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The Boeing 747, Queen of the Skies, on its way out

March 13, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Cathay Pacific has phased them out, Qantas plans to follow suit by 2020 and now United Airlines has confirmed that the Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet, once the Queen of the Skies, is heading for retirement for two very good reasons.The first reason is that it’s getting increasingly difficult to obtain spare parts for the B747. The second is the Boeing is likely soon to stop making them.

In an interview with Business Insider, United Airlines chief executive Oscar Munoz sai the B747 was “already on a path to becoming obsolete”. Obtaining spare parts was challenging as no one was making new parts “because there are just not as many out there”.

Munoz suggested the B787 Dreamliner was the way of the future.

A Qantas B747-400 in 2011

Airlines are increasingly switching away from four-engine planes, such as the B747 and the A380, to more fuel-efficient two-engine models like the B787 Dreamliner, the A350, the A330 and the B777. One airline, Emirates, is responsible for keeping demand high for the A380.

Qantas, which never ordered the B777, has five B747s still in service and plans to retire them by 2020.

Cathay Pacific received its first B747 in 1979 and flew its last one last October.

Boeing has hinted it may soon end production of its iconic B747 aircraft after nearly 50 years, following a dip in orders. The company has cancelled plans to increase production of 747s to one plane per month from 2019.

In 2014 that Boeing celebrated the landmark delivery of its 1500th 747, handing Lufthansa the newest variant of the plane – a B747-8 Intercontinental.

Written by Peter Needham

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