The final passenger -400 example ever to be produced by the American aircraft manufacturer has been withdrawn from use
Taiwan-based China Airlines has retired its final passenger Boeing 747-400, bringing an end to the carrier’s more than 45-year association with the Queen of the Skies.
Most notably, the aircraft – B-18215 (c/n 33737) – was the last passenger variant of the popular -400 series jumbo to roll off the American manufacturer’s production line in April 2005.
To mark the type’s retirement, the operator held a farewell party and ‘flight to nowhere’ experience, for which all tickets sold out less than five minutes after going on sale.
More than 350 passengers gathered to check-in for the flight at 7.47am on March 20. The lucky travellers were then treated to a ground-side itinerary at Gate D6 of Taiwan/Taoyuan International Airport which involved a tour of each cabin class aboard the jumbo as well as a supersized capsule vending machine stocked with 747 memorabilia.
China Airlines flight CI-2747 was the last passenger-carrying flight of the -400 before its retirement and commemorated the aircraft’s service with China Airlines.
The flight departed from Taoyuan at 11.30am and flew to Japan, circling around Mount Fuji before returning. The service lasted nearly six hours and arrived back at the Taiwanese facility at 5.10pm.
To round off the once in a lifetime experience, the airline prepared surprise 747 packs stuffed with goodies for the passengers. These included a limited-edition farewell party model aircraft, embossed face mask, tail-fin keyring, canvas bag, flight safety pack, and navy-blue China Airlines amenities kit.
Travellers also had the chance to win exclusive gifts such as a Mount Fuji glass and 747 liveried aircraft model. All onboard were also presented with a commemorative certificate during the flight.
The Boeing 747-400 was introduced by China Airlines in June 1993. Since then, it has operated more than 40 -400s including 19 passenger examples.
During its time in service, the jumbo carried nearly 100 million passengers and were the mainstay of China Airlines’ high-capacity and long-range routes. The same year, China Airlines used the 747-400 to launch the Taipei to New York/JFK service, the longest direct route in the world at the time; the all-new Plum Blossom corporate logo that China Airlines introduced in 1995 also made its first appearance on the 747-400.
Despite saying farewell to the passenger jumbo variant, the firm still holds a fleet of 19 -400Fs.