Au Revoir, Jumbo!

On June 15, the last of three Corsair Boeing 747-400s to arrive for storage at Cotswold Airport, Gloucestershire, ended more than just a 28-year association between the iconic type and the French holiday airline. The retirement also concluded 50 years of French jumbo operations, Air France having received its maiden 747-100, F-BPVA (c/n 19749), on March 20, 1970. We celebrate the queen of the skies’ half-century of French service with a selection of jumbos that wore the tricolore.

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UTA (Union de Transports Aériens) operated 14 747s between 1979 and the company’s merger with Air France in 1992. Half the airline’s jumbo fleet, including F-GFUK (c/n 21251), comprised combi variants while three other 747s were configured as freighters. AIRTEAMIMAGES.COM / CARL FORD

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Air France’s third Boeing 747-100, F-BPVC (c/n 19751), heads a line-up of European jumbos, with examples from British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) and Alitalia, at Boston/Logan in October 1973. AIRTEAMIMAGES.COM / THE SAMBA COLLECTION

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