SINGAPORE, Feb 22 = Singapore Airlines and its passengers will wave goodbye to the Boeing 747 ‘jumbo jet’ on April 6, it has announced.
The luxury carrier, which has operated Boeing 747s for nearly 40 years, will fly two commemorative flights between Singapore and Hong Kong, the airline confirmed last week, formally ending commercial passenger services.
The Boeing 747 has played a huge role in the development of Singapore Airlines, widely recognised as the world’s best carrier, enabling it to carry more passengers longer distances in greater comfort – in 1989, it became the first airline to fly across the Pacific Ocean with the double-decker aircraft.
By 1994, the airline had the largest Boeing 747 fleet in the world, growing to a record 51 by 2003, although the numbers have since dwindled.
The reason for this, among others, is the emergence of the Airbus A380 ‘superjumbo’, for which Singapore Airlines was the launch customer in 2007.
Despite several engineering incidents, the A380 has successfully edged the 747 out of Singapore’s fleet – there are now just three Boeing 747s in passenger service with the airline, compared to 15 A380s.
However, the additional space on the ‘superjumbo’ has helped Singapore to pioneer new products to compete with Middle Eastern carriers such as Emirates, including the private suites in first class found aboard the models flying to Hong Kong, London, Melbourne, Paris, Sydney, Tokyo, Zurich and Los Angeles.
“Saying farewell to the Queen of the Skies will not be easy,” said Singapore Airlines’ chief Mr Goh Choon Phong. “These flights will mark the end of an era.”
A new website, charting the milestones of the Boeing 747, has been launched by Singapore Airlines at http://www.siajourneys.com. – AFP