in line. The airline took delivery of two 777-300ERs late last year and will receive 12 more this year, along with two B787-9s.
It is expected to receive six widebody aircraft in 2018, including its first three Airbus A350-1000s and first B787-10.
Kirby added that a date for the final 747 flight had not yet been set.
All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum
JEFF BAKER, UK
How sad! I still remember the thrill of my first transatlantic flight on one of these icons!