The Boeing 747 starts her next chapter with the first flight of the 747-8 Intercontinental. As we look to the future of the jumbo jet, we also have started the begining of the end for the Boeing 747-400. In July 2010, the first three 747-400s were taken to Air Salvage International, located in Hampshire, UK and destroyed for salvage.
The first -400 first flew on April 29, 1988 and became the best selling 747 model. The -400 differed from the -300 with an updated cockpit, the addition of winglets, additional fuel and other odds and ends. The first three to be salvaged all served their entire lives with Air France. It is sad to think about the first Boeing 747-400’s being destroyed, never to fly again. Let’s get to know the three -400’s that were the first to go:
This aircraft was delivered to Air France in February 1991. In September 1993, she was operating as flight AF072 from Paris to Los Angeles to Tahiti. The aircraft went off the end of the runway, but no one was killed and the plane was repaired and placed back into service. The aircraft was stored in February 2010 after serving Air France for almost 20 years. She has the official title of being the very first Boeing 747-400 to be scrapped.
* Photo of F-GITA being torn up via Airliners.net
* Photo of F-GITA off the runway via AirDisaster.com
* 88 pics of F-GITA’s life via Airliners.net
She was delivered to Air France in May of 1991. During her almost 20 years of service for Air France, she mostly flew out of Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport (CDG). She was pulled out of service and stored in March 2010.
* 77 Photos of F-GITB via Airliners.net
This is the newest of the first three to be scrapped. She was delivered to Air France in September 1991 and served just short of 19 years before being stored in April 2009.
* Photo of F-GITC wearing and experimental Air France livery
*72 photos of F-GITC via Airliners.net
While Boeing 747-400s are being destroyed, there talk of two Boeing 747-200s to fly US passengers. It might seem odd at first, but when you look at the fact that there were 694 Boeing 747-400s delivered and only 12 have been taken out of service to date, that isn’t too shabby.
“For more than 20 years, the 747-400 has helped foster the proud legacy of the 747 family. It has been the world’s favorite airplane and a proven performer,” Joanna Pickup with Boeing 747 Communications told AirlineReporter.com.
When asked what aircraft type that Boeing is hoping customers will replace their Boeing 747-400 with, Pickup explained, “The 747-8 Intercontinental is perfectly suited to serve the 400 to 500-seat market served by the 747-400, with more range, more passengers, more cargo, and with lower operating costs.”
So if you are in the market to buy a Boeing 747-400 in the next few years, you are in luck. It is likely that we will see more -400’s looking for a new home (or maybe to be made into a home) for cheap.
UPDATE: “Note that to date Air France counts in its fleet 10 B747-400. This aicraft is foreseen to be maintained in the fleet until 2016, ” Air France spokesperson explained. “Indeed, B747-400 was one of the most successful devices of an economic point of view up to the arrival of the new generation 777-300ER.”